Before I can get to my views on the messaging in “Black Panther”, we need to clear up a stumbling block that A. LOT. OF. PEOPLE have when they attempt to discuss types of people.
“Blacks” are not Africans, and vice versa.
DNA & Drops
If you go to places where there are no Africans at all, you still find people being called “black” because relative to other people, their skin and/or hair is darker.
This is a completely meaningless distinction.
Meanwhile, people play it up to say that there are “black” and “white” people, neither of which exist because there is neither black nor white DNA.
There is African DNA and there is European DNA, both of which are African unless you believe that Europeans spontaneously generated, as opposed to walking to Europe from Africa.
What happens though is that people conflate Africans with for instance American blacks (oh yeah.. Neither black nor white is capitalized in print because they don’t exist) and confuse themselves.
If you’re going to say that Europeans are different from Africans because they grew up in a different location with a different culture, you have to say the exact same thing about American blacks relative to Africans.
On top of that, Africans are potentially African! 😀 haha Meaning that it’s possible that you can trace their lineage all the way back to original sin and everyone you find is African.
American blacks, OTOH, are on average something like 80% African and 20% European, which is why the whole white/black thing confuses people.
I’m not saying that people are all the same. I’m saying that people are all individually different, and that to think you know what someone’s going to do because you perceive them as black or African or European or whatever only handicaps YOU and not them, as evidenced in the last line of the film where the clueless dude asks what a bunch of farmers are going to contribute to the world.
None of this is my problem, personally. 😀 I’m an American New Yorker. Members of my family were documented as Mulatto in the 1870 Census, 148 years ago, as I mentioned in BillCammack.com/2018/01/06/politics-without-personality/.
Whatever YOU think about that makes no difference whatsoever and never did.
Some fool came up with The One-Drop Rule and arbitrarily divided people who are genetically both African and European:
The one-drop rule is a social and legal principle of racial classification that was historically prominent in the United States asserting that any person with even one ancestor of sub-Saharan-African ancestry (“one drop” of black blood) is considered black (Negro in historical terms), its implications of racial purity being that anyone unable to pass for white in the context of the US racial hierarchy is assigned the lower status of being non-white or colored.
This concept evolved over the course of the 19th century and became codified into the law of some states in the early 20th century. It was associated with the principle of “invisible blackness” and is an example of hypodescent, the automatic assignment of children of a mixed union between different socioeconomic or ethnic groups to the group with the lower status.
The social and legal concept of the “one-drop rule” does not exist outside the United States. The “one-drop rule” is defunct in the United States and was never codified into federal law.
Before and during the centuries of slavery, people had interracial relationships, both forced and voluntarily formed. In the antebellum years, free people of mixed race (free people of color) were considered legally white even if individuals had up to one-eighth or one-quarter African ancestry (depending on the state). Many mixed-race people were absorbed into the majority culture based simply on appearance, associations and carrying out community responsibilities. These and community acceptance were the more important factors if a person’s racial status were questioned, not his or her documented ancestry. Because of the social mobility of antebellum society in frontier areas, many people did not have documentation about their ancestors.
So the idea was to create these classifications of people.. In this case, Negroes, who eventually became Colored (such as National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), who eventually became black, and now some people refer to this group as African-Americans, which is ridiculous for the reasons I’m mentioning in this article.
Yes. Africans were brought here en masse. Of course there were Africans in North America before that, but that isn’t the point.
An African in Africa went through different situations from an African in North America. Different languages. Different religions. Different customs.
By the time Africans here became American blacks, they had a completely different culture from Africans in Africa, but because people can look at someone African and someone black and they both have brown skin, they’re conflated into one group.
Besides someone like myself who became mixed around 200 years ago, you have recently-mixed people.
This is how you get people calling President Obama a black President when his mother was an American born in Wichita, Kansas and who was mostly of English descent, with some German, Irish, Scottish, Swiss, and Welsh ancestry, and his father was African.
Regardless of what mix that comes out to, it most definitely isn’t 100% African.
