Black Panther: Pan African Superhero?

Black Panther...jpg

One of the problems with Black superheroes in Marvel and DC comics is that they may look Black, but very rarely do they reflect the experiences and struggles of Black people. This was a point that was made Kenneth Ghee who explained in Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation that: “Historically in comic books and movies, the Black superhero operates in a totally Eurocentric (White) context; no Black family, no Black lover, no connection to community or culture…For him (and for us and our children) there is no Black consciousness or Black cause, only a generalized ‘humanitarian’ supportive role from a Eurocentric worldview and perspective.” Given that the Black Panther movie is set to be released next month, I would like to point out that one of the unique things about the Black Panther is that he is one Black superhero who has to confront many of the problems that Black people confront daily. The Black Panther doesn’t just live in Africa, he also lives many of the real problems that Africa has faced and continues to face. Black Panther comics are filled with themes of Western imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism in Africa. These themes are especially prominent in the six episode cartoon series which was an adoption of Reginald Hudlin’s run of the comics.
In the comics Wakanda is the most technologically advanced country in the world because the people of Wakanda are able to utilize their country’s resources for their own benefit. Wakanda was the only African country never to be colonized or conquered, so it did not suffer through the ravages of the slave trade and colonialism which disrupted Africa’s development and, as Walter Rodney explained, underdeveloped Africa. Some have defended colonialism by arguing that colonization was a benefit to Africa because it introduced European technology, but this was not entirely the case. The technology that was introduced was utilized in the service of European domination in Africa. The vast majority of colonized Africans were exploited and impoverished, and they did not benefit from European technology in any significant way.

Patrice...
Ethiopia was able to fend off the Italian invasion and under Menelik II’s rule Ethiopia made many technological advances, including establishing a railway, a postal service, and the country’s first hospital. This was because without European domination Ethiopia was free to adopt European technology and apply it in ways that were beneficial to their country, but the other colonized African nations did not have this benefit. Whereas Menelik was able to establish a hospital, in many colonies Africans were malnourished and given inadequate medical care. In Mozambique the Portuguese failed to train a single African doctor and Guinea-Bissau was even more neglected by the Portuguese colonialists than Mozambique was. Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania, once explained that by the time Tanzania gained its independence the country only had 12 doctors. Wakanda presents us with a glimpse of where Africa could have been had it not been for colonialism, as well as a glimpse of where Africa could very well be with the proper leadership.
Comic book superheroes are typically people who decide to become superheroes due to personal tragedy or by obtaining superheroes, but the Black Panther is unique in that he has inherited his role as a superhero. T’Challa comes from a long dynasty of Black Panthers that have protected Wakanda for thousands of years. The Black Panther does fight the typical super villains that are found in comics, but what makes this character unique for people of African descent is that the Black Panther also fights a threat that Africans had to fight in real life, which is European colonization. For example, one story in Hudlin’s run depicts one of T’Challa’s ancestors defending his nation against an assault led by a European settler known as Klaue. In the story Klaue is a soldier who fought military campaigns in South Africa and has nothing but contempt for Africans, whom he views as uncivilized savages.

Thomas S..
T’Challa’s own story is rooted in Africa’s struggle against neo-colonial forces. T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, was murdered for refusing to give up Wakanda’s most valuable resource, which is a fictional metal known as vibranium. In Hudlin’s retelling of the story, T’Chaka’s assassination was part of a plot that was carried out by various Western countries that were unable to talk T’Chaka into giving them his country’s resources. When they realized that T’Chaka could not be bought off, their next option was to simply kill him. This brings to mind the assassinations of Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, and other African leaders who were killed or overthrown by Western countries for refusing to serve the interests of those countries. T’Challa ascends to the throne and has to remain cautious about the fact that the very governments that assassinated his father would be plotting to do the same to him.
Aside from the Western governments that seek to undermine Wakanda to exploit its wealth, the Black Panther also has to confront African dictators such as M’Butu, who is one of the antagonists in the cartoon series. M’Butu is the dictator of a nation that borders Wakanda and he is depicted as being the opposite of T’Challa. M’Butu is greedy, self-serving, and is easily paid off like many of the dictators that continue to rule Africa today. M’Butu is also a close American ally and even agrees to participate in a plot to overthrow the Black Panther. Black Panther not only fights to protect his nation against European invaders, but against African traitors as well.
I am not sure how deeply the movie will delve into these themes. The anti-colonialist message found in the cartoon series and some of the comics was toned down when the Black Panther was introduced in Captain American: Civil War. In that movie T’Chaka’s assassination was part of a plot to frame the Winter Soldier rather than being an assassination that was carried out because T’Chaka refused to give up his country’s resources. Even if the anti-colonialist message is toned down, I still think the significance of the Black Panther movie is that it’s a movie that will challenge some of the ways Africa and African people are typically depicted in the mainstream media. It is also significant in that it has a message that is relevant to all people of African descent. For African Americans and others in the diaspora it is a reminder that there is more to our history that slavery, and for those on the African continent it is a reminder of the great potential that Africa has.

