I have a problem with Black Panther. Maybe it’s too soon to address this issue but I’ll do it anyway. I know that I’ll be called all kinds of names for doing it but I’ll take the risk of correcting some ideas I don’t feel comfortable with in the movie.
I know it’s prohibited to criticize this movie since it’s supposedly “perfect” and “the best movie ever made”, or maybe people fear to criticize it because of political correctness, but I’ll go ahead and criticize it anyway.
Black Panther is good entertainment. I watched in theatres in 3D. It’s well made. However, like everything, movies carry ideas and ideology that can be read between the lines. Sometimes, they are subtle and sometimes they’re not. This movie contains race purity and supremacy ideologies that are not even subtle.
I wish I am mistaken but I feel that Black Panther misportrayed the African Diaspora through Killmonger. Let’s say it clear: it seems that the Marvel flick dissed Blacks in America. And by America, I mean the whole continent, the New World. It seems that the Blacks of the New World are viewed as the wrong kind of Blacks, or even worse: a mistake of history. And it seems their beautiful and excellent blackness was corrupted by their unfortunate encounter with the western civilization. Instead of being kings and queens, gods and goddesses ruling the earth, they just lost and confused people outside Mother Africa. Isn’t that tragic?
Now, let’s say we’re the wrong kind of Blacks and that our racial purity (and maybe superiority) was compromised due to our encounter with the “evil” western world, whose fault would it be? It would be Africans’ fault in the first place! Why? Because they were the ones to sell us into slavery to the Europeans, the same way Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt. Yes, we were sold by our own brothers for an amount of money.
The western world didn’t wage wars in Africa and take millions of people by force to America so they could become slaves. The vast majority of those who were enslaved and transported in the transatlantic slave trade were Africans from central and western Africa, who had been sold by other West Africans to Western European slave traders.
Our ancestors were sold by Africans who made a lot of money for selling millions of their own. In the slave trade, Africa was not innocent. It is as guilty as Europe and America of human trafficking. Africa profited from the triangular trading. My ancestors have been humiliated, betrayed and sold like cattle on the African continent. How did this happen? They were tribal conflicts within Africa and it seems that my ancestors lost the war. As a result they became merchandise and commodities.
My ancestors didn’t leave the African continent with happy memories. There was no goodbye, no smile, no “have a safe trip”, no “see you one day”. Instead they was a Door of no return. We were clearly told not to come back. Our sellers never figured out we would come back some centuries later. And when we come back, they don’t see us as Africans anymore, and they’re right. Because we are a new breed of people, a new shade of Black, the Blacks of the New World with new identities, new cultures, and new languages that were built up through centuries of human history.
Africans know we’re different from them. They see us as Caribbeans, Americans, Haitians, Black Latinos etc. That’s who we are. We can surely look back at where we come from, but we don’t belong to the past (that was painful anyway), but the present. This New World is our home, this is where we belong, our roots are here and not anywhere else. That’s what we must say to any racist, white or black, any supremacist, whatever his/her color, who dare telling us to go back. We won’t go back either physically (except to visit as tourists) or spiritually. Our roots are here. We don’t belong to anywhere else. Deal with it.
New Black and Proud