Wakanda Forever!

Iman Baber

If you could choose any fictional place to live, where would you go?

Now, fangirl me would totally want to live somewhere like Hogwarts or Avengers Tower. I mean, how awesome would it be to be a superhero or possess magical abilities?

But after serious thought about this question, I decided that if I had to choose somewhere to live and build a life, I would choose Wakanda.

Firstly, because of the awesome tech. Second, battle rhinos.

Third, no discrimination of any sort.

Third, no discrimination of any sort.”

Here’s what I mean.

In America, we’re used to seeing the age-old trope of strong men surrounding a weak, feeble female. She’s helpless and dependent on her male counterparts for basically everything. We are also constantly cursed with stereotypes, racism and a plethora of other issues.

But not in Wakanda.

T’Challa, a.k.a the Black Panther, is surrounded by strong females who he values and trusts. These women, the Dora Milaje, Okoye, Shuri, and Ramonda, not only counsel and advise him, they also actively criticize his mistakes, something rarely seen in our media. Even Nakia, who is the hero’s love interest, is a skilled spy and warrior with whom Queen Ramonda trusts her and Shuri’s life.

Shuri is the teenage girl who is the genius behind all of the advanced tech which powers the nation. Now in America, it would be unthinkable for a teenager, let alone a female, to be at the head of technology. It would be unthinkable for her to be at the head of anything, really. But Shuri is encouraged to pursue her dreams. Not only that, every Wakandan has their own unique style, ambitions, and opinions, and none are discriminated against. The only people who ever question this culture are Agent Ross and Killmonger, both outsiders and unaccustomed to the cultural norms of Wakandan society.

I just realized how messed up that last sentence is.

They are not used to a society where everyone is equal.

And they are Americans.

They are not used to a society where everyone is equal. And they are Americans.”

I wish America was more like Wakanda.

America is meant to be the golden standard for countries, a land where anyone can succeed and build a good life through hard work. Here, in this land, all its people are free from prejudice and oppression, each endowed to their unalienable rights.

But that is not the America we see.

We see children being shot dead in their classes.

We see rising hate between the different ethnic and racial groups.

We see a racist and bigoted man sitting in the Oval Office.

We see women being told that ‘they asked for it’ after an assault, and male victims being completely ignored.

Ever since the election of President Donald Trump, tensions in the country just exploded. I thought that the President brought this, a side effect of his empty rhetoric and hateful speech. But, I realized that this hate was always here. All these small emotions, the grudges, the losses, these opinions, were simply simmering under the lid. Donald Trump just turned the heat up and took off the lid. He is not a bringer of hate, rather a product of it.

He is not a bringer of hate, rather a product of it.”

I always had this perfect image of America. A place where I was promised opportunity and freedom. A safe place. But each and every day, a portion of that image dies with a headline. A photo. A statement. A gesture. Each perfect fantasy ripped away to reveal an ugly truth.

Hate that I once thought never existed now boils before my eyes. Sexism that I once thought was a thing of the past, is now something I must prepare myself to face.

My parents often remind me to be strong and don’t let anyone degrade you.

As a Muslim female, I know how hard the coming years will be for me. I have to be prepared to answer questions, and defend myself and others in the most unexpected of places.

But that’s not a future I want.

I want a future where my sister and I don’t have to be afraid for walking out on the street alone. I want a future where I can choose to wear bold makeup one day and go makeup free the next and not be scrutinized for it. I want a future where I can wear anything from my traditional cultural clothing to jeans and a shirt and not have to be in fear of disrespectful comments. I want a future where I live my life with respect for and from my fellow citizens.

And I want this future for everyone.

Today, it is hard to express your opinion without being brutally bashed. It is this violent bullying between the two political groups that is not going to get us anywhere, and I believe that this is one of the biggest faults on both sides of the political spectrum. Liberals and Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, both accuse each other of being closed-minded to the other side’s views, and many of us will agree that this is true.

If we really want to see progress in our country, we must be open to the other side, no matter how frustrating or infuriating. As someone with liberal political views, I don’t hate conservatives. I believe that they are crucial to politics and the functioning of our government. Conservatives represent the traditions, reminding us the base values that we as Americans hold dear. Liberals push for the future, innovating new ways to reinvent society. Both are crucial, and both are needed in balance.

Conservatives represent the traditions, reminding us the base values that we as Americans hold dear. Liberals push for the future, innovating new ways to reinvent society. Both are crucial, and both are needed in balance.”

So, politicians, if you truly want to make this a great country, please try to ease the political tensions and rid your party of utter hatred. And please, don’t try to bash your opinion on the other side. I understand the frustration that leads to this, and for the longest time viewed it as the correct way to deal with opinions that I viewed as harmful. But it has never worked, and never will. Instead, open a reasonable and respectful conversation that is thought provoking and leads to productive results.

Or else I’m moving to Wakanda.