Star Wars Episode VII: Racism Awakens
by s.brodeur on October 21, 2015 - 9:33pm
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.
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.
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....