When Star Wars showed us the trailer for their new film, The Force Awakens, it seems that a “force” did just get comically knocked out of sleep. Racism, that is.
For those who have the luxury of sleep while “The Force” is knocking everyone out of a coma, an actor from the United Kingdom named John Boyega is looking more and more like the lead — main protagonist of this new Star Wars film. Just in case you’re not woke yet, allow me to point out that this black actor looks fantastically like a young Denzel Washington which would end up giving him many charisma points before you ever see him grip a light saber. In a world where Hollywood only pitches us a few young black males in grand-scale roles (because by the time they are in their 40’s, they are too good to ignore), we only see Michael B. Jordan right now. By adding other good looking, YOUNG intelligent black men as protagonists in epic sagas, this level of diversity is bound to make a few people tremble. Without missing a second, white supremacists, are completely shitting their pants right now.
White supremacists are calling this movie something that supports “white genocide”. My sociologically aware friend has an amazing point: if a black guy in a futuristic space movie supports “white genocide”, then what genocide have you been supporting prior to this movie? Sure, I frequently point out white defaultness, an issue where whites assume they are the default template of human beings, as if they are “raceless” or something. I point out the fact that whites have a severe issue empathizing with non-whites because of the massive lack of non-white representation in movies and roles. Sure, I will always point out the flaw in how white characters tend to have a full range of character and emotion while non-whites, blacks especially, are usually 2-dimensional characters that fulfill and perpetuate what white people think of others.
Let’s take another good futuristic space movie: Guardians of the Galaxy. With a white protagonist, you’d never find me claiming that Guardians of the Galaxy supports black (or any other non-white) genocide. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s dumb. It’s a stupid claim. I’ll always ask the question why they think that these types of protagonists ALWAYS have to be white and I’ll point out that technically an Asian or black man could have played the same role, but I’ll never think that a white guy in a sci-fi movie supports racial genocide. Unless that character explicitly calls for genocide in the movie, it’s a no-brainer.
Does the casting of whites as people of color, as they do in most religious movies in Africa and West Asia, support or represent genocide onto those people who are indigenous to those locations? I’ll let you decide.
Even further: if white folks feel alienated by the main lead being non-white, shouldn’t they be able to empathize with non-white peoples? This is not even a fraction of how it feels to be black, or Asian, being inundated with millions of white protagonists. This proves true for not only movies, but also T.V. shows, books, and video games.
I’m not concerned with the function of their boycott. I highly doubt masses of whites are willing to miss this epic saga just because the lead protagonist is black. I think, very few whites will heed the pleas of their overtly bigoted friends. I am more concerned however, that it’s a FACT that there is a constituent of white people who feel this way. Ewoks? Fine. Chewbaccas and Yodas? Sure. Those other alien races? No problem. It’s painfully dehumanizing to imply that a grotesquely inhuman alien is more acceptable than a black human being. This is racism at it’s core; Chewbacca can drive across the U.S. unharrassed, but any common black man can be terrorized and put to death.
These are the same type of people who have a butt-ugly fear of interracial marriage and children of mixed race. You remember that Cherrios commercial? Yeah. Same people, same racists. I covered this before in the article called the Four Fears. Scholars have wrote about it. Scientists have documented it. White people’s collective identity is fragile; due to their identity being attached to white defaultness logic, acting as if to be white is to be without race, and race equals blemish… they paint themselves in a corner.
The way reality has it, people will blend. Technically, they might be right. White people, as they exist now, might not exist 3000 years into the future. While whiteness may not exist in the future, the people will. Offspring is offspring; to be radically concerned about all of your descendants looking like you as if your looks (read: race) is important, is to uphold racism at its core. Technically, Boyega’s character might not even be considered “black” in today’s terms in his fictional future. He’s most likely considered “human”.
Which brings me to my next point: People like these tend to hate it when you know you are black, but will always let you know you are black at any time they are comfortable. In a conversation on police brutality, these are the same people who use “we are humans” to shut you up. As in, “there’s no black, no white, there’s only human”. Well, when a person is cast under this colorblind logic, all the colorblind blinders come off. I wonder why. The people who have a problem with the mention of black, have a problem with black people.
Race is a social construct made (by whites) to decide who’s given what resources. Love doesn’t care about social orders and tier groups. Less and less people will care about that. I would love to find someone explain to me how diversity is an enemy to them. It simply makes no sense. It’s not something grounded in science. It’s stupid.
One thing that I see this movie supporting, is the eradication of stupid.