The Youtube video has already received 27 million views. Seeing “Wakanda,” a powerful, technologically-advanced nation full of beautiful, Black faces and Black leadership makes the excitement understandable.
With historical murder, torture, rape, bondage and discrimination that has been imposed on Black people and people of color in this country, it’s obvious that justice, liberty and pursuit of happiness are rights allowed to be enjoyed unencumbered only by White people.
Black Panther’s Wakanda is only fiction, but what if we could make it real?
Is There a Better Option?
As a people, we’ve gone through many of the various options for decades, including:
- Praying: God will take care of it.
- Talking: Explaining endlessly our humanity to White people.
- Protesting: Marching in the streets to have our voices heard.
- Boycotting: Using our collective buying power to hit them in the pocket books.
- Fighting: Arming ourselves and attacking, as we are being attacked.
At what point are all these options no longer an option? When do we say, enough?
While all of these methods have inspired some change and progress, it’s been 50 years since the end of the Civil Rights Movement. When you listen to speeches by luminaries such as Malcom X or James Baldwin, you’ll get an eerie feeling and realize that they could still be talking in 2017, in today’s society; and that not nearly enough has changed. At what point are all these options no longer an option? At what point do we say, enough?
Is Leaving Giving Up?
The idea of leaving the U.S. rubs many Black people the wrong way. It’s the place we were born and all we know. Some feel like leaving would be giving up the fight. Baldwin once said:
It comes as a great shock to discover the country which is your birthplace, and to which you owe your life and your identity, has not in its whole system of reality evolved any place for you.
Would you tell an abused wife who leaves and divorces her husband that she gave up? That she’s a quitter? A failure? Probably not. That is the state of the Black American’s relationship with this country. For some, the U.S. is a murderous, violent spouse, and we are the abused who think of every way to fix the problems, except for leaving.
We are murdered by a police force funded with our taxes, systematically imprisoned to maintain a system of slavery renamed “criminal justice,” discriminated against in areas of housing, business, employment and finance, all while living in a society that uses, abuses and steals our creativity and culture, maintains denial of these acts and silences/punishes us for speaking out. This is an abusive relationship; a deadly and costly one, and the best option in any abusive relationship is to leave.
From creating the New Republic of Africa by migrating millions of Black people to several southeastern states to Marcus Garvey’s Back-to-Africa movement starting our own nation and/or leaving America are not new concepts.
However, art has always moved and impassioned the Black community. With social media being a vehicle for increased accessibility to art, news and information, the consciousness of Black people is expanding (#staywoke).
Being able to see our people on the big screen, not in type-casted roles as criminals or the help, but as a powerful, Black nation with warriors, leaders and superheroes, that visual does something beautiful to the Black psyche and aids in the great awakening. It’s a hope for a type of civilization this world has not seen for hundreds of years since White imperialism; that it can be real again.
Additionally – Black America has accumulated an unprecedented level of knowledge, resources and leaders. Imagine the possibilities if we were able to unite – not as a monolithic entity – but more like the utility of a well crafted glove. Separate and independently functioning for the most part – but also able to come together as an exponentially more powerful force when we close ranks together as a unified tool of power with a common objective.
What Would Happen in the U.S. if We Did Leave?
The Economy Would Suffer Big Time
The economy would take a huge hit. Not only would the U.S. suffer from losing the $1.3 Trillion dollar spending power of Black America, the movement of Black artists, entertainers, celebrities and athletes would be to the detriment of many U.S. industries. The multi-billion dollar industries such as the NFL and NBA would cease to exist over-night without Black folks; along with the multi-billion dollar NCAA athletic programs. The multi-billion prison industry would be crippled without the steady supply of ‘criminals’ to feed the turnover. Less prisoners means less prisons, judges, attorneys, cops, courthouses etc.
A few billion here and a few billion there and it’s no stretch to say that a mass exodus of Black America would result in a $2+ Trillion dollar negative impact on the American economy. To put that in perspective – there are only 5 countries out of 211 in the world that have a Gross Domestic Product higher than $2 Trillion dollars.
Pop Culture Would Not Be the Same
American pop culture is heavily influenced by the Black population. With no more dances, songs, fashion trends, etc. being pumped by us into the larger society, what would become of American pop culture? It would likely become less soulful and a more ‘unseasoned’ version of its current self.
The Truth Would Be Set Free
With no more Black people, America would have to find a “new nigger” to kick around. It would likely be Muslims or the Latinx communities, as those groups have already experienced a great deal of discrimination. However, if those groups decided to follow suit and leave, White America would have no one to hate but herself.
Then, the poor, White American would finally see that it was not the Black man or Muslim woman keeping them from jobs and prosperity, but that it was the rich, White elite. They’d see that they would have been stronger partnering with minority groups to end elitist greed and corruption, but at that point, it would be too late.
What Would Happen in “Wakanda”
There would be an initial euphoria. Everyone would be joyous of having freedom and being in a place full of Black people.
However, it would be foolish to ignore that as a people, we have some psychological scars from hundreds of years of oppression that would spill over into Wakanda; issues that we currently face amongst each other will not go away overnight.
It would be imperative that we Wakandian’s take full advantage of our knowledge of history and that we establish a governing system that does not repeat the same mistakes as America and other dysfunctional democracies. The best systems of government have a healthy checks and balance system against corruption and abuse, and accounting and controlling for, as much as possible, the natural shortcomings and conflicts of interest in our elected leaders.
It will be vital that the greatest minds of our community, the strategists, the philanthropists, the scientists, the historians, the therapists, all work together to begin to heal our people – now that we would be in a safe space to do so.
The Black Panther movie is currently scheduled for a February 2018 release.