Mijoi Ranzy

Nov 12, 2020

6 min read

Week 12

Thursday

As always (on Thursdays), today we wrapped up our conversation on the Black Panther. Sandridge actually had us take a quiz regarding what we thought of the Wakandan society. Here was my take on Wakanda:

The Wakandan society in theory is supposed to mimic a perfect civilization in which its people have a very high standard of living and are generally happy. I think within its borders, the leaders did a pretty good job of achieving this for their people, but in terms of the rest of the world like the quiz had us contemplate, would this fit for every country? At first, I wanted to say that it would, but then I reflected on whether or not I would want to live here myself which shifted my initial opinion to no. Although Wakanda has pretty ideal living conditions, to say that this government structure would work for everyone would be like saying everyone likes vanilla ice cream. Although this particular flavor of ice-cream works for a large portion of people, there are some people that think this particular choice lacks flavor and would prefer something added to it, while there are others that prefer vanilla mixed with a different flavor, and some prefer chocolate instead. This was a silly analogy, but basically, people vary so much that although a large proportion of people would think that Wakanda would be the best place to live in, there are many more in which this society wouldn’t do justice for. Going back to my comment where I mentioned that I personally wouldn’t see Wakanda as the ideal society, it’s because I don’t think the society encourages individualism. There are positive aspects of a culture embracing traditions and acting as a whole, but it can also impose negative assertions on those who differ even slightly from the norm, as seen with the Jabari tribe. I saw this as a toxic trait, and as someone who has difficulty fitting in, this environment could be stressful and maybe even dangerous for me.

Tuesday

Today we started our peer presentations. The first group to go consisted of Miles, Obi, Ethan, and Madison. They decided to focus on the (revolutionary) artist Tupac, and more specifically his song “Changes”. As a preface, I’m not an avid listener of Tupac’s song as they’re not really my style, but I’ve always admired his outspoken nature when it came to issues that faced the black community. Here were the verses from the song this group highlighted:

#1

I see no changes wake up in the morning and I ask myself

Is life worth living should I blast myself?

I’m tired of bein’ poor and even worse I’m black

My stomach hurts so I’m lookin’ for a purse to snatch

Cops give a damn about a negro

Pull the trigger kill a nigga he’s a hero

#2

I see no changes, all I see is racist faces

Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races

We under, I wonder what it takes to make this

One better place, let’s erase the wasted

Take the evil out the people, they’ll be acting right

’Cause both Black and White are smoking crack tonight

#3

We gotta make a change

It’s time for us as a people to start making some changes

Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live

And let’s change the way we treat each other

You see the old way wasn’t working

So it’s on us to do what we gotta do to survive

#4

And still I see no changes

Can’t a brother get a little peace?

It’s war on the streets and a war in the Middle East

Instead of war on poverty

They got a war on drugs so the police can bother me

And I ain’t never did a crime I ain’t have to do

But now I’m back with the facts giving it back to you

Don’t let ’em jack you up, back you up

Crack you up and pimp-smack you up

#5

And only time we chill is when we kill each other

It takes skill to be real, time to heal each other

And although it seems heaven sent

We ain’t ready, to see a black President, uh

It ain’t a secret don’t conceal the fact

The penitentiary’s packed, and it’s filled with blacks

But some things will never change

The second group that presented analyzed my all-time favorite Disney movie, “The Princess and the Frog”. I thought that their analysis of the characters in this movie was very befitting of the themes we go over in our class.

As our semester nears its end, I reflected on this course and how much I learned from it. Doing these journals was indeed struggle, but it helped me to reflect on how I was processing this course. Here was my favorite entry:

On Tuesday, we had class in which we went over the story of course. We actually opened by going into groups and doing a workshop in which we compared characters from our previous reads to Benjamin Otálara. One theme that my group noticed, was the idea of the main character having to go on a long journey as a part of their leadership development (or lack thereof). We saw this with Binti when she left for Oomza, Telemachus traveling to go meet the kings, and Otálara leaving Argentina. This poses the idea that an essential part of one’s journey in leadership, is essentially putting themselves in an uncomfortable circumstance where they are stripped from what they are used to. The importance of this is that we see how someone interacts in a “stressful” situation (even if traveling isn’t all that stressful for some), which is the best way to analyze someone’s leading abilities. Amongst these characters, we saw a range, wherein Binti, the titular character really evolves into this position as we saw her being able to adapt to her circumstance and survive. In Benjamin’s case, we saw how he developed an opportunistic approach to dealing with being in an unfamiliar environment.

This wasn’t necessarily a contrast between the characters we’ve read about, but this story actually reminded me of a mix between the movies “Django Unchained” and “The Great Gatsby”. To be honest, I think the main reason I thought of Django was because of the cowboy theme, but I think this picture also brought a nice contrast to the story we read for this week. For one, in the movie, the mentor-mentee relationship is present, as we see the character Dr. King Schultz take Django in as he bounty hunts. The way Django adapts to this lifestyle can be compared to Otálara’s adaption. Benjamin takes on this grandiose approach and starts to believe that he can out-do his mentor. He also begins to view Bandeira as weak, and eventually subordinate. Django, on the other end, views Dr. Schultz as a true companion. And despite becoming arguably better than him at bounty-hunting, he still respects Schultz’s position and works as a team. The difference between these two characters is a good ground for analysis in terms of what it means to be a mentee.

My reasoning for comparing this story to “The Great Gatsby”, is because I actually saw quite a few similarities between Gatsby and Benjamin. Although Gatsby isn’t the mentee of anyone in the movie, he possesses many traits that we identified with Benjamin Otálara, and they seemed to have similar motives at times. One big theme in The Great Gatsby was the titular character’s association and obsession with status and power. Like Otálara, we often saw Gatsby idling after those he saw with a lot of success, and devising a plan to obtain what they had. For Otálara, it was the horse, the saddle, and the girl, while similarly for Gatsby it was the house, the parties, and once again, the girl. Gatsby also exhibited a lot of narcissistic traits. Ironically, both characters had similar demises as well.

I particularly liked this entry, as I felt it was one of my best analyses. I often find it difficult to make real-world connections with the material we feature in school so I was pretty proud of myself for this input.