Note: This piece largely revolves around sexual racism and the sexual objectification of Black male bodies. There are references to sexual assault, descriptions of objectified Black bodies, and a link to an article on the “Brute Caricature” that includes images of lynchings.
Fandom seems to think that Luke Cage “Looks like he could kill you, but is actually a cinnamon roll”.
To them, Luke may read as a threat, “but is actually a cinnamon roll” because they see that he has tender and sweet moments throughout his appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a result, fandom sanitizes his character so that it can fit this super narrow archetype about what he should be – all while assuming that he was a threat to begin with.
I’m assuming that most, if not all, of the nuance written into his characterization in Luke Cage just went right over their collective heads because a huge chunk of Luke’s arc in his solo series revolves around him trying to figure out how to effectively use his body (rather than having other people use it).
At several points, the series actually addresses Black masculinity and how Black men are inherently seen as violent threats just by existing. And yes, Luke is one of the heavy hitters of the MCU, but he doesn’t want to hurt people: he’s just constantly backed into positions where he has to use his strength to hurt people in order to protect the people in his life.
I’m also assuming that the people who look at Mike Colter and immediately go “wow, this guy looks like he can kill me” haven’t watched the news in a while to see what many killers these days look like. They also have zero common sense because Mike Colter hardly looks like he could hurt a fly.
Saying that physically powerful Black characters such as Luke Cage and American Gods‘ Shadow Moon (played by biracial Black actor Ricky Whittle) “look like they could kill you” prior to calling them cinnamon rolls seems harmless and endearing, but can be linked back to the fact that their bigness and their Blackness are what cause white audiences to view them as threats in the first place.
It’s only after these characters prove their value and their softness (usually in a way that appeals to whiteness), that they’re revered for cinnamon roll status.
But it’s rather clear why fandom does this.Read More »