Author Topic: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"  (Read 24380 times)

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2008, 06:47:58 am »
... and as to the United States of America being the World's Policeman ... oh man, if only we had infinite resources and manpower ... that would be just swell!  The world would be a much better place.   ;)

Hmmmm ... if only we had superheroes ...
I know you say this jokingly, but I do think that is the heart of the matter. Many of those who support the neo-con perspective say the same thing. They honestly think who better than the USA to lead the way. Well, aside from the obvious fact that we can't afford it, IAWWS, it's still a bad idea.

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Offline Open palm

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2008, 10:00:11 pm »
Sticking to just content, I was disturbed that Iron Man and the Avengers would obliterate Atlantis. At the moment, the Sub-Mariner destroyed it himself and scattered his people around the world. But to think that it be destroyed by outsiders is a disturbing idea. I don't think the surface world has ever cared about Atlantis as a people or their views on the environment.

Lately, much of Marvel's major conflicts swings in favor of dividing peoples instead of getting along with them. I wonder, what would happen if most of the exotic areas just moved to an alternate Earth? Atlantis and its people, the Moon's Blue Area with the Inhumans, Monster Island, the Savage Land, & new Asgard - what if they all moved to a parallel Earth? Would the Earthlings of 616 even care or would they be more relieved that their world has become more mundane? Does such a partition help anybody?
Do you prefer a hero who will confirm your deepest fears? Or a hero who will inspire faith in humanity and goodness?

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2008, 11:39:40 pm »
Nothing makes you more attractive than dumping someone.  So, if all those people and places left, everybody would be trying to go where they go.

Offline Open palm

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2008, 12:58:53 am »
Nothing makes you more attractive than dumping someone.  So, if all those people and places left, everybody would be trying to go where they go.

Wow, I actually thought about that too. But my idea was it would be influenced by villains, like Loki (who'd be left behind), who want to seek out the missing lands.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2008, 08:20:41 am by Open palm »
Do you prefer a hero who will confirm your deepest fears? Or a hero who will inspire faith in humanity and goodness?

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2008, 06:25:10 am »
Sticking to just content, I was disturbed that Iron Man and the Avengers would obliterate Atlantis. At the moment, the Sub-Mariner destroyed it himself and scattered his people around the world. But to think that it be destroyed by outsiders is a disturbing idea. I don't think the surface world has ever cared about Atlantis as a people or their views on the environment.

Lately, much of Marvel's major conflicts swings in favor of dividing peoples instead of getting along with them.

hmm, which goes right along with the Skrull Invasion.  Makes you wonder if the last 5 years of Marvel have been one big storyline.


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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2008, 08:54:38 am »
i think it has...and I think Bendis is gonna be the big cheese after Queseda steps down.
quote it for history if u must.
that's guess.

hmm... what would happen if a BLACK man ran marvel or DC?
bigger than obama for president wouldn't it?


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Offline JLI Jesse

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2008, 11:35:30 am »
Would the Earthlings of 616 even care or would they be more relieved that their world has become more mundane? Does such a partition help anybody?

Well, I'd imagine they'd be relieved.   There is is enough to worry about with the Skrulls, so not having to worry about a "war on the surface dwellers" would be nice.

michaelintp

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2008, 08:21:16 am »
Well, there probably were African slave-traders who found themselves on the receiving end unexpectedly, but a lot of the work of capturing slaves was 'sub-contracted' to Africans. Of course, I think the responsibility lies with those creating the demand, especially with the supply-belt way that they demanded fresh slaves. For a comparison, it's well known that in Nazi Concentration camps, some inmates were given positions of authority over others, but that doesn't make them somehow complicit in what was done there, IMO.

While Wise Son's post was in the Obama thread, I think the discussion of this issue is more appropriately placed here, as here it is not really a digression.  So here goes.

Clearly you are right that if there had not been such an intense "demand" for slaves, that that slave-traders would not have had the economic incentive to capture them.  So in that respect the fault definitely falls with those who allowed the "demand" to exist, by not abolishing slavery.

