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Thread: Black Panther

  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tellenbach View Post
    The film was able to make several messages about the social justice movement because it's perceived as a black film. One subtle message was "stop dribbling that damn ball and study" and another is "violence is not the answer"; both messages would've been much more controversial in a non-black film.
    I knew the racism would come out.

  2. #52
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    this is a purely tangential point, but this came to mind as I was reading:

    There are no black people in Lord of the Rings, (Or in fact even derivatives of the tolkien fantasies)
    There aren't many, but actually Ursula LeGuin's well-known "Earthsea" series is an archipelago world where the main inhabitants (including the lead, Ged) are red-brown skinned, and if my memory serves me correctly, his best friend Estarriol (the one friend of his youth who stands by him when everyone else abandons him) is black-skinned. The most important female character, Tenar, is white-skinned -- and everyone stares at her when Ged brings her to the High Seat of the Kingdom because she's such a rarity, and she's descended from Kargath stock, which tend to be more villainous in the perspective of the story (although not intrinsically). The culture feels unique and appropriate for an island realm, and white people are a rarity and somewhat suspicious to the bulk of denizens.

    LeGuin (who was white) understandably focuses more on sexism than racism per se in Earthsea -- she's a female scifi/fantasy writer in a time period when almost all of her peers were male -- and a huge plot point later is how Roke Island (wizard isle) is so resistant to female mages, but I just checked wiki and found this in regards to the racial thing:

    Most of the people of Earthsea are described as having brown skin[1]. In the Archipelago "red-brown" skin is typical, while the people of the East Reach have darker "black-brown" complexions [2]. The people of Osskil in the north are described as having lighter, sallow complexions [3], while the Kargs of the Kargad Lands are "white-skinned" and often "yellow-haired"[4]. Le Guin has criticized what she describes as the general assumption in fantasy that characters should be white and the society should resemble the Middle Ages.[5]
    It's one reason why I love Earthsea so much and despise all the cinematic bastardizations of her work over the years. My friend and I, on the fantasy series we tried writing in the 90's, actually had similar dark-skinned leads, although since our knowledge of black culture here is laughable (we're both white) and so we probably didn't really capture the essence of it, our intentions were in the right place. (The culture and climate was more equatorial; and the nobility were all dark-skinned, while the light-skinned were remnants of the past ruling regime of demons and sorcerers centuries past and were treated as the lowest social caste by everyone.) We were both sick of white fantasy worlds too.

    There has never been a point in history where Superhero films were as big as they are now, superheroes themselves were quite big in the 60s and during WWII, but they've never translated into film well till the turn of the century with the advent of 20th century Fox's X-men franchise, since the beginning of that wild climb even when Superheroes did feature a black main character, it never was addressed or even mentioned in fact Al Simmons from Spawn, Eric Brooks from Blade, and even Hancock (who has no comic book counterpart) were all characters who were a part of a group of characters I'll call, black by happenstance. Their color neither informed their characters and while yes it's not a bad thing they were black, there was nothing gained or lost from them being so. In fact Blade wasn't even a fucking person. I don't mean that they weren't real, none of these are, I mean in story he didn't act like a human being and even less so then the vampires he faced. Both he and Spawn suffered from this lack of human emotion and any kind of relatability. They were cool to look at, but they were more concepts then actual characters. I remember someone who was actually offended when Cyborg was transplanted from the Teen Titans book to Justice League in 2011, and that he was included in the Justice League film, it's not like there weren't other options for that spot as well.
    I agree that those characters are more concepts than people, and any race could have played them. Of course, that goes the same for most superhero movies until very recently where suddenly people realized they could make a GOOD story about PEOPLE rather than the concept of superheroes. I think the main benefit is simply representation. It just says something to actually see someone who looks like you in the role of a hero or protagonist of a story -- there's an extra layer of identification there, and it opens up possibilities in your brain that were not there previously. It says, "Yes, I could be that too someday." So it might not be the greatest form of representation, but it is mainly just a step in the right direction. Wakanda is kind of a mix, it has even much STRONGER identification, although it's blend of tech and old world in a supposed hidden utopia still detaches it directly from US black culture a bit... but then it directly addresses the plight in the plotline.

    A formative experience for me was some years back when I spent some time with someone off this forum (actually), who is black but not African-American. It all seems so obvious in hindsight, but I had still had tunnel vision and had never consciously really thought about how black experience in the United States was different from black experience from other countries, and how this person's experience differed from people in my country who looked like her. My mind was still kind of conflating everything due to the visual, which was completely wrong. It's one reason why I like the influx of outside experience and ideas, it helps to correct incidental myopia from cultural upbringing.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"
    "You can't take a picture of this, it's already gone." ~ "Six Feet Under"
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  3. #53
    Senior Member Riva's Avatar
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    It was a good movie. Typical Marval movie entertainment.

    Movie quickly turned into a race pride movement. I understand why a lot of people would enjoy seeing a minority main character but I don't see how could that turn into race pride. It was a fictional character. If you want to feel inspired by someone from your won race there are millions of artists, authors, actors, musicians, athletes, academics, businessmen, politicians, freedom fighters, soldiers etc to get it from. Feeling race pride due to fictional character and fictional country is dumb and sad. But I do get the happiness people would have felt to see a minority superhero - especially with the completely different cultural aspect it brought to the screen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riva View Post
    Movie quickly turned into a race pride movement. I understand why a lot of people would enjoy seeing a minority main character but I don't see how could that turn into race pride. It was a fictional character. If you want to feel inspired by someone from your won race there are millions of artists, authors, actors, musicians, athletes, academics, businessmen, politicians, freedom fighters, soldiers etc to get it from. Feeling race pride due to fictional character and fictional country is dumb and sad. But I do get the happiness people would have felt to see a minority superhero - especially with the completely different cultural aspect it brought to the screen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Post for Riva View Post
    Too much to quote
    Can you name 3 people in any of those categories who don't already get celebrated in some fashion? Because your comment asserts a belief that those people aren't already celebrated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic Fiend View Post
    Can you name 3 people in any of those categories who don't already get celebrated in some fashion? Because your comment asserts a belief that those people aren't already celebrated.
    I wasn't trying to imply that. in short what I was trying to say was feeling pride towards an imaginary hero or country is silly. If someone wants to feel inspired by someone from their own racial background there are plenty of real people out there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riva View Post
    I wasn't trying to imply that. in short what I was trying to say was feeling pride towards an imaginary hero or country is silly. If someone wants to feel inspired by someone from their own racial background there are plenty of real people out there.
    Who says they do not? They can do both.

    Kids often dress like superheroes and pretend to be superheroes and other fictitious identities they see in movies and on TV all the time, while growing up. Kids do this ALL THE TIME. Why do you think the market even exists?

    Girls found Wonder Woman heroic last year and it seemed to trigger this wave of inspiration and sudden awareness that they don't have to be a sidekick or second fiddle to male heroes. It doesn't mean they don't also value their moms or other prominent women they meet, but usually kids become more aware of those things as they get older and more nuanced in their thinking.

    Anyway, people find their heroes everywhere -- whether real life, fictitious, or whatever. When you see someone you can identify with, someone from your background, doing something that seems heroic or amazing to you, then it can be very formative and inspiring. It opens up possibilities in self-conception and development. I don't think it's "silly" -- a model is a model.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"
    "You can't take a picture of this, it's already gone." ~ "Six Feet Under"
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