The After Movie Conversation
Debates degenerating into arguments. Explanations morphing into misunderstandings. Intellectualism turning into separatism. Unfortunately, I have observed all of these on varying levels in the Black Panther after movie conversation. In fact, last week I actually had to delete a post from a social media group that for the most part is open intellectually, simply because my post ( a question) evoked unwarranted passion and a bit of anger. I think the individual felt compelled to justify her position, when I was actually only asking a simple question for which I had no answer. And, I get it. Really, I do.
This movie has evolved emotions, conversations and such vast philosophical discussions that at times I have questioned my own Black Panther equilibrium. Don’t worry I am not here to add to the Black Panther banter. Nor, am I here to raise the clarion Rodney King cry, “Why can’t we all get along?”
Our community and our voices are more divergent than just two camps; W.E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington (for those of you old enough or politically inclined to understand my reference). Actually, I find it rather insulting to believe all of us have to choose any alliance to prove our allegiance to our race. After all, we are so much more than a singular ideology. But, I digress. The fact that Black Panther continues to evoke conversation brings me to my point.
I am concerned our children are being left out the conversation. Or, perhaps they do not understand the passion behind our responses. As a child, I recall being unable to go to school during the infamous racially-charged NYC teacher’s strike. Due to the longevity of the strike, community families mobilized to provide education for their children in neighborhood homes. I vividly recall standing outside one of those pristine community homes clutching my wooden kindergarten chair. My dad had painted it my favorite color coral blue. As I watched other children parade past me weighted down with their chairs, snacks and books, I knew something was wrong.
Interestingly, I recall some of the parents happily greeting us, then side-stepping , ever so gently using their forearms, as they made their way to the vaulted honey-brown door with the numbers 604 on it. Of course, we were never admitted. Strangely enough, it was not my lack of entry that bothered me. Rather, it was my father’s reaction that has haunted me over the years. After waiting what seemed like hours, (although I am certain it was probably no more than ten or fifteen minutes tops), my dad just turned around and walked back to the Cadillac. He was not upset. In fact, he was rather resolute. In that seven-minute drive home, he tuned the radio to Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”. He never talked about what had just happened, (at least not at that point).
As a parent, I now understand his reticence to speak at that moment, but I also think his silence did not provide me the emotional space to download my confusion and disappointment. I think much of our adult conversation may be provoking the same frustration in our kids. Let’s include our children in the after movie conversation and allow them to dialogue with us about their impressions of the movie.
I look forward to your feeback...