On your second point, regarding "sub-contracting" the capture of slaves to Africans (and comparing it to inmates in concentration camps who acted as guards).  The idea of "compelled" sub-contracting was certainly portrayed in the Black Panther Annual.  The Europeans were clearly very brutal in Africa.  But is that the complete picture?  In what ways did slavery exist in Africa prior to the arrival of the Europeans?  Didn't a slave trade of some sort exist in Africa prior to the domination of Africa by the Europeans?  Prior to the major rise in the Western slave trade, what did it primarily comprise, who were the main perpetrators, and who were the main victims?  When the Europeans came, to what extent did they take advantage of a situtation that was already in Africa, and to what extent did they create a whole new industry? One would think to some large extent the latter, as they dramatically increased the demand and directly intervened to increase the supply.  But did existing African structures of slave-capture just increase to satisfy that demand, or did something new, and never before seen in Africa arise, or was it some combination of the two?  Finally, any sense of the percentage of African slave capturers who were actually coerced, and how many voluntarily participated for their own enrichment?  Or did they really have no choice?  While there were instances of coerced slave-capture, is the comparison to prisoners in concentration camps who were coerced to act as guards the best analogy?  In some cases, but not in others?  As you see, I'm just asking a lot of questions here.  Not expressing any viewpoint, because I don't know enough to really express a viewpoint.  I bet there are people of this forum who have studied the matter in depth who can provide more historical background.

Wise Son drew an analogy to the Holocaust.  A thought occurred to me.  Prior to WWII, there had been pogroms in Europe.  But by sheer magnitude the Nazi death machine of assembly-line killing created something entirely new, entirely horrible, for European Jews to suffer.  Does this analogy apply to slavery in Africa and the slave trade?  But then I also think of what is happening in Africa today, or of the Rwandan genocide done "the old fashioned way" and wonder about the magnitude of oppression and subjugation of others into slavery and mass-killing in Africa prior to the arrival of the Europeans.  Anyone with expertise in African history could address these questions, I'm sure.  Of course, Africa is a big continent, and it may have varied from place to place.

Hmmmmm ..... might this have also been part of the "agenda" of Reginald Hudlin, in writing his storyline?  To get people to think about these issues?

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2008, 08:27:58 am »


Wise Son drew an analogy to the Holocaust.  A thought occurred to me.  Prior to WWII, there had been pogroms in Europe.  But by sheer magnitude the Nazi death machine of assembly-line killing created something entirely new, entirely horrible, for European Jews to suffer.  Does this analogy apply to slavery in Africa and the slave trade? 

Hmmmmm ..... might this have also been part of the "agenda" of Reginald Hudlin, in writing his storyline?  To get people to think about these issues?

Answer to first question:  Yes.

Answer to second question:  Yes.

Offline Wise Son

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2008, 08:44:50 am »
Reggie pretty succinctly covered some points there. My knowledge of pre-European African slavery isn't encyclopaedic, but what answer I can give are:
In what ways did slavery exist in Africa prior to the arrival of the Europeans?  Didn't a slave trade of some sort exist in Africa prior to the domination of Africa by the Europeans?  Prior to the major rise in the Western slave trade, what did it primarily comprise, who were the main perpetrators, and who were the main victims? 
It did exist, but I understand it to have been in terms of something that was the consequence of your tribe losing out when it came into conflict with another, or if a debt was owed and could not be paid. It is comparable, I think, to Roman or Greek style slavery, and one of the major shifts brought about under the quasi-industrialised European system was that slaves went from being subordinate to being chattel. Rather than being a punishment or penalty, slavery became the most that a captured African could ever aspire to.
When the Europeans came, to what extent did they take advantage of a situtation that was already in Africa, and to what extent did they create a whole new industry? One would think to some large extent the latter, as they dramatically increased the demand and directly intervened to increase the supply.
I think they changed the nature of the industry. Using an contemporary comparison, it seems like the difference between what the Janjaweed in Sudan would be capable of alone, and what they're capable of when the state and miltary are backing them. Again, this isn't my area of expertise, and as you've said, there's definitely at least one or two people on here who can give a more authoritative answer.

But still, it's cool that the Annual's got these subjects under discussion, and having people with differing viewpoints like yourself is something that can help drive thatr discussion, so thanks Mike and Reggie. ;D

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michaelintp

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2008, 08:16:04 pm »
I found a site that gives a very quick thumbnail sketch of slavery in Africa before and after the European slave trade. 

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=64

Here is a sample of the info (basic info that many of you must know, but frankly I had not studied this since high school and that was a long time ago):

Slavery existed in Africa before the arrival of Europeans--as did a slave trade that exported a small number of sub-Saharan Africans to North Africa, the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf. But this system of slavery differed from the plantation slavery that developed in the New World.

