The newest installment of the superhero movie craze stars a mostly black cast, and white parents are now being shamed for letting their kids participate in the fun.
Black Panther is the latest movie from the Marvel film franchise, which has produced blockbusters starring Iron Man, Spider Man, Captain America and Thor. Dozens of movies have already landed on screen, and another dozen are scheduled to be released in the next two years. Until now, the main characters have largely been portrayed by white males, with black actors taking supporting roles in Iron Man 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy.
A new opinion article posted in the failing New York Times has taken interviews with the cast of Black Panther and wrapped in a massive guilt trip for the film scheduled to open to wide release tomorrow. Right now in toy stores and WalMarts across the nation, you can buy the usual plastic superhero crap for this movie that you could have for the last six hundred of them.
But here’s the catch: Since Black Panther has a black cast, it’s now wrong for white parents to let their kids dress up like the newest Good Guy Superhero without lecturing them about racial issues first.
I didn’t know what racism was until my school teachers introduced it to me. I was taught that people who looked like me have traditionally been plain awful to people who weren’t white, and that I should really feel bad about this. And things are getting worse for contemporary generations. It’s now cultural appropriation to enjoy something created by someone you are not related to.
It’s cultural appropriation of natives to wear knock-off turquoise jewelry. It’s cultural appropriation for white women in Oregon to sell burritos. Paradoxically, it’s not cultural approriation to wear a hijab. In fact, more of you white devils should be wearing a hijab, because slavery is freedom.
The piece in the New York Times by Kwame Opam argues that white parents are participating in “an unwitting form of cultural appropriation” for giving in and buying their kid a Black Panther mask so they can play dress up. God forbid the kids go outside for some fresh air to play with the neighborhood kids wearing a Black Panther mask. You’ll get Child Protective Services called on you!
Speaking with the aging hippies at the Gray Lady, an associate professor of early childhood development at Texas Woman’s University says that parents “need to be very aware of what that says.” Huh? Prof. Brigitte Vittrup continues:
“White people have the privilege of not constantly being reminded of their race in the United States, where white is the majority, whereas a black person you don’t.”
And here is where the argument loses itself. Black Panther isn’t real, and white kids who want to dress up like a black character are demonstrating that they don’t see any different between races until a bitter person like this woman comes along and tries to snatch their toys away. No fun allowed!
The Professor goes on to say:
“There’s not a whole lot of black superheroes, so this is a really important thing, especially for black kids growing up.”
Who’s going to be the first person to pipe up and say that Black Panther isn’t a real person, and that he was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, two New Yorkers who were born to poor Jewish immigrants to America? The fictional African nation of Wakanda is also a made-up entity, but it’s a part of this whole argument.
In the set of interviews that kicked off this social justice response, actor Chadwick Boseman who plays the title character T’Challa (Black Panther) is happy that kids are enjoying the franchise and the movie.
“I’ve seen little white kids dressed up as T’Challa.”
Okay, now imagine the white guy playing Spiderman commenting on how even black or Hispanic kids are dressing up like Spiderman. Imagine how well that would go over.
Boseman, was born in South Carolina and later studied drama in London before moving to Harlem to teach and then on to Los Angeles to act. So far, he has appeared in Law & Order, CSI:NY and ER. His big break on the silver screen was when he was cast to play Jackie Robinson in the 2013 movie 42.
Bosemen went on to say that people are calling him up to say that their kids are insisting on dressing up like Black Panther instead of white heroes like Spider Man. And shouldn’t the lesson here be that kids just want to enjoy themselves, and only see race when a teacher or professor steps in to tell them that everyone is different and you should be nervous about it?
“Kids are not colorblind,” insisted the Professor.
They see color. They just don’t see it the way that you do.
Sources: Buzzfeed, The New York Times, Daily Mail, Wikipedia