Star Wars and Racism

The Star Wars logo as seen in all films.

It is good advice, and common advice, that if you publish content online you should “not read the comments”. The internet has allowed people to spew vitriol anonymously and with little fear of consequence. On release of the new Star Wars trailer there has been an open criticism by certain groups regarding the “White Genocide” perpetrated by the film. Such an absurd notion is an unsettling reminder that racial inequality and racism are a long way from being vanquished in this universe or any other. The absurdity of the notion is not lost on most who have pointed out that one of the most iconic and recognizable Star Wars characters was voiced by James Earl Jones (leaving aside the strange white washing of the character when his face was revealed).

This is neither the first time nor will it be the last time that the internet has produced such racist rhetoric, it has been asked on a number of occasions “why is the internet so racist?” Anonymity is the main reason why such opinions are more prevalent on the internet, however there are a number of other elements at play, the ability to build communities who share your views, the ability to find ‘proof’ of just about any theory on the internet and the sense of entitlement to ‘freedom of speech’. It may be simple attention seeking that is not deserved of comment or time. An article in the business insider asks: “Will the overt racism that defines the Internet also disappear once anonymity is gone?

Logic suggests it will—that only people who will be racist online are, 1) people who are openly racist in the real world too, and 2) dumb teenagers who are short-sighted and solipsistic”

It is interesting that the finger is pointed at “dumb teenagers” this is a rare return to the days of blaming the younger generation for many misdemeanors, major and minor with little regard to any actual facts. The internet is rapidly becoming less anonymous, however it will be interesting to see what impact this has on the way in which individuals approach commentary, racism and other issues.

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