To be honest I had little to no interest in seeing Marvels Black Panther when it was initially released in theaters. I’m just not into Marvel or any other comic book characters. But listening to members of my community articulating how the image of a prosperous and successfully ran Black Nation flooded them with hope and pride made me want to see it for myself and I did during Black History Month. Needless to say I was not disappointed even though there was at least one thing that disturbed me about what I was watching, which I’ll address at another time. Among those of us that share these sentiments the salute that’s embraced is not Black Panther forever but Wakanda Forever! It’s not the superhero it’s the Wakandan State.
Sadly, if there were a state or country like Wakanda uninhabited and awaiting the return of its lost sons and daughters of the Atlantic Slave Trade, it wouldn’t last very long at all and it wouldn’t look anything like the image we hold dear. If Afro Americans in Chicago were uprooted and transplanted there today, in very short order Wakanda would become a mirrored image of the Chicago we see today, at least like the areas we heavily influence.
A dysfunctional family living in a tenement slum would still be a dysfunctional family living in a mansion. Unless there is a conscious effort to correct the behavior that caused the dysfunction that dysfunction will follow you wherever you go and will have a devastating affect on your surroundings wherever that may be.
Although we are part of a community we live and operate within that community as individuals and groups that are separate and apart from one another. We behave as if the things that are happening around us, the killings, the car jackings, the rapes, the robberies, the failure of our institutions, the decaying of our communities, the economic distress, etc, are happening in a vacuum, entirely separate from us. But nothing and I do mean nothing could be further from the truth. We are so detached from one another, our community, our institutions and our common good that the carnage we’re witnessing is neither surprising nor unpredictable.
This dissociation from the people, institutions and businesses that are essential to our welfare render us unable to make the connection between what we do and what others do that contribute to the success or failure of the aforementioned other than by the insufficient vote. But beyond that we don’t recognize the broader responsibilities we have to one another and our common good. The carnage that we’re witnessing in and to our community is however an expected byproduct of this disconnection, mis-leadership and the misguided political stunts by the Black establishment. They put the cart before the horse with the horse facing backwards. This is of course the antithesis of the Wakandan state and the manifestation of our dysfunction.
When the establishment is the problem the established or traditional approach will not only fail to successfully address the problem it will in fact only reinforce it. We get so entrenched in tradition that tradition rather than truth becomes the determining factor of established behavior. The spirit of truth gets lost in tradition which progressively becomes more skewed over time and the letter of the law rather than the spirit becomes the principal focus that governs behavior. The effect of this dynamic is a form of truth that lacks sustenance and substantive value. Leaving only the value of its aesthetic appeal which of course is an insufficient substitute for those seeking relief by its use. Sounds good, looks better, still useless but we gotta do something so let’s do it anyway.
Too many people in our community think that a little of something is better than a lot of nothing. Meaning it’s better to do something than nothing. But often it’s actually better to do nothing than to just do anything. Especially if that anything augments the problem, which, more times than not, it has done exactly that.
We are where we are today because we reject the responsibilities that come with where we want to be. But where we want to be starts where we are today with those responsibilities minus the dysfunction. It’s a conundrum to be sure but if Wakanda would become a mirrored image of the areas in Chicago we heavily influence then the journey to Wakanda starts here in Chicago by adjusting that image. Can you dig that?
Interests Over Party and Personality, ALWAYS!
Walter Mitchell Jr.