“In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”
Over the past day, I had the extreme pleasure in watching Black Panther. The movie was shown beautifully from its design, acting, casting, stunts, and especially the message and meaning behind it. If you have not yet seen it, go see it! Do not pirate it or stream it becasue you should always be willing to support a cast that's not all white! The same mentality should be applied when Crazy Rich Asians premiere! I promise to do my best in not spoiling anything for those of you who still have yet to see it.
Black Panther takes place in Wakanda, a fiction country in Africa, controlling a special resource known as Vibranium, the strongest metal known to man. Wakanda is also the most advanced country in the world. It is highly sustainable because it divests energy from fossil fuels and focuses on renewable energy resources like solar and water and wind. It is also on the forefront of modern medicine and technology. Yet, with all of its knowledge and power and resources, Wakanda’s leaders including T’Challa distances themselves from the other nations, fearing that their technology will be used to ensue war and resources than for the greater good of society.
The movie also focuses on the Wakandan people and society and juxtaposes them to the African American community in the States and around the world. One of the biggest criticism of Wakanda and her leaders is that they let people who look like them suffer in the other communities all over the world. When T’Challa argues that they are not Wakandan and therefore not his concern, the rebuttal reminds T’Challa that everyone’s origins is Africa, implying that those in disparage communities are still our brothers and sisters. The opposing ideology to T’Challa’s isolationism argues that if the oppressed were armed then the oppressors would fall and people entrenched in a problematic systematic society would break free. Eventually, towards the end T’Challa understands that no more can Wakanda be isolated and that Wakanda has the resources and technology to improve people’s lives in society.
The messages Black Panther gives of to me is that if communities do not advance and support one another, then how can break the systems of oppression? Violence may never be the answer but through education and knowledge can we make our voices heard, our concern heard, our problems seen. Many people in the Asian Community tend to not care about what happens in their communities, neighborhoods, and even in their own country unless it directly affects them as a family unit. We as a minoritized community in this country cannot stand to be selfish. In order for us to advance and get our issues heard we must band together with other people of color. Activism is all about intersectionality. What affects one minoritized group affects another. For us who are privileged members of our communities whether that maybe in wealth or education, need to care about those in underperforming communities to stand united as minorities and to elevate and raise awareness of our issues. How can we progress society or even want to see the progression of society if we do not want to progress others too? If we are not to extend a hand first, then who will?
The time for isolationism and selfishness needs to end. Be the change you would want to see in your communities. Whether that be volunteering at a local community center, volunteering at your child’s school, participate in community activism, and most importantly building bridges and opening up to become more intersectional. As the crown prince of Wakanda says, “ We must find a way to look after one another as if we are one Tribe”.