Dear Chads and Beckys,
I admit that I have been reluctant to write this letter. It has nothing to do with my dislike for you or your people. In fact, some of my best friends are white. Well ... one of my best friends is white. OK, I’ll be honest, all of my best friends are black, but one of them is kinda light-skinned, and when I was in the 11th grade, I went to a New Edition concert with three Caucasian classmates, so that should count for something.
But my hesitancy in penning this correspondence is based on another fact: I didn’t believe you were real. I didn’t discount your existence the way I don’t believe in unicorns, good cops or Rihanna. (Yeah, I said it. I believe Rih Rih is a highly advanced, computer-generated image based on our collective fantasies. You might think it’s crazy, but I stand by my research.)
When people told me that there were actual individuals upset about the upcoming Marvel movie Black Panther, I thought they were exaggerating or overestimating the number. I suspect there are always a few fringe kooks who share an idiotic ideology.
Kyrie Irving and B.o.B think the Earth is flat. Some people believe that Donald Trump is both stable and a genius. And once, on the dance floor of a crowded nightclub, a woman told me I was handsome and cute. (At least that’s what I think she said, although she may have said, “You’re standing on my foot.” It was pretty crowded and I’d consumed a few beverages. But for the sake of this argument, let’s just say it was the cute thing.) My point here is, sometimes people have wildly diverging opinions.
Just as I was ready to dismiss the notion that there might be more than a handful of people who disliked the notion of a Black Panther movie before they even saw it, someone sent me a transcript of Rush Limbaugh ranting about liberals embracing Black Panther.
I honestly get why Limbaugh was upset. If I were a half-deaf, impotent walrus who had to sit in front of a microphone yelling to white senior citizens who still listen to AM radio while popping Oxycontin like Tic Tacs during commercial breaks, I’d probably be a little jealous of T’Challa, too. Plus, Limbaugh is racist, and the film does have the words “Black” and “Panther” in it, so .... there’s that.
But people kept sending me things. There was a story calling Black Panther “obviously racist,” a Breitbart article that called the comic book “Black Lives Matter-themed,” and that piece where Ben Shapiro crumpled into a rice-paper-thin ball of fuckboy fragility in a nonsensical monologue about how this is the fault of black people, leftists and, of course, Barack Obama.
Still, that’s only three
And then, like a fool, I ventured into the land of white nonsense where coffee machines and Bluetooth speakers somehow have all colluded to form a plot to eradicate the great arrhythmic race: Twitter.
“But it’s Twitter,” I reasoned. White people on Twitter are like the Incredible Hulk when he’s off his meds: They’ll get mad at anything. Then I happened upon this well-reasoned discourse between writer Zack Linly and a random Facebooker:
I can understand why some white people are upset. After all, I distinctly recall how upset black people were about Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, When Harry Met Sally, Twilight, Terminator and The Passion of the Christ (yes, they literally made a movie about Jesus with no black people!).
To be fair, the above-mentioned movies were not comic book movies. Making a film about a superhero from an all-black place is an egregious offense. Especially since Marvel put so much detail into making sure its other superhero movies had diverse casts.
I recall how the white outrage forced Hollywood into casting a South American actress to play Wonder Woman, since she was from a fictional race of Amazonian warriors. (I didn’t Google it, but I’m pretty sure Gal Gadot is from Brazil or somewhere. If she were Israeli or something, it would mean white people didn’t care about the ethnicity of comic book characters until a black one came around and triggered their racist ... you know what? I’m not even going there. She’s gotta be from Mexico or Australia, or wypipo would look very stupid right now.) We really thank you for making sure they include black actors every time they flash back to Superman’s home planet of Krypton.
Plus, I’m probably making up the white outcry when someone floated the idea that Donald Glover might be the next Superman, or Idris Elba could play James Bond. I probably imagined that wypipo were upset about John Boyega playing a Stormtrooper, just like I dreamed about Rihanna or that woman who thought I was handsome. (I’m pretty sure she said “handsome and cute,” not “standing on my foot.” I mean ... I was actually standing on her foot, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Because white people have repeatedly stood up for inclusion and diversity in casting, we would like to admit that this is our fault. Forgive us for being excited that there is finally a movie that caters to our sensibilities without kowtowing to the notion of a white savior.
I tell you what we’ll do. To make this up to you, we promise that we will remain marginalized, mostly ancillary characters in most of the Hollywood blockbusters for the rest of the year. We also swear that we will allow you to win and be nominated for the bulk of Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, Tony Awards, Peabody Awards, Billboard Awards, MTV Awards, America’s Got Talent, spelling bees, luge races, school shootings, mass murders, police-shooting trials, Senate races and rose ceremonies on The Bachelor.
I don’t want there to be any hard feelings. I know that white people have so little to celebrate in America that seeing black people smile, if only for one second, could just be the thing that breaks your brittle little racist hearts.
Your handsome and cute black friend