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DC Celebrates Black History Month by Whitewashing Black Characters

Written by ThanosCopter on Thursday, February 06 2014 and posted in News with Benefits

DC Celebrates Black History Month by Whitewashing Black Characters

Hooray, comics!

Source: DC Women Kicking Ass

Yesterday evening, Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass pointed out that this week's comics included the debut of New 52 versions of two Green Arrow characters.  In Earth 2 #20, Major Sato calls Red Arrow Connor Hawke. Connor was originally the son of Oliver Queen, and took over his father's role as Green Arrow after Queen was killed in a terrorist attack.  Red Arrow had previously been referred to in Earth 2 as Roy McQueen, so whether Connor is just an alias or his true name remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, in Green Arrow #28, Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino introduced the New 52 version of Onyx, a former League of Assassins member and ally of Green Arrow.  In the New 52, Onyx is the leader of the Fist Clan, one of the seven clans that make up the Outsiders.  

So besides being Green Arrow characters, what do Connor Hawke and Onyx have in common?  In the old continuity, both characters were black (Connor was of Asian and black heritage), and in the New 52, they're not.  Here's Connor in the old continuity:

And here he is now:

Here's Onyx pre-reboot:

And Onyx now:

Why DC decided to change the characters' races isn't really clear.  For a company that's been so desperate to show how diverse their characters are, and has made real attempts to introduce more characters of color in their comics, it's an unfortunate step back, and one that doesn't really make sense.  In a world featuring a gay Green Lantern, an Arab Dr. Fate and a black Hawkgirl and Aquawoman, why is a previously mixed race character now white?    

Of course, this little bit of whitewashing occurs on the first week of Black History Month due to a sad scheduling quirk, which makes it that much more embarassing.  It'll be interesting to see what DC does with both characters, and if any of the creators involved will explain why they decided to make the change.   Regardless, this is a pretty clear counter reset.

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