Due to the arbitrarily-created and often solely-visually-assigned categorizations of “black” and “white”, President Obama *HAD* to be a black President because you can see that he isn’t 100% white.
Meanwhile, a friend that I grew up with LOOKS completely white, and his father was Ukrainian and his mother is black. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Again, I’m not saying that all people are the same.
I’m saying that as an Xth-Generation Mulatto from Manhattan, NYC, I share more culturally in common with some Asians who grew up in Manhattan than I do with some blacks who grew up in Kentucky.
There are differences in upbringing and experience between people who live in Manhattan and people who live in The Bronx (another borough of New York City). Differences between people from NYC and people from upstate NY State. Differences between people from NY State and New Jersey (an American state adjacent to New York State). Differences between people from the North and the South. Differences between people from the East Coast and the West Coast. Differences between people who live in a metropolis and people who live in the sticks in one of those flyover states (called such because you never actually land there.. you just fly over them on your way to going somewhere else).
Therefore, it’s obvious that there are going to be differences between Americans and Africans.
This doesn’t mean that people who grew up differently can’t find a lot of things in common, or even if there isn’t anything in common, can’t find affinity for someone from a different culture.
It doesn’t mean that people from Manhattan are automatically more intelligent than people from Tennessee, or that people from The USA are automatically more intelligent than people from Africa.
It means that if you keep conflating groups that have nothing to do with each other besides how they visually appear to you, you won’t be able to intelligently discuss issues that depend on your understanding the differences between those groups as a foundational premise.
Treachery & Retribution
This… ***FINALLY*** 😀 HAHAHA brings us to the relevance of this difference in “Black Panther”.
In the beginning of the film, a citizen of Wakanda has been embedded into Oakland, California, USA as a spy.
A spy for what, I have no idea. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Wakandans have a special tattoo that they can show to each other to prove that they’re citizens.
Wakandans are mingling amongst but not a part of the civilizations they’re observing.
The Wakandan spy looks like an American black, but he isn’t.
In fact, Wakandans can’t automatically detect other Wakandans, thus the necessity for the tattoo.
We aren’t told this in the beginning of the film, but it’s revealed later that the Wakandan spy had a son. (N’Jadaka, who becomes Killmonger)
This son obviously had to be half American, as the film didn’t indicate that any Wakandan women were sent with the spy, and it didn’t indicate that the spy had ever left Oakland once he arrived there.
People who conflate blacks with Africans will not recognize the significance of this.
For some odd reason, when the king kills the spy, he leaves N’Jadaka’s father’s body in the apartment in Oakland.
This doesn’t make any sense because they brought Forest Whitaker with them, so they could easily have brought the spy.
This ***DOUBLY*** doesn’t make any sense because they abandon a half-Wakandan child in the ghetto slums of America.
So not only do they remove his father from his life, but they leave a crime scene where the son walks in to find his father murdered inside his own home, and there’s no trace of a mother at all.
If the child had contact with his mother, he’s already being deprived of his father’s income…
Wait.. First of all, Wakandans are rich. Second of all, the spy was the brother of the king, so we know full well *HE* was rich, even if all Wakandans are not.
This means that regardless of living in the slums, the kid had an endless supply of money (whether he knew this or not) until his father was killed.
Apparently, no fund was set up to sustain the kid’s life after they killed his father.
The entire beginning of the film shows the king’s irresponsibility at best and treachery at worst.
If the mother was still around, the kid had to survive only on her income.
If the mother wasn’t around, the kid would have been sent to foster care or would have had to make his own money in the street.
Meanwhile, while N’Jadaka (Killmonger) is suffering, T’Challa (Black Panther) is living his life like it’s golden.
So N’Jadaka understands that he was supposed to be taken care of and he wasn’t.
He was supposed to be nurtured and he wasn’t.
He was supposed to be educated and he wasn’t.
He was supposed to be royalty and he wasn’t.
His father was supposed to be alive and he isn’t.
He’s supposed to live in a glorious land and he lives in the slums.
