Netflix Hit ‘Luke Cage’ Criticized for Its Conservativism and ‘Respectability’ Politics

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By William Hicks | 1:52 pm, October 2, 2016

Netflix and Marvel’s latest creation, Luke Cage, has received widespread critical and audience approval. The show, a spinoff of Jessica Jones, features black superhero Luke Cage with impervious skin — a surprisingly relevant superpower in light of current national protests.

While the show makes references to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, some on the left are criticizing the show for its “respectability politics” and the protagonists’s vaguely conservative principles.

An article in The Ringer, “Luke Cage, Black Conservative,” criticized Cage’s politics, his patriotism and his aversion to use or be called the n-word by other black people. The actor who plays Cage, Mike Colter, has said in interviews he doesn’t like the n-word and lobbied the show-runner to keep the word out of Cage’s vocabulary.

“Cage dates himself with stale concerns: if black people should say “nigga,” whether or not tailored clothing is the measure of a man’s self-respect, and so on,” The Ringer article read. “He’s a big, buff, invincible disappointment. Any other uptown native might’ve been quicker to discover that Harlem’s greater, untouchable menace is the NYPD. But what, Luke Cage wonders, about black-on-black crime?”

A more tempered article in Vulture also claimed the show veered into respectability politics.

Some people on Twitter agreed with the sentiment.

While most Netflix viewers are singing the show’s praise and thrilled to have a black superhero on screen, others are having a very tough time enjoying the show over politics.