“There are too many black people in ‘Black Panther.’ I just think they could have been a little more diverse.” Welcome to our world, and thank you for feeling exactly how we feel when we turn on almost every TV show and do not see the representation of black people.
I have heard some people state that movies such as “Black Panther” are not inclusive, or ask why should there should be a Black History Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and other months that many minority groups have to celebrate their heritage. Well, let’s talk about how for many people, this is the one time they get to celebrate their heritage. For me, and people like me who are not white Americans, Black History Month is the only time I get to learn a lot about African-American history outside of my personal research and previous knowledge.
Growing up as a black kid, I did not get to imagine a whole Marvel movie that would one day focus on Africa in a positive and powerful manner. Imagine growing up and not being able to learn about your history, because the education system was not designed to teach you that. If you have never had to imagine any of these scenarios, then you do not get to complain when people of color decide to showcase a work that focuses solely on them. If you feel “Black Panther” is not meeting your criteria of diversity because it has a lot of black people, the good news is that you have a lot of other movies to pick from that will make you feel represented and comfortable.
On Feb. 8, I read an article about a white supremacist group that vandalized Black History Month posters on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus. These posters were covered up with new posters that read, “Hitler was right.” I am beginning to wonder if the people who took their precious time to come vandalize someone’s point of view could not have done it any other time? These white supremacists felt that in order to express their hateful views they had to interfere with other people’s celebration of their heritage.
I have had a lot of people ask me, “But why don’t we have White Heritage Month?” and my reply is, “If you really feel the need to start a White Heritage Month, then go ahead.” Black History Month, along with other history and heritage months, are not created just to make people feel happy. It is a way for people of color to celebrate their heritage and history unapologetically, because like I said, the system is not designed to teach people of color their history.
I have also read a very popular comment on social media that asks, “But isn’t Black/Hispanic/Asian pride racist as well?” My answer to that is no. When most people of color talk about their ethnic or racial pride, it is a way of uplifting themselves without hating on other people. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same when people celebrate white pride, because it is rooted in racism and white supremacy, and there is nothing we can do about it. If you really feel passionate enough to change the meaning of white pride, good luck.
One of my main points is that people of color should be able to have their ideas, identities, and celebrations without white people feeling the need to be included and represented. Every month is equivalent to White History Month, almost every movie and TV show in America represents white people adequately, so when people of color feel the need to do all of these things as well, they should be allowed to do it without questions.
P.S., “Black Panther” premiers on the Feb. 16, and you should go see it, just because we all know it is going to be a bomb movie!