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Black X Beast

King Kong, an example of the pet black beast or black beast of burden troupe.


I have read many manga and manhwa (a.k.a. webtoons). In my blogs, I've talked a lot about the rehashing of racist depictions of Africans and Black people by Japanese and Korean artists in their art (see blog posts "Anti-Black Micro-Aggressions in The Media", "Additional Racist Depictions of Black & Brown-Skinned Characters in Anime, Manga & Manhwa..." and "Racism & Anti-Blackness in the Anime Carole & Tuesday"). I've even talked about how their beloved obsession with duality and essentialism frequently compels them to assign morality/goodness to whiteness and immorality/evil to blackness.

You get the connection right?

The negativity and stigma infused into the blackness color-concept when used to describe adverse feelings, animals, or events doesn't disappear just because we're now using "blackness" to describe people.

Let's briefly talk about how manga and manhwa creators link the blackness color-concept to the state of being an animal. For the purpose of this blog, we will call this the "black beast" troupe.

Now, within this "black beast" troupe, there are at least 3 sub-troupes, namely:

  • The "Violent" Black Beast | This is the wild, invincible, powerful, black beast. No one can control it. Everyone lives in fear of it. It has an insatiable appetite for destruction and may cause it on a whim. Potential victims can do nothing but either worship it or wish its demise in vain. (The "Black Buck" troupe draws on similar themes to the violent black beast troupe.)

  • The "Pet" Black Beast | This sub-troupe is manifested from the sexual, psychological, or emotional desire to either a) "dominate", b) become "close' with or c) become "one" with the beast in order for the potential victim to fill a "void". The void in question could be fear, psychosis, feelings of incompletion, loneliness, admiration, lust, or obsession. Most often, the favorite rationale for subjugation in manga and manhwa is either: a) the infatuation of the Black/Black-Skinned with the White/White-Skinned, or b) violent subjugation of the Black/Black-Skinned due to the fear and/or jealousy of the White/White-Skinned. (The "Mulatto", "Coon", "Mammy" and "Tom" troupes draw on similar themes to the pet black beast troupe.)

  • The Black Beast "Of Burden" | This is the powerful beast chosen for servitude, pain, or wretchedness specifically because it is black. Alternatively, this powerful beast may also be chosen for those things because it is not white, or deemed "quite unlike the others". This troupe is also fulfilled indirectly in the event that other "colors" of "beast" are chosen for lives of freedom or leisure when the black/dark beast is not. Here, the blackness is seen as a smear or marker that makes the beast less attractive, scary, worthy of derision or ostracization. Consider our anglophone saying: "He's sort of the black sheep of the family." or the vitriol behind having crows around or black cats crossing one's path. (The "Black Buck" troupe draws on similar themes to the black beast of burden troupe.)


If you are a manga or a manhwa reader, have you noticed this troupe?

If so, when and where have you seen this troupe play out?

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