“Diversity” explained for racists

Warning: Eric is on his soap box again. He still managed to throw in some gags, though. Always with the jokes, this kid.

lupita2

As anyone with an internet connection could have predicted, the long-anticipated and finally confirmed casting of Lupita Nyong’o in the new Star Wars movie caused an uproar among racist idiots online today.

For those who don’t pay attention to Hollywood stuff, Ms. Nyong’o won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar this year for her performance in the acclaimed film 12 Years a Slave. Meanwhile, if you have never heard of Star Wars, I can’t help you.

lupita6You can probably tell from her photograph that she’s black. This is very upsetting to a lot of people. Of the principle cast of about 15 actors announced for the new Star Wars movie, 13 are white. Clearly, white folks are being robbed of their cultural identity by the producers of this movie!

Side note: I don’t recall anyone being upset about the number of green characters in the original Star Wars trilogy. Yoda, Jabba the Hut, and Greedo vs. Lando Calrissian. Greens outnumber blacks 3 to 1!

So anyway, the racists are angry because, if I can boil it down for you, “diversity” is being shoved down their throats (the de rigueur expression of bigots who resent having to accept the existence of anyone not like them). Everyone knows that characters in popular films are all supposed to be white, so when a black (or Asian, etc.) person is cast, it is nothing less than political correctness gone mad.

These are the same folks who lament, with sarcasm, that we don’t have “White History Month” and “White Entertainment Television,” as if history and TV weren’t already that.

This explanation is for them, but they aren’t here, so please read anyway and help my words feel noticed:

“Diversity” is not a weapon being wielded against you. It’s the intermediate step between the Civil Rights movement of the past and future total engagement, in which people of all ethnicities and cultural backgrounds participate equally. It means getting used to a more culturally diverse world, whether you like it or not, because you can’t stop the world from changing. It always does.

The outrage about Star Wars is particularly dumb, considering the story takes place in another galaxy. There is no reason to believe humanoid life forms there would favor one skin color over another. Think about that next time those jerks in Hollywood ruin your favorite movie franchise by casting actors who actually reflect the variety of people living on the real planet where it’s filmed.

Lupita Nyong’o was cast in Star Wars for the same reason people always get cast in high-profile Hollywood films: She is young, talented, trendy, likable, and photogenic.

She also earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale Drama School and has directorial credits on her resume, which is more than most movie stars can say. And she is fluent in four languages. I hardly think she represents a token sacrifice to the gods of political correctness.

In other words, her “15 minutes of fame” as you say (good lord I hate that misused and abused cliché) is not going to be over any time soon. Sorry (not really).

Hard to find, work is, for green actors.

Hard to find, work is, for green actors.

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39 responses to ““Diversity” explained for racists

  • nrhatch

    I don’t follow Hollywood news, but after reading your post, I did a quick search and found this:

    http://insidemovies.ew.com/2014/06/02/star-wars-episode-vii-casts-lupita-nyongo-and-gwendoline-christie/

    The comments are overwhelmingly in favor of the casting choice of these two women.

    • ericjbaker

      Most of the entertainment-specific sites seem to offer positive comments (or they have better moderators), but the big sites like Yahoo are away in racist comments (no surprise if you read Yahoo stories. It’s like the KKK over there). I saw some racist trolling on IMDB, but the idiots were pretty quickly shot down. These days, I expect the worst and hope for the best in humanity. One usually finds both without having to look too hard.

  • skywalkerstoryteller

    What we are witnessing Eric is the last gasps of white men dominating this part of the American continent. It has already been acknowledged, that sometime between 2050 and the end of this century, white people will be a numerical minority. And really I think some people are just plain jealous, I didn’t know about her education – I just saw a beautiful, confident black woman – and that intimidates the hell out of too many white folks burdened with insecurities. But, you know, I personally have no problems about white people, some of my best friends are white, and so are family members. Thanks for showing that you are among the enlightened white men of the 21st century – 🙂

    • ericjbaker

      And I honestly don’t care if a bunch of old dudes are in the privacy of their homes, spouting their racist drivel to like-minded people. That’s their life and the beliefs they chose, and there’s no point in getting upset about what people think, because you cant’ change it. But when people can’t use basic logic or see a centimeter past the end of their own prejudices and then open their mouths in a public forum, it sets me off.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Janna G. Noelle

    Sometimes, I feel like living in the Pacific Time Zone prevents me being aware of big news as it happens. I wasn’t aware Lupita was finally cast, but now that she has, I will probably actually go see Star Wars now (I’m sure I’ve confessed before that I’ve never really been a fan). That she is so well educated makes me like her even more, and I hope they give her a role worthy of her talents.

