Welcome to Silver and Shadow

"Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

This is a blog I will be using for topics other than food. Politics, religion, spirituality, humor, green living, anything that I want to talk about that doesn't fall under the food/cooking category.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

What Bothers Me About Black Panther

It’s been in the back of my head this whole time that the hype around Black Panther has been building up. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was, though, until I finished reading Hidden Figures, the novel. There’s a passage in the book talking about the black women who worked for NASA, and how they had to be the very best. The highest example of their community. The smartest, the greatest. The idea being that they had to be the best of the best of the best before they would even be acknowledged as adequate by white society. And it hit me, that even in this day and age, we still treat the black community, and any minority or “other” this way.

Black Panther doesn’t get the luxury of adequacy or mediocrity. It has to be the very best. The best Marvel movie ever made. Because otherwise, it doesn’t “deserve” to be made at all. We, as the white audience, will look at it as the standard set for black-led movies, and every other movie with a predominantly black cast will have to meet and probably exceed those expectations. Because if they don’t, they won’t get made again. Case in point: Look up Proud Mary starring Taraji P. Henson and see how it was marketed, if at all, and how it did in the box office. A flawed movie with a black female lead goes nowhere. But if it had been a Scarlett Johansson movie, it probably would have done just fine. And if it had been a Tom Cruise movie, it probably would have been a hit...

Just like Wonder Woman had to be the most amazing superhero(ine) movie ever made just to be considered on par with every other superhero movie ever made, or we’d never get another one in our lifetime. It’s why Captain Marvel has me worried that it won’t live up to what Wonder Woman was. And it’s sad that those two films are automatically pitted against each other because of that. Captain Marvel has to be even better, or that’ll be the end of women-led superhero(ine) movies. The fact that movies like this have to be in competition with each other to win over the white male audience is disturbing and disappointing.

Movies are still viewed through a white, male lens. Even Black Panther, sadly. It has to smash records and break glass ceilings and then when the numbers come back, studio execs will say, “Huh, maybe there is a market for this...” Maybe one day, minority groups and “others” will be afforded the luxury of mediocrity, but that day won’t come for a long time yet. Until then, we need to continue supporting these movies with as much enthusiasm and money as we can in hopes that some day, there will be so much variety, that when a mediocre film comes out that has a predominantly minority or “other” cast, we don’t blink an eye or wonder what’s going wrong with X-led casts. We’ll just move on to the next movie, like we already do with white-led casts.

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