There is a lake, and a town in northeastern Illinois named, Wauconda. So, before I saw the comic book and now the movie fictional country of Wakanda, my first reaction to hearing that name was, “they made a movie about Lake Wauconda?”
Don’t read comic books anymore, haven’t for a long, long time. So, the whole realm of Black Panther, and Wakanda, and mysterious space elements, and such was unknown to me.
Our family would go to Lake Wauconda in the summers, to spend a day messing about in water, to cool off, and for, “family time.” Nice place, a bit crowded, and as I recall we stopped going when the number of black folk, “got too much,” for my parents.
Like all Americans, I was raised with racism. Like a growing number of Americans, I learned a long time ago that it sucked. It took years to unlearn racism, and to learn to be an ally to people of color.
Not patting myself on the back for that. It’s just that I learned the hard way to be a better person, a decent human being, and to actively set aside privilege in order to try in any little way possible to make the world a better place for all of humanity.
Looking forward to finally get to see, “Black Panther.” As time goes on, it’s harder to avoid spoilers. We plan to see it in the few days. It’s running for three weeks here in our little mountain town, and we’re fortunate to have an affordable theater to watch first-run films here.
I’ve seen the news about people around the world getting tremendously excited and inspired by, “Black Panther.” My hopes are that this is more than just a, “black superhero movie.” My hopes are that more and more young people of color take up their cameras, write their stories, and film tales that show the world their lived truth, their actual experiences. Yes, this has been happening. We humans need more.
And, while I am very much aware of the realities of intersectionality, today I’m sticking with racism and how the myriad cracks in the wall of race-based bigotry keep widening even as the edifice of racism appears stronger than ever. “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” said Mr. Lincoln. Today, we see just how fragile is our increasingly divided society and nation. Perhaps it does need to come crashing down so we can continue to build a healthier, human-based, earth-based, spirit-centered society that embraces every bit of its diversity, its intersectionality, its, “gumbo yaya,” reality.
Luccia Jalila Malika
Silver City, New Mexico
Feb. 22, 2018
-Gumbo yaya: a term used by a study group in my first doctoral program to describe a society in which there are many different ingredients, or types of people, but it is no homogenous. Each difference adds to the complexity and flavor. Each difference enhances the whole. This was offered by them vis-a-vis the, “melting pot,” that American society used to cherish; with everyone coming here from elsewhere losing their heritage to embrace a sameness. We are a gumbo yaya culture, and this is our strength, our beauty, and our future.