He mentions how his father told him stories about seeing the Sun from Wakanda (more evidence that N’Jadaka wasn’t born in Wakanda and has never seen what his father had described to him). He also has the official tattoo, which we can assume was given to him by his father. We have to assume the son was told of the glory they were going to return to when the father’s mission was over. That future was suddenly demolished, and he knew that Wakandans did it, and specifically his uncle, the king.
The flashback shows N’Jadaka as a child holding a book which apparently contains the information about where he truly came from and belonged.
He knew enough about the culture to mark himself with the tribal kill marks.
Wakandans stole his entire life from him and he wanted revenge.
Us (us us us)….. And Them (them them them)…..
There’s another issue about Wakanda that might explain why N’Jadaka was stranded in Oakland.
Wakanda was located in a valley and rendered invisible by cloaking technology.
The point of that was to hide their existence from the world.
If you looked at that area of the globe, all you saw were slums.
This is because Wakanda was surrounded by slums.
This leads one to wonder where the boundary exists for beneficiaries of Wakanda’s technology, riches, and wonderful society.
Simple-Minded Thinkers want to prove or disprove why the fictional kingdom of Wakanda could or could not have existed in real life.
The real question here is how could they have lived so large next to slums? o_O
Essentially, anyone who wasn’t a Wakandan was on his or her own.
Apparently, Wakandans were only concerned with other Wakandans.
There seemed to be zero beneficial emanation from Wakanda to the surrounding locations, much less to the rest of the world.
Essentially, T’Challa and all of the other Black Panthers before him chose ease of existence over making life better for anyone other than themselves.
This is *NOT* a good thing! 😀 hahaha
As far as I can tell, Wakandans were not looking out for other Africans. Therefore, a clear distinction was being made between “us” and “them”.
If they weren’t looking out for Africans, they *surely* weren’t looking out for Americans.
People who conflate blacks with Africans will not recognize the significance of this.
We saw this aeons ago in the Wesley movie, “Sugar Hill”, where the Africans refused to work with black Americans, whom they referred to as “cotton pickers” and subsequently get beaten up for their insolence.
Due to the fact that they perceive a difference between actual Africans and Africans who became Negroes and then Colored and then black over the past couple of centuries, they discriminated against them.
So the ability to do business wasn’t important to the Africans in “Sugar Hill”. What was important to them was whether they were dealing with Africans who happened to live in The USA or actual Americans who happened to be black… Two entirely different groups of people, as far as they were concerned.
N’Jadaka, as far as we can tell from the film, is only half Wakandan.
We also don’t know if there are any rules against Wakandans procreating with non-Wakandans. o_O
Either way, the king would have perceived N’Jadaka differently from his father.
His father was a Wakandan who had been assigned to spend time in Oakland, California, USA.
N’Jadaka was at best a half-breed.
In the United States, as we already discussed about President Obama, if you’re half “black” and half “white”, you’re automatically considered “black” (which is why the classifications make no sense).
Similarly.. It stands to reason that in Wakanda, if you’re half Wakandan and half American, you’re automatically American.
Think about that.
We also see this concept / behavior / attitude when Bilbo Baggins selflessly dives to protect Nakia (T’Challa’s love interest in the film) and gets shot in the process.
When Nakia says they have to bring agent Ross to Wakanda and heal him, Okoye is like nope, sucks to be him, let’s bounce, he’s collateral damage.
Again, Wakandans aren’t giving a damn about anybody who isn’t “us”, which makes “not us” “them”, including N’Jadaka.
Even *the king’s love interest* saying that Ross saved her life doesn’t inspire Okoye to help him when she knows damned well that they CAN.
For me, this speaks to their lack of impetus to improve the livelihoods of the people in the areas surrounding Wakanda.
“They” are not “Us”, so they’re on their own.
So it’s likely that N’Jadaka, the half-breed Wakandan was not seen as Wakandan by the king, and therefore stranded in an Oakland slum with no earning potential.
In fact, the only people I’m even aware of that ventured outside of Wakanda were spies.
