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Note: When I say "Black" I am referring to the skin color they were born with (for example, anybody with a skin color matching these hexadecimal codes had the potential to develop superpower(s): #9c7248
#926a2d
#876127
#7c501a
#6f4f1d

When I say "Superpowers" I am referring to one or more powers from Silver Age Superman's power set.

How does society react?

Will new laws be enacted?

and most importantly... How does this affect the treatment of black people worldwide?

P.S. for those of you who have NO idea what Silver Age Superman's power set is please refer to the list below.

  • Superhuman strength
  • Superhuman speed
  • Superhuman vision (including X-ray, microscopic, telescopic, and infrared)
  • Superhuman hearing
  • Invulnerability
  • Heat vision
  • Flight
  • Super breath (also freeze breath)
  • Super-intelligence
  • Super-memory
  • Omni-lingual
  • Vocal abilities, including super-ventriloquism
  • Super-hypnosis

Note: I am NOT interested in the science behind these abilities. Merely how society is affected by this change

Note: This only started happening in 2016 due to unknown circumstances.

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closed as too broad by JDługosz, kingledion, Frostfyre, DaaaahWhoosh, Aify Jan 5 '17 at 16:58

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Is "society" the USA or global? $\endgroup$ – SRM Jan 5 '17 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ either or, depends on what you feel like answering $\endgroup$ – AnAspiringAuthor Jan 5 '17 at 0:35
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    $\begingroup$ How many individuals are acquiring these powers, and are there any outward signs that any specific individual has super powers except for skin color? Also, does the superpower come with the mentality required to use these powers responsibly, or is that something which must be learned over time with use? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jan 5 '17 at 2:56
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    $\begingroup$ Just in case you're not aware of it, there's a comic book series based on this exact premise: blacksuperpowers.com $\endgroup$ – Salda007 Jan 5 '17 at 7:20
  • $\begingroup$ How bout those receiving skin grafting or getting tatoo to enter Guinness book... $\endgroup$ – user6760 Jan 5 '17 at 9:40
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How does society react?

Black Lives Matter

Race would only matter if one of the people who got the powers cares about race (or someone or something convinces them to) whether it is from a view of black supremacy to fighting for racial justice. At this point it could and would likely escalate into a race issue.

Heroes vs Villains

At no point in your question does it establish the personality or background of the people getting these super powers, which matters far more than the color of their skin when determining how society would respond. Think about if Martin Luther King Jr. had these powers versus Malcolm X or both of them having super powers. There is a wide variety of possible backgrounds that a black person could have that would impact this. Ranging from someone being a respected scientist to a street thug, ranging from someone who is currently in prison to someone living a good life, ranging from someone living in America to someone living in a war torn country in Africa. These types of things would have an impact on how they use their super powers, which in turn would determine how people and society respond to them.

Will new laws be enacted?

Super Registration Act

This is a common way that people can respond to when people start getting super powers. In this scenario people care about the fact that people have super powers more than the color of their skin. To quote TV Tropes:

Any law that requires Super Heroes (or, really, anyone with superpowers) to be registered with the government in a national database (including the name and residence of each hero's Secret Identity) or face penalties.

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    $\begingroup$ "Race would only matter if one of the people who got the powers cares about race" - I think you underestimate how prevalent, subconscious and threatening racism is. If this condition only applies to people of color, one can almost be certain that it would immediately escalate to a race issue. But can the same be said if the condition only affected people with less pigmentation, i.e. if the question were reversed? To me it seems that in that case race would not even factor into the conversation. Why do you think that is? $\endgroup$ – Nolo Jan 5 '17 at 8:42
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The global balance of power has shifted to Africa. Presumably, there will be programs to recruit and expose them to massive doses of radiation to see what super-powers they develop.

Nations states with Black populations will be trying to create their own cadres of super-powered personnel for military services, police services, and emergency services. Black superhumans (but not necessary super-ventriloquists) will be the new elite.

The creation of superhumans will be a controlled process, especially if massive doses of radiation are required to activate their super-powers. Thus, there's no need for Super Registration Act. Potential supers will be known and identified long before they enter the radiation chamber.

Countries will the most Black superhumans will be the new major super powers geopolitically. While, for example, China and Japan, both nations with effectively no black people will be severely disadvantaged.

As almost a side-effect, black racism will become a thing of the past. Firstly, it will be government policy. No government wants prejudice against its most powerful military assets. Secondly, because it would be easy for supers to track down any racists and deal with them appropriately.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think that racism will stay as it is or even way worse. White people will be treated really bad. $\endgroup$ – Antoine Hejlík Jan 5 '17 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ @AntoineHejlík I didn't mention other forms of racism. Black racism is a product of social, political & economic institutions and history. If there is racism, it will be different because the power structure supporting will be new & different. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jan 5 '17 at 9:56
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, I didn't knew that people need to distinguish who is racist to who, for me it was same act dependless on who does it. Otherwise it would be racist xD $\endgroup$ – Antoine Hejlík Jan 5 '17 at 10:01
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    $\begingroup$ @AntoineHejlík Racism is prejudice projected with political power. There are all kinds of power structures & all kinds of prejudice. It also depends on who benefits from it and who increases their power through it. We live in a complicated world. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jan 5 '17 at 10:14
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TLDR: After a few centuries, all humans will be black with super power.


