Monday, February 19, 2018

Black Panther

I saw Black Panther yesterday! Yes, it was amazing. Yes, there were very few white people. It brought up a number of racial issues that other Marvel movies have never touched. That other big-budget movies have almost never touched.

Black Panther's plot had me conflicted. It brings up a philosophical point that every oppressed person eventually needs to consider. Minor spoilers ahead.

As a woman and feminist, I've hit back at people who misuse the idea of equality by saying that real equality would be leveling the playing field by having men be oppressed by women for centuries. This is a joke to make a point, of course. I would not, ultimately, want to oppress and hurt men like they did to us.

I also would never tell black people or other people of color that they shouldn't want to oppress us white people, that they shouldn't want to do to us what we did to them. How can I tell them that is wrong? Who am I to say if it's wrong?

I generally bristle at the idea that the oppressed need to be better than their oppressors, morally or in any other sense. That we shouldn't "become" them. This is because it's a sentiment often used against me and other oppressed people as a weapon to silence us. Practically any time I vent about men, saying that I hate them or expressing a (semi) joking desire to rule over them, I find myself chided by some man saying that I have to be better than that. I shouldn't "become" those who hurt me by hurting them back. This chiding has come from anonymous assholes online and from men that I love.

Black people have been horribly oppressed by white people and continue to suffer from cycles of very intentionally imposed poverty, drugs funneled into their communities by the FBI, their leaders murdered and neighborhoods destroyed, their people constantly terrorized and murdered by police, and so on and so on and so on. They are already working at such a disadvantage that we white people continue to impose on them. And we should have the audacity to ask them to be better than us when it comes to how they treat us?

Absurd. Gross. I hate it.

I can't condemn the main antagonist of Black Panther. I hope all white people consider how they felt about this antagonist and whether the idea that black people of the world should be morally better than we have been to them is self-serving.

In the end, what I really want is peace and comfort and happiness for all people. But if an oppressed people want their time in the sun, I understand. And I won't speak against them.

Also, the history behind like every detail of Black Panther and the Wakanda society is fascinating. So much effort was put into this movie. It deserves every bit of acclaim it gets.

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