I don’t know what that means. A kingdom that has endless riches due to natural resources doesn’t gain anything by sending people into the outside world to work regular jobs.
The reason I bring it up is that the fewer Wakandans there are outside of Wakanda, the fewer half-Wakandans are born.
In a way, it reminds me of war babies. Get embedded in a country because you started a war over there, screw the women, make half-breed kids, and bounce.
Most likely, the women you’re screwing are broke and/or illiterate, so there isn’t much chance of them filing some kind of lawsuit to have their child recognized as being half- from the invading country. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It’s like how Kobe tried to get over by screwing that motel chick, but that’s neither here nor there. 😀
Obviously, this way of thinking backfired on the Wakandans! 😀
By the end of the film, T’Challa abandoned the concept, but by then it was far too late.
Let’s say they had brought N’Jadaka with them…..
N’Jadaka was half American and half Wakandan.
This means that he was likely aware that his mother was American.
We don’t know whether his mother was American white or American black (or anything else) because we never saw her.
What we DO know is that all of his friends that he grew up with were American blacks who lived in the slums in Oakland, California.
What we DO know is that by the time he took over Wakanda, he wanted revenge for all the injustices that were being suffered all over the world by people that he considered to be like himself.
This is a totally different mindset from someone with a Wakandan upbringing.
Again, blacks are not Africans.
Wakandans who grew up in Wakanda are different from Wakandans who were stranded in The USA as children.
As far as I know from what the movie tells us, N’Jadaka was THE ONLY Wakandan exiled from Wakanda, so that makes it even worse.
Actually, this brings up another reason the king might have stranded him.
If the king considered his own brother to be a traitor for his traitorous actions, exile might have been the order of the day for anyone from that person’s bloodline. o_O
So they might have stranded N’Jadaka in Oakland off of General Principle, though this wasn’t discussed in the film because they needed to hide what was going on from the viewer for the eventual reveal later in the film.
If they would have let Forest Whitaker ask “what about his son?” in the beginning of the film, it would have ruined our finding out who N’Jadaka actually was when they wanted to tell us.
Regardless, if they would have brought N’Jadaka with them back to Wakanda, they would have had several problems.
First of all, there’s no telling whether they admitted that the king killed his brother to begin with.
Obviously, his son would have known that and told that.
Second, there would have been a direct bloodline claim to the throne immediately upon the death of the king, and there was a percentage chance that N’Jadaka would have defeated T’Challa off the bat.
Third, you have a topic I haven’t seen discussed yet since people are so busy conflating blacks with Africans, which is the beneficial status of being a half-breed. 😀
T’Challa is full-Wakandan and N’Jadaka is half-Wakandan and N’Jadaka easily beat the living daylights out of T’Challa in a fair, one-on-one physical fight. o_O
People who conflate blacks with Africans will not recognize the significance of this.
Someone who is the best of both worlds (Wakandan and not-Wakandan) handily dispatched a full-Wakandan.
N’Jadaka had his entire upper body decorated with kill marks.
I didn’t see ONE kill mark on T’Challa. o_O
Their fight wasn’t even close.
N’Jadaka pulled himself up by his own bootstraps out of the slums to become an elite killer and eventually challenge for and take the Wakandan throne as well as avenge his father’s murder.
The kid who was abandoned with no family and no resources vanquished the most pampered man on the planet.
All they would have had to do to avoid this entire situation was kill the brother for his treachery, dispose of the body, act like they didn’t know where he went, and bring N’Jadaka with them, explaining to him that they were going to take care of him since his father mysteriously disappeared.
Unfortunately, once N’Jadaka would have recognized paradise, he would have wanted his mother to live there.
His mother being American, she wouldn’t have been allowed, which would have caused an issue.
Same thing for N’Jadaka’s friends. He would have wanted his close homeboys to live it up with him, but they wouldn’t have been allowed because they’re “them” and not “us”.
Except TO HIM, they were “us”, and that would have caused an issue.
So there might not have been a way to bring N’Jadaka along, but I say they were betting that he was going to fail in life and die inconsequentially due to the conditions they stranded him in.