7 July. Black Panther & “Why Ta-Nehisi Coats is Hopeful”

Header Image:The cover to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther (Marvel) Marvel comics

For Your Consideration:

There’s no video today, but you may want to consider the following as you draft your New Future & complete the World Building Worksheet:
  • 1. Wakanda is a utopia that solves for the problem of white supremacy and colonialism that has posed a threat to the continued existence of BIPOC since at least the 15th century. What elements of Wakandan society change/flourish in the absence of white supremacy?
  • 2.How does vibranium solve the problems of lack of sustainable energy production in Wakanda and how does that solution ripple out to effect social relations, government policy, technology, etc.? Put another way, how might their art and architecture also depend on energy solutions?
  • 3.Who gets to live in Wakanda? Who does not get to live in Wakanda? Who decides? How does this question motivate the plot and is it ultimately resolved?
  • 4. As you work to redress threats to life in your New Futures, consider the way the BLM protests that are responding to the death of Black Americans such as Georgie Floyd, show, as Coates explains, “to a majority of black people in this country, the police are illegitimate. They’re not seen as a force that necessarily causes violent crime to decline” (par. 10). In addition to laws and law enforcement, how does your New Future draw on education, social relations, or identity to ensure your vision can be implemented?
  • 5. Finally, you might want to consider the concept of the “neighbor mindset” for you Future. As Ezra Klein explains of GA police officer Patrick Skinner, “He calls everybody he’s dealing with neighbors. So I asked him in this interview: What do you mean by that? What is a neighbor mindset? And he says, ‘The neighbor mindset sounds so cheesy, but it’s so powerful: We all matter or none of us do. I live here. I can’t know everybody in Savannah. But I call everyone my neighbor because they literally are. And I can’t put my knee on the neck of my neighbor'” (par. 80)

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