Conservative activist and radio talk show host Ben Shapiro doesn't think Black people should be excited about "Black Panther" because slaves were already emancipated, Barack Obama served as president for two terms and Halle Berry starred in "Catwoman."
Saying the hype over "Black Panther" is "incredibly stupid" and an example of "identity politics," Shapiro went on a long sarcastic rant on his Facebook live podcast:
"This is the most important moment in Black American history. Not Martin Luther King, not Frederick Douglass, not the Civil War, not the end of Jim Crow — none of that — not Brown v. Board, the most important thing is that Chadwick Boseman puts claws on his hands and a mask on his face and runs around jumping off cars in CGI fashion."
According to Shapiro, it's stupid that Black parents had to wait until "Black Panther" to tell their children they can grow up to be anything. Shapiro compared it to his own Jewish heritage and noted that he had to explain to his daughter that there has never been a Jewish president.
He also said that Black people were proven wrong when Obama was elected president because they still complained about racism:
"We heard this about Barack Obama when he was elected, too. 'Now that Obama has been president, Black Americans will feel like they too can be presidents. It's a transformative moment.' Yet, all we hear now is that America is deeply racist and that Black people are still systemically discriminated against and that Black people are still victims in America society. So, it turns out it didn't mean anything."
Shapiro failed to note that Obama's presidency proved that racism still exists in America, though, as Obama and his family were often the targets — whether it was other politicians (such as an elected official who emailed photos likening Obama to a monkey; Iowa Congressman Steve King calling him "very, very urban," "un-American" and other things; and a county director and mayor calling former First Lady Michelle Obama an "ape in heels"), media figures (including President Donald Trump prior to his entrance into politics, who frequently pushed the "birther" movement, and Fox News' Sean Hannity getting excited over the prospect of shipping Obama to Kenya), or just every day citizens (like the commenters on a Fox News article who called Obama's daughter Malia an "ape," a "monkey" and racial slurs and said they hope she dies of AIDS).
But that's neither here nor there, according to Shapiro. Plus, Black people already had "Catwoman," starring Halle Berry, and "Blade," starring Wesley Snipes and N'Bushe Wright.
"Black Panther" is breaking a lot of barriers, though, so its significance should not be understated. It is the first Marvel film with a Black director, Ryan Coogler. And it features a predominantly Black cast. Social media has been abuzz with the movie's upcoming release, tweeting with the hashtag #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe to share why it's so important.
"Black Panther" will be in theaters nationwide on Feb. 16.