The topic on Black Panther has taught me so many things. One such significant takeaway for me, is how black people and their way of life has been represented beautifully in the movie. While it is quite common to showcase diversity in films, many a time, they fail to enlighten the audience with authentic and accurate information. This in turn leads to wrong representation of the subject. Black Panther is a welcome change!
Misrepresentation of facts has a negative impact. Lifestyles and cultures of people from across the world have significant influence even on many in the remotest parts of the world. An erroneous representation of cultures can create very vague and wrong prejudices of these cultures or lifestyles.
In my own experience, I have been taken aback and shocked when people of foreign origin with whom I come into contact, voice their mind about my country, India. It has always been about Biriyani, Curry, Snake Charmers, Elephants or Taj Mahal. While some are close to correct observations, many are not. For example, Biriyani wasn’t even invented in India, yet it is known “Indian” among many foreigners. India is so much more than just food and mysticism! This is possibly because India is seen through the eyes of someone, be it a movie, a book or a documentary, that fails to portray accurate and authentic information about its culture and lifestyle.
Another way in which misrepresentation takes place is through cultural appropriation. For example, wearing a “Bindi” on the forehead of a women is a very auspicious part of Indian culture. Without knowing this, many women around the world have started to wear it as a piece of fashion, without really understanding its deep significance. I am a girl from South India and have travelled to many places around the world and saw this with my own eyes. This is just one small personal example that comes to my mind. Usually, small things like these end up misrepresenting the entire culture.
I therefore feel that representation of a culture through any medium, be it books, movies of even cultural events should research deeper and present authentic information. It is also my duty and everyone's, as an individual and community to present my/our culture to the outside word in the correct way.
I can be the Brand Ambassador of my culture.