“Black Panther” and white audiences

The new Marvel movie “Black Panther” looks great from all the previews. I’m looking forward to it, as are many fans of a good superhero film.

But you watch — as soon as it is released, you’re going to see articles from Hollywood types acting surprised that a film with an almost-entirely black cast is so popular with white audiences as well.


I still remember when Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” was out, and I was reading articles from Hollywood “experts” saying that it was an “urban” film (that’s their code word for “black” — as if there are no white people living in urban areas) and that white audiences couldn’t relate to the film.

As it was, I lived not far from the neighborhood where that movie was filmed. I can guarantee you that I could relate more to the people in that movie than I ever could to some white British aristocrats in 19th century England, yet no one ever says “White people can’t relate to ‘Pride and Prejudice.'”

In any event, what we really want are good movies. I don’t have to be black to enjoy a movie with black characters any more than I have to be Jewish to enjoy a Woody Allen movie or an animal to appreciate “Zootopia” or a hobbit to appreciate “Lord of the Rings.” And I think, despite what Hollywood executives may think, most Americans feel that way.

But just watch out. The articles acting surprised at the film’s success will soon be here.

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