I enjoyed Basil the great
People keep bringing up Shaft (literally since the first few posts in this thread, 11 years ago), but it's really not the same thing at all. Black and white should be equal, but you'd have to have been living on the moon the last few months to not notice that they aren't. Shaft was a blaxploitation character: he was designed as a black private dick, in a film supposed to accentuate and lean on race and subculture. His race was pretty much the sole reason he existed, because black people are a minority and the film was made to exploit that.
James Bond on the other hand, was never designed as a 'white' secret agent i.e. his race was never even considered to be an important part of his character, because white people were/are the majority so his race was simply part and parcel of a man having that job at the time. The stories were never a comment on white men living in Britain. James Bond and Shaft aren't comparable because one is a comment on race, and one isn't. The whole point of Shaft is that he's black, whereas Bond is a spy who just happens to have black hair and white skin- not the same thing at all. Black and white people aren't the same currently, so swapping a black man in for a character previously played by a white man is not the same culturally as doing the reverse. If you think it is then try considering why 'All/White Lives Matter' is a phrase with a much different meaning to 'Black Lives Matter'.
In the fictional universe that Bond lives in, however, black and white people are the same and racism doesn't exist, in just the same way that foreign powers get along nicely and the Double-O section is only needed to fight terrorists who are trying to make themselves piles of cash- no political ideologies or religious fundamentalism to worry about. So in that world, having a James Bond who happens to be black would change nothing at all.
First I will say, I completely agree with you. Second, I was attempting to do a compare and contrast between the two, but seemed to have failed in my attempt. I feel we can compare them, since both are fictional characters, without them having to be identically similar just as we can compare apples and oranges as they are both fruits. What we do tend to see more are the contrasts more than any similarities. Shaft is clearly blaxploitation, just as you have mentioned. You also mentioned in the world we are in black and white aren't seen the same. You are right, sadly. We should all be the same. Period. Because of that fact and, because the media has asked the question "Can a black man (or at one time a black woman) play James Bond", James Bond has now been pulled into the arena where it has become a comment on him being a white man, in my opinion. Whether it should be that way or not it does appear that it is becoming that way.
All-in-all, I think a black man or any man for that matter could play Bond. I see Bond in the movies as being similar to Sherlock, Batman, Superman, etc. where anyone can play him and the stories don't exactly have to have continuity. They don't all have to be the exact same Bond from Dr. No to Now. Know what I mean? Honestly, I am excited to see any one play Bond so long as they are good and believable in that role. If Cate Blanchett can play Bob Dylan and if Mary Martin, Sandy Duncan, Cathy Rigby and Allison Williams (all I can think of off hand) can all play Peter Pan then a man that isn't white can play Bond, in my opinion.
Hope that clears it up more.