Why the 13th Doctor Should Be Black
It is way past time for a Doctor who isn’t a straight white male. We saw in the tail end of the 9th season of Doctor Who (Hell Bent/Heaven Sent) when the General regenerates into a woman of color that it is possible for Gallifreyans to regenerate outside of their race and gender.
So, who should be the next Doctor?
Of course, I would be happy to see a Person of Color (POC) who is a woman and a part of the LGBTQA+ community in this role, but I believe it could be incredibly important to the mythology of the Doctor to have this person be Black.
Think about it: A Time Lord whose home planet was destroyed by a race intent on “exterminating” everything it comes into contact with. He narrowly escapes, but in doing so, becomes the last of his kind and a man without a home or his own people. With his stolen time machine, he can go to any point in time and space (past, present, and future alike) yet he can never go back to keep his home planet and his people from being wiped out. We frequently see the Doctor, in his many incarnations, attempt to bury the pain, trauma, and depression that would be associated with a tragedy of that magnitude.
How much more powerful would it be to see a Black person dealing with this?
How much more powerful would it be to see a Black Doctor dealing with this on a show set in England, a country whose imperialism affected all corners of the world and had a large part to play in the African slave trade?
How much more powerful would it be to see this Black Doctor grappling with genocide that he has both seen and experienced?
“There was a war. A Time War. The Last Great Time War. My people fought a race called the Daleks… for the sake of all creation. And they lost. We lost. Everyone lost. They’re all gone now. My family. My friends. Even that sky. Oh, you should have seen it, that old planet!” (10th Doctor, Season 3: Episode 3)
My choice for the next Doctor is Alfred Enoch.
Source: Design & Trend
Most people who know him are familiar with him as Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter franchise or as Wes Gibbons in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder. He is certainly more than capable of exhibiting the qualities we typically associate with The Doctor: quirky, funny, easy-going, etc. But as we’ve seen in his capacity as Wes on HTGAWM, he is also able to be serious, emotional, and downright gut-wrenching. The Doctor I envision him as is one that is part David Tennant and part Chris Eccleston with a dash of Martha Jones. Most importantly, Alfred Enoch is a Doctor I would want to travel with. He feels real in a way that the 12th, and even 11th, were unable to adequately portray (to me, at least).
I am of the mind that the choice over the next Doctor could determine the relevance of Doctor Who in a time where Trump is president of the U.S. and there is a rise in far-right, xenophobic sentiment across Europe. Placing a character as salient and amazing as The Doctor into this new era in a way that continues to emphasize the values we know The Doctor to hold dear is especially important.
Perhaps it is time that Doctor Who remembers what it means to be The Doctor in the times we now find ourselves in: