“Many parents are split on how Black Panther’s blackness should figure into their children’s relationship to the character.”
So sayeth The New York Times.
The failing, but widely-circulated newspaper claims Marvel’s Black Panther, set to hit theaters this week, is dividing parents “not of color” on whether it’s appropriate for their children to dress up as superhero T’Challa, AKA Black Panther.
In an article initially titled, “Who’s Allowed to Wear a Black Panther Mask?” The Times actually explored if white children wearing the fictional character’s costume at worst “could be perceived as an unwitting form of cultural appropriation.” (The article was later inexplicably re-titled, “The Many Meanings of Black Panther’s Mask.”)
Fortunately, media figures and parents interviewed for the piece disagreed white children should be excluded from wearing the costume, however the Times’ race-bait attempts are transparent.
“When I look at it, I see no reason why a kid who’s not black can’t dress like Black Panther,” Vimeo HR Director Katrina Jones told the Times. Just like our kid who’s not white dresses up like Captain America. I think the beautiful thing about comics is they do transcend race in a lot of ways.”
Another parent admitted it was necessary “for a white kid to be… open and judge based on the character’s story and the personality and history.”
Even Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman claimed he’s “thrilled at the prospect of children, black and white, dressing up as the title character,” saying it represents a “crossover.”
Meanwhile, website i09 senior editor Evan Narcisse said it’s difficult to talk about the superhero to his 7-year-old daughter without delving into racism, but agreed, “You want that white kid to be able to think that he can dress up in a Black Panther costume, because, to that kid, there’s no difference between Captain America and Black Panther.”
One “expert” interviewed, however, claimed white people shouldn’t ignore the element of race because they have “privilege.”
“White people have the privilege of not constantly being reminded of their race in the United States, where white is the majority, whereas as a black person you don’t,” Texas Woman’s University associate professor Brigitte Vittrup told The Times.
In the end, sanity almost appears to prevail as the author timidly admits “to wear [Black Panther’s] mask isn’t quite the same as wearing blackface.”
Don’t tell The Times, but white children are modeling Black Panther costumes over at Walmart.com. Oh the humanity!