Article by Dwayne Omowale

European Possession- Amos Wilson

The black man is re-created because he’s separated from his African self…that’s the process. You cannot be an AFRICAN and a SLAVE at the same time. You cannot be truthfully and pridefully an African and relate to each other as African people the world-over and be the dupes and subordinates of European [and other] power – it can’t happen. The ruling of Africans the world-over is brought through the process of FALSE INDIVIDUALISM and SEPARATING THE AFRICAN IDENTITY. The slave experience wasn’t just an exploitation of labor but it was ultimately a BRAINWASHING procedure. What is happening to the African during this process: why is the African losing language, culture, social organization, perspectives, religion, etc.? YOU WILL SEE AN AFRICAN BEING NIGGERIZED – BEING TURNED INTO A SERVANT! If you are at one with your identity, no other identity can be placed in you. It’s only when you become separated from your African identity that you leave a vacuum for another identity to be introjected and inculcated into your personality.

White Lies..

In order for the servility and inferiority complex, the loss of self-confidence and pride, the loss of a sense of mastery and collectivism, we had to first be separated from our African identity by the people who would use us. This was done by having us become ignorant of our African culture and by degrading and associating everything African and black with negativity. The associations to things African and black is such that many want to escape from things African and black. Through rewards and punishments, the Europeans [and Arabs] have separated the African from his identity. They’ve effectively loaded the African identity with negative associations that even the African doesn’t want to identify with it. WE GET INTO ABSTRACTIONS: “I’M AN AMERICAN; I’M A HUMAN BEING”–ANYTHING BUT AN AFRICAN! It’s this separation that provides the energy for others to dominate us and you’ll see it early in African children. WE ARE POSSESSED – ALIENATED! – Dr. Amos Wilson

Racism- They keep changing the rules

This is a clip from the new film Hidden Colors 3. Tariq Nasheed gives a great break down on how the rules of racism keep changing on us. Black people have been bending over backwards to be accepted by white people.  We have done everything possible to be included into the mainstream…….but it never happens. We keep getting denied. I think it’s time to change our way of thinking a bit. The cartoon is somewhat humorous but it still drives home the point very well. I have Hidden Colors 1 and 2 and you should check them both out. I found the to be very educational. Hidden Coors 3 looks to be just as good as the others. I think when it comes to racism,many are still confused. many black people still don’t seem to know how racism operates or the real definition of it. Here are a few definitions that should make it very simple to understand.

White Supremacy — a social, economic, and political system based on the belief that whites are superior to non-whites. (the Foundation).

Racism — the systematic discrimination (the denial of rights and benefits) by whites against non-whites in all areas of human activity: (1) economics, (2) education, (3) entertainment, (4) labor, (5) law, (6) politics, (7) religion, (8) sex, and (9) war. (the Behavior).

Q: Why is it called “Racism/White Supremacy?”

A: Because this describes exactly WHO is practicing racism. For one group to practice racism that group must have MORE POWER than another group. Since whites control ALL the major areas of human activity in America — housing, education, health, entertainment, economics, politics, law, and religion — it is accurate to define all “racism” as “white supremacy.” We must be accurate so the victims of racism do not become confused.

Q: Isn’t all racism the same, regardless of who is practicing it?

A: There is only ONE kind of racism: white supremacy. White people are the only group in America with the POWER to discriminate (deprive or punish other ethnic groups), and the systems and institutions to maintain the imbalance of power.

For example, rich people are more powerful than poor people. Rich people have the POWER to discriminate against poor people by depriving them of income, promotions, jobs, housing, land, justice, and any other rights – if they choose to do so.

In America, whites have the POWER to discriminate against blacks (and other non-whites) by depriving them of income, promotions, jobs, housing, land, justice, and any other rights – if they choose to do so. It doesn’t matter that some whites are poorer than some blacks.

In all things and in all places in America, whites are collectively more powerful than blacks are collectively. This imbalance of (white) power creates the opportunity and the ability to practice racism against non-whites. Racism is not empty rhetoric (words) or mindless emotion. Racism is economic, political, institutional, and systematic POWER. Since whites control all the institutions and systems of power in America, only whites have the power to practice racism.

I got this excerpt from Trojan Pam’s website:http://racismws.com/. Be sure to go check out her blog and buy all of her books. Her books will help you be les confused about the system of racism.