There’s been a lot of discussion about whether Idris Elba should be the next James Bond. Some say that opponents of him being the first black Bond are racist, but that’s surely wrong. It’s all about the integrity of the franchise.
After all, this has been a series of films that has seen real integrity to the character. Just as Bond has always been white, Bond has always been English (or Scottish, or Welsh, or Irish, or Australian). He’s always been dark haired (except when he was blond). He’s always been tall (except when he’s been short).
Quite frankly this is a franchise that mustn’t risk making itself look ludicrous. How could a black Bond have the necessary gravitas to defuse an atomic bomb dressed as a clown? Be asked by a villain if he could “press you to a cucumber sandwich”? Ride around in a motorised crocodile? Chase around venice in an inflatable gondola? Walk around in a baby blue terry towelling onesie? Kitesurf on a tsunami? Stop his own heart through willpower alone? Drive an invisible car? No, clearly this isn’t about racism – it’s all about the important integrity of the character.
It’s not racist to say the next Bond should be white. It’s not as if the original Bond books, for example Live And Let Die or You Only Live Twice, were anything other than modern in their racial attitudes. It’s all about the integrity.
We must think about the vital contribution that Bond has made to film. For example having a lesbian character converted by Bond after a quick tumble in a hay barn. Or having a gay character say “oooooooooooh!” before being killed. Progressive. Modern. Thought provoking. The attitudes shown towards women have always been intelligent, such as when Bond threatened to break a woman’s arm, or shot an unarmed woman in the face, or said the death of a woman was a waste of whisky. Again, it’s important that the character should remain at that level and not be cheapened by being black.
Great an actor though Idris Elba is, it’s clear that we must preserve the character of Bond and the quality of the film franchise. It’s not about the racism. Oh no.