Sen. Kamala Harris quoted Black Panther star Danai Gurira in saying that Wakanda, the franchise’s fictional African homeland, offers a model for a modern progressive utopia.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) 10 December 2018
”We know that if we want to live in a world that looks more like Wakanda, the first step is you invest in some women and girls,” Danai said last week in “Woman in Entertainment,” an annual gala organized by The Hollywood Reporter, as she unveiled the the Disney-funded Black Panther scholarship for young women.
But… Going by the Oscar-nominated movie’s own plot, Wakanda is a secretive, lush land running on futuristic technology and rife with priceless natural resources. It is also a militant, xenophobic, tribalistic and male-led monarchy, in which leadership is decided through masculinity-boasting mortal combats. Not exactly the liberal fantasyland.
Harris may have missed the irony, but her followers did not.
A racially homogeneous monarchy with closed borders? No thanks
— John (@TheOrangeFriend) 11 December 2018
Many noted that Wakanda is not only suspicious of outsiders, but is in fact protected by a border wall, a defensive measure Harris quite objects to in real life.
WAKANDA HAD A WALL TO KEEP FOREIGNERS OUT
— Norm DePlume (@realnormdeplume) 11 December 2018
One user even mused, “Is Kamala part of the alt right?”
Wakanda is an Ethnostate surrounded by a wall, is Kamala part of the alt right?
— The New(ish) Deal (@CouldYouNotMan) 11 December 2018
Some pointed that not unlike other superpowers, Wakanda has been quite comfortable protecting its technological edge while showing little generosity to its impoverished neighbors. Not quite the Harris view on the duty of powerful nations.
You mean a tiny monarchic state with vast wealth and technological knowledge that isn’t shared with the dozens of poor nations that surround it?
— Ian Haworth (@ighaworth) 10 December 2018
At least one user also bothered to remind that according to the movie’s own lore, Wakanda’s success had little to do with its social engineering and everything to do with the lottery of fate. (While on a roll, the same user also elaborated why the Harry Potter universe is even more absurd than Wakanda.)
Now, for the record, @KamalaHarris, was Wakanda’s success do to completely random deposits of miracle meteorites from space…or investing in women and girls? If that rock had crashed in North America…you’d have Iron Man with slightly stronger armor, and Wakanda wouldn’t exist.
— ThesaurusBorealis49 (@TBorealis49) 11 December 2018
Given that, one user added, the United States might need to follow a few additional steps before really becoming Wakanda.
That and discover a fictional element with magical properties that only exists in one place. And have the only benevolent monarchy ever. So, short list.
— RightMakesRight (@RightMakesRight) 11 December 2018
And then there were those who simply cringed at yet another unholy conflation of real-world leaders and pop culture.
When a senator wants to live in a fantasy world….. pic.twitter.com/nc7lAdEocX
— Emeraldwolf (@Emeraldwolf4) 11 December 2018
Cover image: Sen. Kamala Harris, Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther.