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.
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.
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
Too many of us see education as essentially a preparation for jobs, as a preparation for moving up in social status, and as a means of securing a better lifestyle. And certainly, these are some of its major functions. However, I do not see them as the primary functions of education. I think it is vital that we understand that the major function of education is to help secure the survival of a people. When we talk about maximizing the intelligence of Black children we are speaking not just in terms of their ability to go through school and to get better reading and writing averages and go to the right colleges. We are concerned about enhancing their intelligence so that it can serve as a means for maintaining the actual physical survival of Black people. We are now at the crossroads. We are in a pathetic situation as far as the world is concerned. We are in a situation that is exceedingly dangerous, where we are questioning whether Afrikan peoples survive the next century. And consequently, its going to take a different kind of thinking style, a different system of values, and a different approach to human relations to get us out of this quandary that we are in today; the quandary the European has put us in. And its going to require a different kind of education than what is available today.
You can tell a tree by the fruit it bears. Those of us who are familiar with the Bible, of course, are familiar with that verse. We must evaluate education in terms of its fruits. We must evaluate an education that has us at the point today of not knowing when we are going to be blown up; when this world is going to be brought to an end. What kind of civilization is it that as it supposedly becomes more and more civilized becomes more and more deadly?; it becomes less and less able to control itself and it becomes more and more suicidal! It develops weapons and systems that can kill and destroy each man seven hundred times over if you can die seven hundred times over. Where one nuclear weapon contains the power of all of the bombs dropped in World War II. Just one! And yet we continue to pay taxes to support this system, we continue to admire the people that made this system, continue to want to be equal with them, and continue to want to be like them these people who are threatening to end our lives and our very survival here on earth. They are unworthy of any further leadership on this earth. They must be replaced for our survival, for the survival of our children, and for the survival of this earth!
For the Black man to be in the position he is in today, he has to be out of his mind. We have to be. For a people to vote and pay taxes for weapons that are going to destroy their very lives and the future of their people, they have to be out of their minds. For physicists to build weapons that would end their lives and the lives of their children, they have to be out of their minds. For biologists and for doctors with M.Ds to develop bacteria so that populations can be wiped out by disease, which also means that their own children and their future generations can be wiped out, they must be out of their minds. For us to sit here and be unaware of what is going on in the world means that we have to be out of touch with reality. And one of the major instruments for putting people out of their minds is education. It is often the very basis for making people ignorant. It is the intellectual and the Ph.D. that have us in the trouble were in today. Who do you think builds atomic weapons the man in the street? No! The physicist who went to school and wanted to be a Mr. Spock figure, only concerned with the facts, only concerned with mathematics, only concerned with being objective, only concerned with having an amoral education, only concerned with an education that has no central values, morality, religion.
These scientists are so denuded of morality, love for humanity, and concern for their own children and the generations of their children that they sell their services to the highest bidder and permit themselves to become the tools of politicians.
And this is true for the other professions as well. Isnt it strange that the more social workers and psychologist we produce the crazier we get? The more economists we produce the more our people starve in Afrika? You must recognize that things are backwards. But they must be backwards if a minority of people is to rule over the vast majority. The vast majority must be kept in a state of deception, and they must be even arrogant in their state of ignorance, not open to critical thinking and analysis of their situation.
It has been said that science has done great things for humankind. But when you look at it, it has done great things only for a small percentage of humankind. When you add the population of this country together with the European countries, youve got maybe 20 percent of the earths population. Whats going on with the other 80 percent? The vast majority dont have even indoor plumbing, not even good scientific farming, not any of the conveniences (but maybe a television set so they may be propagandized) that we take for granted.
Do not look at what goes on in the USA and assume that this applies to humankind in general. The greater percentage of the worlds wealth is used by a small group of people who have the feeling that they have the right to consume over 60 or 80 percent of the worlds energy and resources to maintain their lifestyle.
The Black man must bring into being a new world order. This is the contribution that you can make to America, if you are interested in making a contribution to America. You are not going to make any contribution being a black-white man. There are already enough white men for that. The Black man should bring something unique and different to the world. In a sense then, even if we are concerned with the growth and development of America, we should bring something unique and different to it because it is need of something new.
