How Black Panther changed my view on teaching culture

There was a time when I thought the purpose of teaching was making it through the year. To cover all the content by June was an accomplishment. 

Over the years this view has changed and I began to feel as if something was missing from my curriculum. 

Than BAM! I saw the movie, Black Panther. I have to admit, I am not the biggest marvel fan (I am more of a batgirl). But when I was invited to see the film, I thought, what is the worst that could happen? 

I enjoyed the movie. 

African culture was portrayed not in a stereotypical way that made me cringe, but in a respectful way that showed the beauty of African culture.

This bliss was sadly interrupted during the scene at the waterfall before the fight for the throne between M’Baku and T’Challa. The leaders of each group began talking, and the leader who was wearing green had a large green disk in his mouth. You can click on the link to see the clip, it is within the first 20 seconds.

Immediately, the entire movie theater, including the person who invited me cringed and laughed at the man’s appearance. 

I looked around and was saddened by this reaction of the crowd. I have seen many crazy things in superhero movies, such as missing and deformed body parts, and horrible customs and never seen this type of reaction. 

To see and hear this reaction to this man’s disk which probably signifies he is in important member of society got me thinking… 

Why is their such a negative reaction to other cultures? 

Not just African culture, but any culture we are unfamiliar with. As a society, it has been ok to make fun of people, places, and things just because we don’t understand.

After this day, I knew to solve this problem, I had to show students different cultures in my classroom.

I currently teach civics, so I can’t focus on world cultures, but I do take time to celebrate culture months in the classrooms. 

I especially love recognizing Hispanic American month and black history month in the classroom. 

That is why I created the culture activity pack to include activities not only for the heritage months. 

If you are apart of the free resource library you have access to this pack. 

If you want to access the pack, join the free resource library today!

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