Friday, June 17, 2011

Is Killer Bee too Black?

Is Killer Bee a walking stereotype? At what point is it to much.  When does it become offensive?

Killer Bee is a unique and new character to the Naruto world.  Killer Bee represents a new village and also a different style not seen before.  He is powerful, head-strong, and charismatic.  Killer Bee has fought with some of the strongest shinobi and hold his place as on of the jinchuriki and a master of his tailed beast, but is he too black?

I hope not to take way from this great character, just to point out the ways Killer Bee is a stereotype of a Black Man.  I know he is a complex representations so i hope to provide my viewpoint on his character.

I will list the ways he is stereotypical of a Black man.

1. His Appearance

Killer Bee's look screams Black.  He has the corn rolls, a traditional black hair style.  He got the slightly bigger lips.  Lastly he has the shades or sunglasses to complete the look.  Killer Bee looks like a typical representation of a black man.  But him being a stereotype goes further then his look, witch includes his baggy pants.


2. All the fist pumps...


Fist bumps are not exclusive to blacks, but blacks have coined and made fist bumping a cultural occurrence.  Fist bumping is a way of showing respect and a level of understanding for the other.  Fist bumps in black culture occur when one person thinks another has done something worth and deserving of the honor of a fist bump.  Both people are filled with pride and worth.

Killer Bee uses it in the same manor, but he has done it to much.  He has fist bumped almost everyone in the Naruto world.  What makes this cross the line is the fact that fist bumping for Killer Bee is a cultural necessity that creates the bonds of brotherhood and status within their village.  Fist bumps are also a way to read each other's minds witch is a little much.



3. The Rapping

Killer Bee is one of the most generic and almost cliché representation of a black person.  Killer Bee is a rapper, and a bad one by my standards.  His rapping is mocked throughout and also seen as an annoyance by the listeners.  Rapping is used as a comedic device to create comedy and it only demeans the art and might offend real rappers.

Killer Bee's rapping can aslo be seen as integrating western culture into the Naruto world and provide a place to connect with different audience.  Involving rapping into Killer Bee's character shows a level of cultural acceptance not seen in other worlds ("manga").

4. His Name

Killer Bee's name might have been derived from the African Killer Bee. Killer Bee's name also a play on words since within the black community it is common for a person to call another "B" and it also connect with "brother."  Black call each other "Brother" and Killer Bee and the Fourth Raikage, A, relationship as brothers.

Killer Bee was given his name and chosen for his name, witch is also a common practice in Africa where at naming ceremonies you are given you name.



Conclusion

I hoped to have provided some perspective on what about Killer Bee makes his a stereotypical black man.  I hope I did not offend anyone and show some aspect of his character you might have missed.

So, No.  Killer Bee's representation of a black man is not offensive.  Killer Bee introduces black into the Naruto world in a positive light that shows off aspect of Black People.

Do you agree? Do you feel the same in my analysis of Killer Bee? Comment.

27 comments:

  1. Good try man, your overall point is correct in that Killer B is a depiction of a black person in a Naruto's world. However, many of your cultural assumptions about black people are wrong and thus show you are NOT black. Much of what your saying is outdated culturally also. Blacks no longer call each other brother and we don't call each other B either lol. Last, dapping fist could simply be a hello. It doesn't have to be all that you said it is in black culture. That and the fact that most blacks today do not fist pump or dap using fists is what I believe you are referring to. Fist pumping is for sure a euro-American thing at this point. See, there is a method to the madness. Much of black culture is constantly borrowed by main stream American culture. However, by the time it is popularized, blacks no longer partake in the actions. Anyways, just wanted to tell you that you are correct in your feelings, but not in your explanation my friend.

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    1. may i say that this is the most well written and put together rebuttal i have read. Let me first go on the record and say that i am black, Cape Verdean to be exact. i realize that most of my arguments are forced and i intended to point out things that B does that have a cultural connection even if it is bref or locational, because in New York you would be hard pressed to not hear someone refer to another as "B," phrases such as "What up B!". I both respect and understand your point and i meant no disrespect. Thank you for voicing your opinion.

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    2. @best

      5:36
      dapping fist

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sd0T2orR2I

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  2. Killer Bee's name has nothing whatsoever to do with the black community. It's a language pun. In Japanese, Hachibi means eight tails. Hachi=8 Bi=Tail. However, Hachi also means bee. Thus Killer Bee is an appropriate name for the jinchuuriki of the eight tails.
    Furthermore, Bee and the Raikage are a foil for Naruto and Sasuke. Naruto constantly refers to Sasuke as like a brother even though they are not blood related. Bee and the Raikage are not blood related but have a mutual brotherly relationship.

    And I doubt Kishimoto was considering the idea of a black community when creating the character. He's making fun of American pop culture in general. Just like Rock Lee started off as a Bruce Lee parody.


    Rappers, Pop Stars, Wrestlers. He even referenced the fact that the U.S. president in most movies is black. Because American pop culture is stereotypical to begin with, the characters seem at first glance to be stereotypical as well. However, as the story progressed the black characters have all been shown to be complex and three dimensional. In fact, they have more development than some of the Rookie Nine.