We are faced with Star Wars. We are faced with the situation that the Whites are getting ready to leave this planet and no Afrikan nation has yet moved into the position to move our seeds beyond earth. The White man will bomb this planet out of existence but if he can carry one or two of his seeds to the next planet his people will survive. But ours are left here. America has already planted her flag on the moon. Where is the Afrikan flag? Where is the haven for our people when this earth is polluted and destroyed and overrun with radiation? What happens when nuclear warfare, that is sure to come, emits harmful rays and makes mutants of our children?
So when we talk about education we are not just talking about jobs. We are talking about continuing to live and survive in the world of the future. Can we defend ourselves if the weapons of war are going to rain down from thousands of miles out in space? Can we as an Afrikan people defend your children from re-enslavement any better today than your forefathers defended themselves against enslavement? Will we see that our strength and our ability to protect ourselves against people who may be our enemy at any point in time is virtually nil? Yet we depend upon the kindness of a people who have mistreated us since the first time we have known them.
We are hanging by a thin thread. The more integrated we become, the weaker we become; the more dependent we become. One day when we think weve got it made at the mint, when we are holding hands with little Black girls and little White girls the switch will fall. And then we find out that we are left completely in the open not having prepared at all to deal with the situation. The Jews learned a serious lesson about that: we can be in the universities; we can create an Einstein; we can make great contributions to this society but that may not keep us from going to the oven.
The idea that we are going to create children who are going to make great contributions to America is not your salvation. They will have to be in a position to actually defend their lives. Education is a very serious affair for us. It goes beyond the everyday thing of equal opportunity. It is at the very heart of our survival.
We must change the order of things so that while we will not menace the world and will contribute to its peace and security we will not be the clients and the protectorates of others.
In this video Claud Anderson asks the question if black people have made any real progress in America. It would seem that since we have many black millionaire singers,rappers and athletes–that we have. But if you look beneath the surface you will see that not much has changed in over 100 years. It is only the illusion of progress.
PowerNomics: The National Plan to Empower Black America is a five-year plan to make Black America a prosperous and empowered race that is self-sufficient and competitive as a group by the year 2005. In this book, Dr. Anderson obliterates the myths and illusions of black progress and brings together data and information from many different sources to construct a framework for solutions to the dilemma of Black America. In PowerNomics: The National Plan, Dr. Anderson proposes new principles, strategies and concepts that show blacks a new way to see, think, and behave in race matters. The new mind set prepares blacks to take strategic steps to create a new reality for their race. It offers guidance to others who support blacks self-sufficiency. In this book, Dr. Anderson offers insightful analysis and action steps blacks can take to redesign core areas of life – Education, Economics, Politics and Religion – to better benefit their race. The action steps in each area require new empowerment tools that Dr. Anderson presents – a new group vision and a new culture of empowerment – tools designed to counter, if not break many of the racial monopolies in society. Vertical integration and Industrializing black communities are other major concepts and strategies that he presents in the book. He places a great deal of importance on building industries in black communities that are constructed upon group competitive advantages. A the same time he announced the release of PowerNomics: The National Plan, he also announced that he has established several models of the strategies he proposes in the book. PowerNomics: The Plan, is infused with Dr. Anderson’s trademark creative thinking and answers questions such as: – Why are blacks the only group that equates success with working in a White corporation, government or the entertainment industry? – How did power and wealth – businesses, resources, privileges, income and control of all levels of government get so disproportionately distributed into the hands of White society?
– Industrialization brings many economic benefits to the geographic locations where it occurs. Why has Black America never been industrialized and how can it be done? – Why do visible blacks and black leaders avoid blackness, identifying the focus of their work instead for people of color, minorities, women, gays , the poor, Hispanics, and other immigrant groups? – What enables a constant stream of immigrant groups to politically, economically and socially dominate blacks? – In politics, how is it that blacks can be monolithic and loyal political supporters yet their group receives no quid pro quo benefits? – In his first book, Black Labor, White Wealth, Dr. Anderson examined history and showed how racism has locked and boxed blacks into a near permanent underclass. Picking up where Black Labor, White Wealth left off, PowerNomics: The National Plan is the missing link between the historical analysis of problems facing blacks and the strategies needed to correct those problems. Dr. Anderson’s books are a phenomenon in the publishing industry. His work is distinguished because he has turned books that are serious, non-fiction, and heavy on black history, into best-sellers. PowerNomics: The National Plan continues that pattern. It is an astounding work.