Hereditary slavery, extending over several generations, was rare. Most slaves in Africa were female. Women were preferred because they bore children and because they performed most field labor. Slavery in early sub-Saharan Africa took a variety of forms.
 
Why was Africa so vulnerable to the slave trade? Because of West and Central Africa's political fragmentation. Many of the region's larger political units--such as Ghana and Mali--had declined, and the absence of strong, stable political units made it more difficult to resist the slave trade. [i.e. there was no Wakanda]

Many Americans mistakenly believe that most slaves were captured by Europeans who landed on the African coast and captured or ambushed people. [Such a scene of Europeans capturing Africans was portrayed in the BP Annual, but this summary states this was not the primary source of slaves]. It is important to understand that Europeans were incapable, on their own, of kidnapping 20 million Africans. ...  Professional slave traders ... set up bases along the west African coast where they purchased slaves from Africans in exchange for firearms and other goods.

Between 10 and 16 million Africans were forcibly transported across the Atlantic between 1500 and 1900. But this figure grossly understates the actual number of Africans enslaved, killed, or displaced as a result of the slave trade. At least 2 million Africans--10 to 15 percent--died during the infamous "Middle Passage" across the Atlantic. Another 15 to 30 percent died during the march to or confinement along the coast. Altogether then, for every 100 slaves who reached the New World, 40 died in Africa or during the Middle Passage.

My comments:   What it seems to come down to is greed and a lust for power.  As Reginald confirmed in his own view, the magnitude of the enterprise substantially changed what existed before, creating something horrible beyond imagination. 

Demand for slaves driven by economic considerations in the West, and demand for Western goods on the part of those in positions of power in Africa.  Fragmented African governments seeking to gain advantage over their rivals probably increased their demand for weapons and food.  On the part of the slave traders, a brutal insensitivity to the suffering of fellow human beings, and the denial that the slaves were fellow human beings via the convenient salve of racism.

The thumbnail sketch didn't discuss European imperialists coercing African rulers to cooperate ... though I would not be surprised if this took place.  Don't know if this significantly affected the total magnitude of the slave trade, or just hit the trade on the margins.  Maybe someone here knows. [That theme was, after all, touched upon in the BP Annual as well].

Offline Wise Son

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2008, 08:15:08 am »
Thanks for the research Mike. True, the annual showed Africans acting as a proxy army for the Europeans, but not as slave-catchers.

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wgreason

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2008, 01:50:32 pm »

Walter Rodney's "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa" corrects the assumptions of the Cecil Rhodes' school of thought.

http://www.amazon.com/Europe-Underdeveloped-Africa-Walter-Rodney/dp/0882580965/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207169026&sr=1-1

John Thornton's "Africa and Africans in the Making of the Modern World" offer a compelling counterargument to Rodney.

http://www.amazon.com/Africans-Atlantic-1400-1800-Studies-Comparative/dp/0521627249/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207169081&sr=1-1


for my two cents, it is exceedingly difficult to discuss an single "Africa" before 1450 ... it is an imagined construct dating back to Roman rivalries with Carthage -- ultimately producing the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French, and English monolithic views of "Africans".

similarly, one should be cautious in discussing the relative "fragmentation" of Western Africa between 1450 and 1650 when there were functioning nations and empires that were economically and militarily superior to European entities.

After 1650, however, Rodney's thesis becomes increasingly persuasive ... resulting in the colonial exploitation that follows European abolitionism in the mid-19th century.

Mr. Hudlin deserves a great deal of credit for engaging such a complex history with any sensitivity to the issues Africana Studies have raised over the last forty years.  It would be a shame (and, ultimately, a falsehood) to reduce the discussion to "well, Africans share in the blame for slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade."

...re-lurking...

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2008, 06:53:46 am »
...re-lurking...
And why is that? The lurking, I mean. Especially busy lately? I understand but I hope you'll find some time to grace us with your contributions soon. Peace, brother.
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Re: BP Annual #1: Portrayal of America in "Black to the Future"
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2008, 02:02:49 pm »

Just finished over a year's work on a major conference hosted at my campus -- run solely by 8 students and me -- so my lurking is nearing its end.

Only two more major presentations in the next two weeks, one in DC and the other outside Pittsburgh, and I'm back to the normal schedule.

I think I'll incorporate the BP Annual into my final classes just so I can give myself a little treat for all of my hard work!  :D