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    1. I completely agree with you. I never even knew that there were people wondering if he was black. I saw him as any other character.Thank you so much for putting this out there cause people are taking this thing way too far.

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    2. I heard Kishimoto is a fan of the Wu-Tang clan

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    3. @Anon 1 - He's referencing American pop culture, but what type of person in pop culture? They aren't all the same, they're clearly very different types of pop culture. Also, its HIP-HOP culture, you're thinking of because Killer B does what? He raps. Its not like he's making fun of Taylor Swift.

      @Anon 2 - I bet you can't see the issue with it because it's not being done to you.

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    4. BUT I do agree with the complexity part which is why I forgive Killer B, lol.

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  3. i dont care killer bee is a cool dude and i like him idc if hes black white or asian he is dope

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    1. they should've made him white then.

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  4. either watch or dont give a damn cuz ur off point its just a character who is depicted as a black guy BAKA Dont take it so seriously just because u see a black character in manga Wht nxt Talkin bout Chad or Kuzan

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    1. and at least he doesn't look like the black guys from dragonball or Mr.Popo

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    3. @Anon - Yes it's a show, and you can tell people not to watch it, but that still doesn't derail the fact that it's a stereotype and regardless if a person stops watching it. Tons of other people are watching it. Stereotypes were CREATED to perpetuate bad ideas of people, which is why Killer B is depicted way in the first place: Because Kishimoto got a bunch of stereotypes fed to him and made him that way? So when people in Japan see that, they only make more (thats the definition of perpetuating; to push a false idea or perception).

      And you can't compare them to Chad or Kuzan because they aren't rappers who speak like theyre from Compton!!! They're normal. So you're off point, baka.

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  5. Im almost 100% positive that Killer Bee's name came from The Wu Tang Clan. That also explains why he is rapping all of the time. But really though why does he have to be black? Almost everyone in his village has blonde hair. Look at the actual map of the lands in Naruto, their tan skin tone is probably because their nation is surrounded by ocean on 3 sides. Their nation is practically a giant beach.

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    1. Black people have blonde hair naturally tooo just an fyi to you..... Bakayarou, konoyarou ��

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    3. Not ONE African has or ever had Blonde hair. If youre speaking of the Melanesia they are actually Australian and have NOTHING to do with what is being spoken about in this post! 2nd B and Raikage are NOT Black. The American version makes them so to be Politically correct. God Forbid a black is not in such a big anime as Naruto people will cry. TOO BAD morons there STILL isnt one!

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  7. So I recently started catching up with Naruto again. I have to say that I agree with everything except for the appearance and the name. (1) His clothing? I don't see any difference between his clothes and the other characters'. (2) Yes, his lips are bigger and wears cornrows, but black people naturally have fuller lips and cornrows are a pretty cultural hairstyle for Black people? When's the last time you've seen black people depicted with natural hair in anime?. (3) I can see where you're coming with the African Killer Bee, but, again, I sort of like the direct reference and inspiration of Africa. (4) LASTLY, I just appreciate the creator not making him look like Mr Popo or Cyborg 008 (they literally made him a purple monkey).

    His rapping and talking was the only thing that really butchered it for me. I was like uhhh, did Kishimoto one day meet gangster fans and expect us all to act like that? lol. I'm having a hard time pushing through the ep because I really hate representations like that.

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    1. Also, you can't say that his representation isn't offensive. Lol it definitely offended me. Did Kishimoto maliciously intend to make the character offensive? probably not. But until then, I would rather a black person not be in the series at all if that's how they were going to introduce him.

      Buuut, Kishimoto redeemed himself with Omoi and the others. So, please...don't tell people whats offensive to them and what isn't? Because if I made a stereotype of you and told you "NO I DONT THINK ITS OFFENSIVE", the fact that I said that wouldn't make it less offensive, lol.

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  8. B and Raikage are not Black. The American version makes them this. First of no black person has Blonde hair. In America everyone is too fucking PC and tries to appeal to everyone. However youre wrong he isnt Black AT ALL!

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  9. Killer bee and his brother are both bLack.

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  10. How do you figure killer b is black????? Because he raps? This dude is the biggest wigger in the ghetto amd now you think hes black?

    Hes modeled after hulk hogan! Even check out the raikages wrestling championship belt! They are simply farsicle charachter. Im sure weve all met a roided out tanned up white dude that listened to wayy too much hip hop before! I mean this guy is as scandanavian built as they come hes no freakin african i gaurantee it!

    If they changed his name to thor and gave him a hammer he couldnt get more european lol look at his face sheesh

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    1. https://images7.memedroid.com/images/UPLOADED110/5650fac0decbe.jpeg


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  11. You are the most fucking racist person i have seen... he is black because he fust bumps? Because he raps? What about logic or eminem? He is black because his name is killer bee? Like what the actual fuck? You are the most pathetic excuse for a human being ever.. U are complaining about them being a steteotype where you are stereotyping black people.. you are disgusting... you fucking racist bitch.

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