Chadwick Boseman helps stop white people from ruining the Wakanda salute – ANITH
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Chadwick Boseman helps stop white people from ruining the Wakanda salute

Chadwick Boseman helps stop white people from ruining the Wakanda salute

Riddle us this: Why is the idea of a white person loving Black Panther great, while the idea of a white person doing the Wakanda salute sounds not quite right?

Well Saturday Night Live took advantage of having Chadwick Boseman — the king himself — as host to clarify the nuances of loving Black Panther while white: “See the problem is we as black people know that the salute comes from Egyptian kings who were buried right hand over left to clutch the royal scepter.”

Boseman’s character might be right spiritually, but perhaps doesn’t speak for all black people distressed by white fans claiming the salute of a fictional, uncolonized African nation for themselves.

Real to life, the white fans continue to be incensed by the notion that any part of culture is not theirs to own. So Voice of Reason Leslie Jones steps in with a salient and succinct explanation: “We know your history. You don’t give stuff back.”

Still, the black fans consult each other about the politics of appropriation and fans expressing their love through racially questionable gestures. It’s similar to the discussion New York Times editor Kwame Opam had in his exploration of who gets to wear Black Panther costumes

Ultimately the black fans allow it, but only if white people agree to stop appropriating a different part of iconic black culture in exchange. So in summary: white folks get to keep nearly the entirety of mainstream pop culture, the Wakanda salute, and even dabbing. 

But Drake is non-negotiable.

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Anith Gopal
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