Black Panther: The Choice of Self Preservation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Photo Credit: newstatesman.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Photo Credit: newstatesman.com

Black Panther, the film we have all been waiting for, is finally here and is breaking records with spectacular reviews and over $360 million in revenue in the U.S. in its opening week.

The film is filled with powerful performances, with academy award winners, well known names and newer faces, each performance significant to the drive of the story.

The story begins with the history of Wakanda, an African nation that has successfully hidden its technological resources and advancements from the outside world. We learn that natives from this nation have lived all over the world as spies and informers, protecting the nation from those who would misuse Wakanda’s resources for violence or personal gain.

As T'Challa (Black Panther) is crowned king, we become privy to a struggle that has been suppressed over many years, one that has played a significant part in the lives we see. The struggle of giving resources and action versus self preservation and inaction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Photo Credit: denofgeek.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Photo Credit: denofgeek.com

Throughout the film we see there are Wakandans who wish to help those they have seen oppressed, enslaved, and mistreated. To them the solution is one of action, where weapons would be wielded out of Vibranium, a rare material found in the nation of Wakanda, and technology used to defeat the outside world’s less advanced resources.  

On the other side of the struggle, there are Wakandans who wish to keep their resources solely for the use of the nation and its people, believing there is not enough to go around.

The question is posed, do we do something to stop the evil in the world, or do we turn the other way as we have before?

By the end of the film T’Challa begins to realize what the many years of self preservation have done, and the hurt this mindset has caused. In the last scene of the movie we see T’Challa taking action to help educate children in Oakland, CA. with the hopes of offering them a brighter future.

All of us are faced with situations in our lives where we make a choice of action or inaction. For Wakanda, the inaction came from a place of tradition, comfort, and fear. A nation afraid to use their resources and give aid to those who were not a part of their country, their traditions, and their beliefs. And because the tragedy of oppression had not reached their hometown and was not directly affecting them, they did not see the need to interfere or provide help.

How often is this our mindset as well?

How often do we know someone who is not being treated well or fairly but it does not affect us...so we walk away. Or we know someone who is in need but since they are outside of our community or inner circle of friends we do not offer to help.

The choice of action or inaction happens every day. It is up to each of us to choose others, to see others as just as important as ourselves, with the same right and desire we have to be treated well, fairly, and with equality.

And it starts with me.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

We can only ever change ourselves.

What are ways you want to begin taking action? Maybe it is reaching out to someone and having an in-person meetup instead of having a conversation over text or Facebook. Maybe it is helping at a local shelter or food bank. Maybe it is asking for help and having the courage to be vulnerable.

When you are faced with the choice of giving your resources and time to help someone else, I encourage you to remember who you are. Remember that you are generous, that you are kind, and that you have the power to impact the people around you for good.