Normal people would probably try to control the super powered black people because they would fear them. Research would be done on them to figure out how everyone else can also inherit this superpower.

A genetic treatment that will give you these superpowers is found. This treatment essentially turns you into a black person and grants you those super powers.

Eventually a majority of people undergo this treatment to get super powers so it s not so super anymore. Having superpowers is the new normal. Being normal sucks and normal people are treated like handicapped people. No ones wants to not be black.

After a few generations, everyone is black with super power.

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    $\begingroup$ Gene therapy by itself only really works for newly fertilized eggs. People would be trying to get designer babies that have super powers rather than trying to get themselves super powers. $\endgroup$ – Anketam Jan 5 '17 at 11:12
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According to the colors you provided (http://www.color-hex.com/color-palette/4613), people from Middle East, India, South America have the potential to have superpowers (so perhaps add more hex colors or change description to "brown skinned" people.

You say that this starts happening in 2016 due to unknown circumstances.
I will assume 1% of "Affected" population to obtain these powers.
I will also assume that this is no virus, but a gene mutation - permanent and non-treatable

What would happen then? In my opinion nothing that isn't happening already. Racism, terrorism, crime, gang wars, police violence, war. All existing conflicts will continue, but with new weapons to their arsenal. New defenses must be invented against these powers, new restrictions (either by law or by ethics) will be placed in general population.
Of course these powers will be more destructive in some cases, raising higher the death toll. This will lead to far greater protests against violence/wars/racism/terrorism.

Mega corporations will start enlisting super people - gene therapies, corporate espionage, new drugs etc.

Super humans will be banned from sports - or create leagues of super humans only.
New celebrities will be created, old celebrities will be forgotten.

On the other hand, countries with no such "Affected" population will try to recruit/enlist these individuals (army or intelligence services or anything). There will be a wave of immigrants towards these countries.

The "Affected" group will be considered the "Alpha" among the population. Just the idea that your child may have powers, is lucrative enough for many people. So, slowly at first and more rapidly eventually, new half-breeds will appear. These super powers will be considered the "next step" in human evolution.

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We've worked pretty hard at making race a problem with very little meaningful difference. A lot might depend on what you mean by "potential" and "develop"

If everyone with the potential to have powers needs to say sleep on a deep pile of hundred dollar bills every night for a year before they become above average people who aren't Magic Johnson probably won't care.

If a lot of people gain powers certainly but only very gradually it may cause genocidal race wars to suppress or control them.

Probably (like everything else) it would lead to normal black people getting pushed around more. Now all black people would get screened for super powers say by being pricked since invulnerable super heroes are obviously a threat to national security. More spies in black communities to spot clandestine heroes. Probably implicit or explicit hostages to keep heroes in line. "No worries, we'll send your sister to a secure school while you do your hero thing. You don't really need to know where."

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  • $\begingroup$ Race matters a whole lot. From my reading, it is a massive disadvantage to be the minority race in most nations on Earth. In USA, it was the #1 point of contention in the 2016 prez election. I see numerous areas where African Americans are far from equal treatment. For these reasons, I find this answer hard to believe. $\endgroup$ – SRM Jan 5 '17 at 0:42
  • $\begingroup$ When I say "potential" I am referring to the ability to develop superpowers (Let's say a black guy/girl gets exposed to INTENSE amounts of radiation, instead of dying/cancer they get superpowers) $\endgroup$ – AnAspiringAuthor Jan 5 '17 at 0:45
  • $\begingroup$ @AnAspiringAuthor That's what I was uncertain of: The commonness of the trigger and the speed of transition. It probably should have been a comment, but I got a rant going. $\endgroup$ – user25818 Jan 5 '17 at 4:37
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    $\begingroup$ "For every spiderman bit by a radioactive spider, there's 400 idiots who shoved their hand into a black widow nest and then chowed down on some iodine." I think the answer to this question may be incredibly dependent on specifics of the OP's question which are not included regarding how these superpowers come about and how reliable they are. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jan 5 '17 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ @SRM Race is not a scientifically valid concept, it is merely a term that society uses to frame racist sentiments. The heart of the issue is culture. African Americans are not a cohesive group because the people that this term is used to refer to are not from Africa, they are Americans like the rest of us. People who are first, second and third or so generation immigrants from the African continent would be more correctly referred to as African Americans, but that is not who the term is referring to. So no race matters not at all, racism and cultural divides are what require attention. $\endgroup$ – Nolo Jan 5 '17 at 7:47
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The world will get an answer to USA old question "are all blacks thugs?". There would be another try in colonizing and enslaving black people. But that would fail miserably because how you put in chain Luke Cage? Then they would try to bribe those people but what you can give to a person that can get it by themselves anyway (money? they can waltz right into the bank, Food? they can transport cheap food by themselves, sex? I think there will be a lot of people dying to have sex with superhumans)

There would be some wars between mostly black countries (like Dominican Republic and Haiti) but they will quickly realise that a)there's nothing to fight over as poverty can be quickly erased just by using sheer force b) they can fight much larger, richer countries like USA.

The problem, globally, would be shift in economy as superpower would be indexed as the most valuable resource. Something like world before the industry revolution.

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