â€œMany parents are split on how Black Pantherâ€™s blackness should figure into their childrenâ€™s relationship to the character.â€
So sayeth The New York Times.
The failing, but widely-circulated newspaper claims Marvelâ€™s Black Panther, set to hit theaters this week, is dividing parents â€œnot of colorâ€ on whether itâ€™s appropriate for their children to dress up as superhero Tâ€™Challa, AKA Black Panther.
In an article initially titled, â€œWhoâ€™s Allowed to Wear a Black Panther Mask?â€ The Times actually explored if white children wearing the fictional characterâ€™s costume at worst â€œcould be perceived as an unwitting form of cultural appropriation.â€ (The article was later inexplicably re-titled, â€œThe Many Meanings of Black Pantherâ€™s Mask.â€)
Fortunately, media figures and parents interviewed for the piece disagreed white children should be excluded from wearing the costume, however the Timesâ€™ race-bait attempts are transparent.
â€œWhen I look at it, I see no reason why a kid whoâ€™s not black canâ€™t dress like Black Panther,â€ Vimeo HR Director Katrina Jones told the Times. Just like our kid whoâ€™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.â€
Another parent admitted it was necessary â€œfor a white kid to beâ€¦ open and judge based on the characterâ€™s story and the personality and history.â€
Even Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman claimed heâ€™s â€œthrilled at the prospect of children, black and white, dressing up as the title character,â€ saying it represents a â€œcrossover.â€
Meanwhile, website i09 senior editor Evan Narcisse said itâ€™s difficult to talk about the superhero to his 7-year-old daughter without delving into racism, but agreed, â€œYou want that white kid to be able to think that he can dress up in a Black Panther costume, because, to that kid, thereâ€™s no difference between Captain America and Black Panther.â€
â€” NYT Styles (@NYTStyles) February 13, 2018
One â€œexpertâ€ interviewed, however, claimed white people shouldnâ€™t ignore the element of race because they have â€œprivilege.â€
â€œWhite 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 donâ€™t,â€ Texas Womanâ€™s University associate professor Brigitte Vittrup told The Times.
In the end, sanity almost appears to prevail as the author timidly admits â€œto wear [Black Pantherâ€™s] mask isnâ€™t quite the same as wearing blackface.â€
Donâ€™t tell The Times, but white children are modeling Black Panther costumes over at Walmart.com. Oh the humanity!