We’ve already established the fact that I love BLACK PANTHER. I’ve seen it twice so far. I keep asking people if they’ve seen it yet and encouraging them to do so! There is so much to love in this movie, and I think it is a must see for everyone! Its valuable lessons on morals, values and ethics make it an excellent teaching tool.
Teaching Morals, Values and Ethics with Black Panther
It’s not just that BLACK PANTHER has a great storyline (it does!), but it teaches such valuable lessons. It has tons of girl power, so I think girls should especially be encouraged to see it. I really think this movie has the potential to be used in classrooms across America. Yes, it is a Marvel movie, so it’s PG13. But it is totally appropriate for junior high and high school classes.
Too often, “academics” are put ahead of subjects that matter most. Our schools can and should weave morals, values and ethics into all subjects. As I watched this film, I could see how Nakia and Erik Killmonger basically had the same idea about what Wakanda’s knowledge and technology could offer the world. It’s the way they wanted to use these things that differed.
Neither of them believe that Wakanda should stay hidden. Nakia encourages T’Challa to use what Wakanda has to make the world a better place. Killmonger wants to use these same things to conquer the world and offer the technology only to the people who are like him or who have the same ideas. T’Challa knows Wakanda could help the world, but he’s unsure of how to go about helping the rest of the world while still protecting Wakanda.
This is where lessons about morals, values and ethics come in.
Erik Killmonger’s Values
According to the dictionary, values are “things that have an intrinsic worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor,” or “principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable.” Values are neither good nor bad in and of themselves. Killmonger values Wakanda. That could be a good thing. His values become a bad thing when he places the “value” in Wakanda on what the technology and knowledge can get him. These are worthwhile and desirable things. But using them to conquer and overpower those who don’t possess these things is wrong, and that makes Killmonger the villain in BLACK PANTHER.
Moral values are relative values that protect life and are respectful of the dual life value of self and others. T’Challa is a moral king. He wants to protect the lives of the Wakandans by staying hidden from the world…by letting them believe they are a third world country. His country has been staying safe this way for many years. When morals are functioning correctly, they protect life. But in protecting the lives of the Wakandans, T’Challa is missing the bigger picture. Nakia sees the bigger picture which is where her ethics come in.
Ethics are moral values in action. An ethical person is willing to do the right thing even if it is dangerous. This is Nakia in a nutshell. Her job as a spy puts her in danger all of the time, yet she does it because it is the right thing to do. She values all life, like T’Challa does, but she is willing to risk her safety to make the world a better place. Her ethics are what make T’Challa ready to show the world what Wakanda has to offer them. They may be putting Wakanda at risk (in fact we know they are since part of INFINITY WAR will take place in Wakanda, which probably means Thanos will be there), but now T’Challa realizes he is wrong to keep Wakanda’s gifts to Wakanda alone.
Go see BLACK PANTHER
If you still haven’t gotten to the theatre to see BLACK PANTHER yet, go! Take your kids. Talk to them about these lessons. Show them by your actions that sometimes making ethical decisions is hard, but it is worth it. Let’s make the world a better place together.
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BLACK PANTHER is playing in theatres everywhere now!