My son is a mixed race child, a beautiful one at that. He is happy that there is a character on the big screen being celebrated by the country that represents I piece of himself.
I am proud of my son and his opinion. He has not experienced racism directly, thank God. He is growing up in a culture where race is less of an issue and cultural awareness is more acceptable. However, I have come under sharp criticism for asking my son if he feels the Black Panther represents him, if the characters race was a factor.
Not surprisingly, this criticism is coming from a white man accusing “its people like you and everyone else celebrating Black Panther because he’s black that keeps racism alive.” He was quite heated about it too.
This is the general, tacit consensus of modern white America, shut up about racism, stop talking about it, stop teaching your children about it and eventually it will go away. There’s just one problem, what do I do as a parent of a mixed race child when he is called a racist name? Do I still ignore it?
Black Panther is a good thing, it was needed, and more of it! I hope for a society that it is common place and normal for multicultural, multi raced, and multi ethnic characters to be in the minds of our young ones. But until that day, we have to talk about the biases we have been taught, we cannot just “shut up about it”, instead we must carefully reconstruct ourselves, our social structures, and our workforces to include everyone. That’s how we end racism, by bursting our own bubbles of protection.
Not by silence.