Interest In Batman’s Nightrunner
Batman, the comics detective superhero, is attracting attention in some quarters in the USA. Or rather, it is his new side-kick who is. But not because of any heroic deeds. It is because Nightrunner, as this Algerian side-kick is called, is a Muslim. So who are so interested in him? Right-wing bloggers, it seems. But why? After all, Nightrunner is a crimefighter, not a criminal. His keen sense of justice was instilled in him by his devout mother. Ironically, it is this upright side of him that is said to fuelling comments about him.
Comments About Nightrunner
Avi Green, writing on the Astute Bloggers website, which features advertisements for right-wing US causes, says, “How about that. Bruce Wayne goes to France where he hires not a genuine French boy or girl with a real sense of justice, but rather, a ‘oppressed’ minority”.
The Angry White Dude blog comments that “Nightrunner the Muslim sidekick will have strange new powers to bury women to their waists and bash their heads in with large rocks”.
Significance Of Comments
Describing such comments as being part of a right-wing hate machine, Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) explained, “This is part of a phenomenon in which any time something to do with Islam or Muslims is viewed in a positive light or even just a way that seems to portray Muslims as part of normal society, it is attacked by these right-wing bloggers and hate-mongers on the internet”. Andy Khouri, associate editor at Comics Alliance, a comic book blog owned by AOL, agrees that it is a racist reaction, though he thinks it might be a reaction of more than the fringe.
However, Warner Todd Huston, a rightwing blogger on Publius Forum, rejected charges of racism. He sees the choice of an Algerian Muslim as sidekick to Batman as political correctness run amok. To him it would have been more natural to have picked a country’s own national to be its “savior”—-ie, an Algerian sidekick would have been suitable for an Algerian Batman, but not for a Batman from elsewhere.
Think About It
Should the race or religion of a hero’s assistant attract attention? Is there a racist element to the comments about Nightrunner? If so, is there a big message for the USA about race relations?