Black, Like Me?: A literary question and challenge

Most of us believe that we can write, otherwise we wouldn't be here.
Most of us believe that we are of sound mind, fertile imagination, and are socially aware and socially conscientious.

So here's the question and the challenge:

Without any substantive change in narrative and plot as written originally, and without any negative impact on popularity and audience acceptance, which of the following title characters, do you think, might well have been portrayed (or cast) as black, like me?:

Harry Potter

Peter Pan

Alice (In Wonder Land)

The Wizard of OzPlease, answer the question FIRST, and then address the challenge by providing a brief explanation for your answer.

Thanks for reading and participating.

Views: 163

Comment by Ron Powell on March 7, 2019 at 9:59pm

Naturally, I have some thoughts, but I won't share them unless and until responsive comments have been posted... 

Comment by koshersalaami on March 7, 2019 at 10:00pm

The Wizard of Oz. He was already a somewhat disreputable outcast and entertainer who was ultimately kind to a child. Other Black movie characters of the time fit the description. Frankly, the biggest problem would have been the movie title, because I’m not at all sure a White audience of the period would have accepted a Black character getting top billing, even though the story isn’t about the Wizard, it’s about Dorothy.

Comment by J.P. Hart on March 7, 2019 at 10:59pm

First read BLM six years prior to when I was old enuff to kill but not for voting. Still have the book of course. I already knew I was born to lose and was going to be a writer. Then Ernest Hemingway blew his brains out. And although I have a mustache like Uncle Walt your comp or analogy here is impractical,with all due respect, when I get home. So I'll just lay down on the floor and boogie. OTHO I know why the caged bird sings, played round ball with a manchild in the promised land...Hey I'm Usain Bolt's #1 fan. So wake me up when it's all over. We'll find out if fairy tales can come true. Nodding one more time. A Train. Love Supreme, love Supreme, love Supreme . . .and why dinnit you include Snow White?? Sides, HBO already won wards for OZ, I recall Chain Gang was the recurrent theme ... and don't let's not get started on Cabrini Green at this hour's late

Comment by Ron Powell on March 8, 2019 at 1:05am

@JPH;  "...your comp or analogy here is impractical,with all due respect..."

No comparison or analogy being made here...

You clearly have no idea of why I asked the question....

Snow White, indeed!

Comment by Ron Powell on March 8, 2019 at 1:13am

Kosh, In a movie with a scarecrow, a tin man, a lion, a green witch, flying monkeys, Munchkin men from the Lollipop Guild, and a horse of another color, a black Wizard would likely have fit right in as a natural component of a pure fantasy.

It would have been a matter of correct marketing....

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on March 8, 2019 at 6:11am

Truly interesting question.

I think I'm going to have to go with Harry Potter (even though the "Wiz" has already been done by Richard Pryor).

Ima picking Harry because of his background, the prejudiced he endured and his determination to persevere (in spite of a bunch of powerful people who hated him and wished/tried to make him dead).

I'd probably cast  Jaden Smith in that role, btw. 

Comment by koshersalaami on March 8, 2019 at 6:33am

KWithout any negative impact on popularity or audience acceptance when released or now?

Casting a Black woman as Snow White would be like casting a White guy as Kunta Kinte which, frankly, if Roots had been made in the Thirties or Forties probably would have been done -  see Charlie Chan or damned near any American Indian character on a Western even through the 1960’s. 

Comment by Ron Powell on March 8, 2019 at 7:37am

@Kosh; "Without any negative impact on popularity or audience acceptance when released or now?"

"...might well have been portrayed (or cast) as black, like me?"

I was thinking 'back then'. ....Whuch, in the case of Wizard of Oz, would have been 1939 when the movie was released...

Comment by koshersalaami on March 8, 2019 at 7:40am

That’s how I interpreted it, but I wanted to be sure. The first Harry Potter movie is recent enough that Amy could be right. 

Comment by alsoknownas on March 8, 2019 at 8:19am

I most often in my life not been one to follow popular ( pop ) characters. I 've never seen  or read Harry Potter. I've never seen Wizard of Oz start to finish. Peter Pan was a fairy of some sort I guess, but other than flitting around at the beginning of Disney shows I know nothing of personality.

That leaves me to ponder Alice. Perhaps the manipulation of her at the whim of those in proximity raises the possibility of a portrayal of her as black. Being regular Alice wasn't enough. Her size changed to fit her surroundings, a form of shape shifting needed to conform and survive. She was harangued by the Queen and her entourage and tricked by the rest of the characters.

That's all I've got. Other answers seem to be more so what the exercise may be looking to reveal. 

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