Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships because they knew death was better than bondage.
I have seen this Erik Killmonger quote from Black Panther pop up on my various timelines and I find it to be, at best, disingenuous. Firstly because if any of you had to choose between suicide or being a slave you would choose slave. I say this not as a criticism but as a matter of fact. This quote isn’t insinuating a fight for freedom. It’s not saying it is better to die for liberation rather than be a slave. It instead says that it is better to accept defeat and die. This is the quote you choose as we celebrate black heroes.
Every Black hero you hold up during Black History Month fought for some sort of freedom and liberation. But you believe it better to jump from the boat and die? You teach your children about Harriett and Nat. Should they have killed themselves instead? It is very easy to sound revolutionary spouting platitudes that you will never have to live up to as you stand on the shoulders of those who did.
“WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE SLAVES YOU COULD NOT KILL” What happened to that sentiment?
This is a cool quote from a spectacular movie. That’s it. It’s not a mantra. It, once dissected, isn’t even powerful or motivational.
It is an acknowledgement of the sadness and disparity that comes with victimhood. And make no mistake, we are and were victims. But history has shown that we are so much more because we weren’t willing to die.
Words mean things, and the reality is these words have never been us