This will be a spoiler-free post, but I just saw Black Panther and just…
I’m at a total loss. I’m not sure if Marvel’s been holding out on us this whole time, whether they’ve just redefined superhero movies forever, or if this was the brilliant once-in-a-lifetime occurrence that we’ll keep trying to taste but never be able to recreate.
In short, go see it.
But with this coming out, Luke Cage’s previous buzz, Get Out and the ascendance of more culturally Black narratives, it’s also important for the white majority to consider their place in these stories. It’s not a positive take. There’s not a lot positive to say. We can change that, but the damage is done, for now. As citizens of the world, as compassionate folks looking for better, we need to see that we are colonizers, thieves, and oppressors until proven otherwise. And then prove otherwise.
“That’s great,” you say. “How do we do that?”
First things first, go see Black Panther. Laugh at the jokes. Think about what stings. Study our history, even the Black parts. And then vow to do better in the future. Talk it out. Revel in the wonderful. Don’t run from the shame of the past. You don’t (or you shouldn’t) get defensive every time a friend talks about an ex of the same gender as you. In fact, we usually agree! Bitches are crazy. Dudes do suck. White people are awful. Me? I don’t think I’ve ever been a crazy bitch. My bitchiness has always been totally rational, and I’d be happy to explain it to you. My whiteness? Well, I’ll be honest, I’ve screwed up a few times, but I’m learning and growing like a person does when they care about how they impact others. I see the little things I’ve done–microaggressions, they’re called–when I’ve looked to a person of color to explain to me an entire culture. When I’ve played Devil’s advocate in a fight that’s been argued since the 1800s. Meaning no harm doesn’t mean no harm was done. I can accept this and deal with it, or I can make someone else deal with it which is…well, if that’s not the definition of oppression, I’m not really sure what is.
No one really expects anyone to speak with complete understanding. My motto is and continues to be “progress, not perfection.” Keep listening. Keep growing. Keep challenging yourself to be better.
Do whatever you can not to get barked at, and if you do get barked at, take it as an invitation to sit down and listen.
And to everyone else reading this, we are listening, and I’m so happy this movie was as amazing as it was. Can’t wait to see everyone again in the next installment of the Marvel Universe!