Star Wars Episode VII: Racism Awakens

by s.brodeur on October 21, 2015 - 9:33pm

Summary

In her article “Racists Urge Boycott of ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Over Black Lead, and Most of Them Love Trump ” posted on The Daily Beast on October 19th, 2015, author Jen Yamato comments on controversial racial issues recently brought forward by the trailer of the upcoming movie “Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens.” Since the cast of the movie was revealed to be racially diverse, a group of people, also seemingly Donald Trump supporters, invaded Twitter, to share their opinion on how the upcoming movie represents a “white genocide”, and attempted to discourage people from going to watch it.

Followers of the #BoycottStarWarsVII trend strongly believe that the franchise belongs to white people only, which is why they believe a black protagonist is a treason to the movies. The author underlines the fact that although the first film predominantly presented white people, Georges Lucas readjusted towards a more ethnically diverse cast for the sequels, therefore dismantling the main argument of the boycott party.

Yamato also points out the irony that only one of the in the 9 main characters, only one is black, and somehow constitutes a piece of “anti-white propaganda.” Unfortunately, the arguments of the opposing party do not end there. The racist tweets are also accompanied by some affirming that since director J.J. Abrams is Jewish, he therefore hates white people and casted black people instead.

In the author’s opinion, the character Jar Jar Binks is the only possible explanation behind this uprising against the lack of a completely white casting. Indeed, Jar Jar Bink was not only played by a black actor, but was also considered to be the worst characters of the entire Star Wars franchise. Thus, people associating an element of racial diversity to the lowest moment of the franchise view negatively this new diverse casting.

 

Response

I share the author’s point of view that this boycott is absurd. I believe we should encourage diversity in our movies, since it can affect society’s perception of the world, especially children. As mentioned by Erin N. Winkler in her article “Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race”, our society encourages children to see “white” as the norm. Indeed, the media and entertainment industry, which portrays white people as “good” and the rest as “evil,” implement these racial misconceptions in children from very early in their development.

Probably countless movies representing “black genocides” are far worse and are not as discussed as the Force Awakens. Since the roles are reversed, the trailer created an uprising of a handful of white individuals, who simply cannot accept that the Star Wars sequel will differ from the other movies, only because a white man will not play the protagonist. Moreover, blatantly accusing Abrams of disliking white people solely because he is Jewish makes no sense. I believe we should #BoycottTheBoycott and instead be happy that media industry is changing its ways in order to produce a more diverse, and therefore more representative image of our world. No, the world does not belong to white people, and those who believe so are going to have a hard time, because upcoming movies, presenting more and more often racially diverse castings, will keep reminding them that they cannot keep pretending so.

 

 

Reference

Yamato, J. (2015, October 19). Racists Urge Boycott of ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Over Black Lead, and Most of Them Love Trump. The Daily Beast. Retrieved from http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/19/racists-urge-boycott-of....

Comments

First off, the title really caught my attention because it revolves around a subject such as racism that seems to be involved in one of the biggest movie series of all time. It is indeed very ironic how people would react to the movie in such a negative way by criticizing the casts. It is very surprising that people would group up together and even create groups on social media to show their disagreement against the film directors and staff.

I agree with this post and the authors thoughts because I do not think that because one of the characters in the movie is now played by a black actor makes the movie terrible and kills all the sequels. It seems as if according to the individuals in the #BoycottStarWarsVII group, black actors should not play in the movie since the first ones only had white actors. These people are attacking black persons by inventing theories such as if the producers of the movie only chose the black actor to represent the worst character in all of them in the movie. This is very offensive to the black community and even to other races which may feel like they are minorities because certain people say that they do not have their place in this movie and it should only be played by superior races. I totally disagree with their point of view and in fact I find it reinforcing that they used a black actors, it makes the movie a lot more realistic and brings more diversity in the movie itself.

In conclusion, I believe this issue will never have an end and it is the case in a lot more subjects than just film. If we evaluate and accept the theory of the group that is against the movie, this means that all movies should only include white people and that some of the greatest actors such as Morgan Freeman should only play in bad movies? Looking at it in another perspective, it is ridiculous that people still think this way because the best movies often include many people and have a great diversity to make the plot a lot more realistic. Does this mean we should eliminate all non-white actors from all movies?

What first caught my eye when I saw this comment was the name of the movie Star Wars VII associated with racism. I did not know racism could be associated with this last movie, especially after watching the last trailer that came out some weeks ago in which we can see that it is well diversified in relation to ethnicities. The recent movies of the Star Wars series are anything but expressing racist ideas and encouraging genocides. In fact, they are good examples of multiethnic movies. They do not promote whiteness as most of the American movies, books and Medias that we see every day, in which we see practically only white skinned people. This have consequences on how individuals see themselves and others, especially among children, because it is when we are young that we learn how society works. According to class notes, “[people] start to see whiteness as the norm in terms of the standard of appearance, food, cultural practices, among others.” This also leads to favoritism towards the groups in which each person are related to in term of skin colour and culture. Furthermore, even though one of the lead characters in Star Wars VII is black and that there are many characters who are from other ethnicities than White, there are still plenty of white persons, important or not, in the story, so we cannot say this movie is a “white genocide.” To conclude, white skinned people should look at all the White privileges which are granted to them thanks to their skin colour, without being aware of it most of the time, before saying that they are misrepresented and/or “threatened” because of the increase of different ethnicities represented in the Medias.

This post caught my eye since I too, am a lover of science-fiction and fantasy (though ironically, I have never seen any of the Star Wars films) and had even thought of having my introduction to the venerated series begin with this newest film. The title of your summary almost made me think I ought not to see it, then, relieved, I discovered that it was the fan-base that was acting racially prejudiced and I do not need to have anything to do with them, if I don’t want to. I must admit I was rather surprised to hear that this was even a complaint at all. Yes, admittedly, science-fiction is typically associated with white people, as is most geek culture, but I have never heard of white fans actually caring that a cast was racially diverse and finding fault in that. Especially not in this day and age. More often, I hear fans rejoicing when a cast becomes more than just white people. I agree with you that this is simply ridiculous, even insulting. Yes, there has been a change from the originals, but that hardly makes it racist against the white people that make up the rest of the cast anyway.
I cannot help but wonder, though, would other facets of geek culture decry something as ‘racist’ because the cast of characters grew more diverse?

The title of this summary came to my attention because I am a fan for the Star Wars saga and am personally very excited to see the new movie. I agree with the author’s view that the movie is not promoting anti-white propaganda just by having a black protagonist. It is simply a more racially diverse cast and the creator of Star Wars himself (George Lucas) began promoting such a cast in his later films. The author argues that the people who are promoting this boycott of the new movie are extremist Trump supporters. Sadly, by promoting racial diversity in a cast it is enforcing the belief of biological “races”. Jared Diamond argues that race is a sociological construct that only exist in order to classify people. With that mentality, the black protagonist will no longer be seen as a poster boy for racial diversity in movies, but seen as a strong actor who best fit the role.
To conclude, I agree completely with the author’s stance against the boycott of the new Star Wars film. The black protagonist is just a product of the evolution of society and our acceptance of all races. That being said, Diamond proved that races are only a creation of man so that we can classify and categorize people. That means the movie should not focus on being racially diverse but in turn focus on having the strongest actors so that the movie could be its best.

About the author

only here for the grades