My reflections on ‘Black Panther’ | Teen Ink

My reflections on ‘Black Panther’

August 31, 2023
By darkbrandon SILVER, Princeton, New Jersey
darkbrandon SILVER, Princeton, New Jersey
8 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I am fascinated by the character Killmonger, especially his symbolic meaning to the black community and myself. 

Killmonger's story highlights black trauma, the anger that the black community has felt against the injustice of systemic racism. Instead of admiring the beauty of the Wakandan ancestral plains, he remains fixated on his childhood trauma. As such, Killmonger develops an angry perception of his culture, ultimately preventing his reconciliation with Wakanda.  Armed with anger and American weapons, he sought to use violence to liberate the black community. 

Maya Phillips made a similar claim, noting that he is a liberator of black people. I disagree. I believe Killmonger advocated for neocolonialism, bragging, “The sun will never set on the Wakanda Empire.” Placing black people on top of the existing social class is not liberating but continues many of the isms (capitalism, colonialism, racism) that have oppressed the black community for centuries. Anger and rage will only beget more violence and pain. 

Killmonger’s struggle is relatable. As an American Born Chinese, I am deeply uncomfortable living in cultures and societies that encourage systemic oppression and violence. Unlike Killmonger, I have come to recognize the beauty of the culture and appreciate it for its progress. I need to see outside the window, beyond Killmonger’s apartment, and fully appreciate the full beauty of the ancestral plains. 





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