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America's Captain 

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 11,533
In Reply To
Paste Pot Pete 
Wolfman Pete!

Member Since: Fri Jul 07, 2000
Posts: 11,390
Subj: Re: Killmonger a hero? Black Panther movie
Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 at 08:09:30 am EST (Viewed 716 times)
Reply Subj: Killmonger a hero? Black Panther movie
Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 at 01:30:05 pm EST (Viewed 784 times)

    I got into a argument with someone on Facebook about how she thought Killmonger was a hero because he wanted to overthrow Western (White) oppression.

    Anyone else run into this same discussion?

I haven't. But I would be shocked if that argument hadn't been raised by someone somewhere. The tricky question is - Can Killmonger and T'Challa both be heroes yet nevertheless oppose one another (if need be) to the death?

Must a hero always preach non-violence? Seems odd to say that in the United States, where we won our independence, overthrew slavery, took land from coast to coast, helped defeat a Germany who had aligned with the Ottomans, and helped defeat Hitler - all by violence. I think such questions are more complex than either/or.

But also, this movie has a symbolic layer. Surely I'm not the first person to acknowledge it publicly. Killmonger represents Malcolm X in the early days of his movement. T'Challa represents either (a) Martin Luther King or else (b) Malcolm X in the latter days of his movement, when he had turned away from violence as the only answer. Anyone unfamiliar with the trajectory of Malcolm X's life and martyrdom would do well to read this book:
The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley

I personally like to see T'Challa in the film as Malcolm X in the latter days of his life and movement, when he had made the pilgrimage to Mecca and come back a changed man. I say this because (1) Malcolm X is my favorite of the two seminal figures and (2) T'Challa has not by any means renounced violence - he merely has renounced it as a first resort or as any sort of ideal path, and in this, he gravitates in the direction of Malcolm X in the days before he died a martyr and a hero to many.

Notice that the younger Malcolm X (Killmonger) dies in this film, while the older Malcolm X (T'Challa) very nearly dies and would have perished if not for the will of the people. Symbolically, we are now in an alternate past and future, where the assassin fired his bullet but missed his target, and Malcolm X remained alive to preach his new message, one of reconciliation but from a position of absolute dignity and strength and unwavering defiance toward any who would seek to diminish the first two traits in any people.

The symbolic layer is surely why this movie is such a box office juggernaut. That, and the superb performances of the cast, not to mention the incredible Wakandan costuming, which may be Oscar-worthy.

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