I love Killmonger. He is this charismatic figure in the movie with a strong set of ideals and visions that one can’t help but feel compelled to sympathize and understand, even if one doesn’t agree with him. Creating a violent uprising is a compelling but frightening prospect, even if history has shown that sometimes it is the only way. The movie starts with his backstory, his vision takes center stage, and he is the one dissatisfied by the status quo and wishes for change. He’s basically the protagonist of the film and makes its actual protagonist, T’Challa, look lame. Whereas Killmonger wants to free the world, T’Challa is content keeping Wakanda safe, or getting revenge for Wakanda. T’Challa almost seems self-centered in comparison.
Naturally, I found Killmonger’s death highly disturbing. His last words, “Even my ancestors knew that death was better than bondage,” cut right into why; being oppressed leaves with you no choice other than those two. If there’s a third it’s pretty much what Killmonger tries to create — an uprising. Yet the man who strips him of the third is T’Challa, a fellow black.
In this, T’Challa is hardly any different than any oppressor of Killmonger’s. It would’ve been one thing if T’Challa at the very least considered Killmonger’s point of view, but he never does. Instead, he decides that the best thing to do for his fellow blacks is give them education. This tramples everything Killmonger wanted to do and is frankly insulting and nauseating. For one, it carries the implication that black people are not educated. Second of all, it’s even worse when you consider how Killmonger is shown to be both book smart and street smart. A little digging and one would find out that Killmonger did have a very good education — he went to MIT. I am pretty sure that fucking CIA agent actually mentioned this to T’Challa, yet he still believes it will enable blacks to be able to deal with racism, and considering what happened to Killmonger that’s not true at all. Whatever T’Challa is trying to do to cause a revolution… Well, not even the film can support.