this white woman’s thoughts about Black Panther

Mostly, I’m going to keep my mouth shut in public about Black Panther. I want to leave the public opinion sharing to Black people. But, I do want to invite my white readers/peers/friends to see the movie and I want to tell you why I think you should (even if you, like me, don’t really enjoy action movies):

  • Watch the movie thinking about how almost every other movie made by Hollywood is almost all white people with only minor characters who are Black. Imagine watching almost all movies almost all of the time showing almost no one looking remotely like you. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to put your feet in the shoes of Black people in a small way, while also being entertained;
  • …and, related to that, it’s a glorious opportunity to just stare at Black people without feeling self-conscious or weird. We don’t get a lot of chances to do that. While it’s still a rare thing (and I’m sure you agree it shouldn’t be so rare), I think we should always take advantage of the opportunities;
  • The appreciation of real African cultures comes through vibrantly, even though it’s all fictionalized. Think about how you *really* think of “African culture.” Do you place it on the same level as European history and culture? Do you even know about the massive variety of African cultures? (I don’t, but the movie helped me realize how little I know and made me curious to learn more.);
  • Bring your children! and talk to them about all of these things. see what they notice on their own, see what they notice that you miss, relating to Black people in the US and racism.

I have so many, many more thoughts about the movie, but, again, I’ll keep those to my private discussions. For now, I suggest these reviews/discussions of the movie for you if you want to know more:

The reality of Blackness in the fiction of Black Panther

How the “Black Panther” Film Is “A Defining Moment for Black America”

What Would W. E. B. Du Bois Make of Black Panther?

The prison of unfounded positivity

Heart-shaped herb: Wakanda and ancestral healing

The Root’s many articles about Black Panther

3 thoughts on “this white woman’s thoughts about Black Panther

  1. I’ll probably see it eventually since it’s been so hyped up, but I doubt I’ll enjoy it much because comic book… meh. Wonder Woman was pretty good tho, if you ignore the fact that the hero was actually a handsome charming white man, as usual, who gave his life for the cause, while WW’s superpowers saved her.

    Anyway. The romantic leads in Collateral Beauty were black, btw, tho this wasn’t a “black” movie, just a lovely and sad romance. I loved it.

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    • I am SO not an action/comic book fan. Like, I roll my eyes and or get a visceral NO THANK YOU reaction. This movie, though, is just extraordinary in the ways it made me think. The metaphors, the messages, the complicated moral questions… I saw WW, too, bc of girls/women the bruhhahahahaha and it was fine. Too much blow-’em-up for my liking. BP is like a great book in the way it has layers.

      The link I shared with the interview had some interesting points, too, that are probably spoilers. But I liked the criticisms I’ve read/heard…

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  2. I loved BP –I wore an enormous grin of delight through the whole film. I was taken to it by my 17 year old son who simply said, “you are going to love this Mum”. Bless him. Hollywood finally discovers the real world but needs a comic to do so! So ironic.

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