    I already wrote my own post about diversity, so I won’t bother rehashing those points here. I’ll only add that those who feel diversity is being shoved down their throats clearly need to get out more and experience the real world. Diversity exists, and its well past time for pop culture to start reflecting that.

    P.S. The woman who plays Brienne from Game of Thrones was cast too, which is awesome.

    • ericjbaker

      Indeed, not rehashing my own points except to say that I don’t why people view everything through a lens of “Why is the world forcing me to accept people of color?” As if every decision made anywhere is based on promoting diversity rather than business.

      Speaking of GoT, which I’ve never watched, I would love to see Natalie Dormer in anything, but especially in a fantasy or sci-fi movie. She has a very slinky, almost-Disney-esque villain quality. She is great in Elementary.

  • toconnell88

    Well said. Surprised (disappointed) to hear this was ever an issue. Blacks haven’t been particularly well-represented in this franchise (though Lando and Mace Windu are some of my favourite characters), so this casting news is a-okay with me. The entire cast of 12 Years was fantastic, and I hope they all go on to do similarly great things.

    It’s not tokenism if they’re hired on merit and are legitimately talented! (I was much more offended by the insufferable Hayden Christianson and Natalie Portman performances that sullied Episode II.)

  • Arkenaten

    Why id this even an issue?
    I didn’t follow any Hollywood links – SA has enough of this racist crap as I’m sure you can imagine – but may I ask where ( which country) the complaints came from, or was it ”all over”?

    • ericjbaker

      A lot of it was on Yahoo! I believe that is the most visited site in the world, perhaps aside from Facebook. That sire can rack up 10,000 comments in an hour on some of these articles, especially if it afford anonymous haters the opportunity to be ignorant in print.

      As I said in a comment above, if people want to be racists or homophobes, that’s their business and their loss. It annoys me, though, that they are compelled to scream it out so ignorantly.

      • Arkenaten

        In this country such blatant racism attracts serious attention from authorities these days….and rightly so, It is just so bloody stupid.
        It is unfortunate such idiots cannot be named and shamed…or even prosecuted for hate speech, as this is pretty much what it amounts to.

  • Gwen Stephens

    Awesome. I couldn’t have said it better.

    • ericjbaker

      Thank you, and thanks for visiting. Unfortunately, I could do a similar post just about every day, but then my blog would turn into a rant-fest and lose its focus.

      Change is slow and painful sometimes.

  • Jill Weatherholt

    I don’t follow the Hollywood news, Eric, so I wasn’t aware of the nonsense you speak of. Aren’t there bigger issues these loons should be worrying about….”White History Month”…are you kidding me?
    By the way, don’t tell only, but I’ve never seen Star Wars.

    • ericjbaker

      Yes, the wealth of stupidity out there is depressing.

      I think, at this point, Star Wars would seem pretty underwhelming to you. In 1977, though, it changed movies more radically than any film before or since.

  • Richard Leonard

    I haven’t been following this but it’s sad and disappointing that we still need to put some people straight. I wonder if they are just trolls. At least some of them.

    Star Wars? Are they making a movie about Ronald Reagan’s space based weapons program from the 80’s?

    • ericjbaker

      I’m sure some folks just do it to get a reaction from people like me, but what does it say about them that they are comfortable with that approach? Perhaps they are “in character,” but it doesn’t take much of a stretch for them to get there.

      Star Wars is about two men discussing life over a meal in a restaurant for two hours. Or was that “My Dinner With Andre”? I get those two films mixed up.

  • Kevin Brennan

    I also think there were far too many Asians in “The Last Emperor.”

  • livelytwist

    The internet is here to stay. Social media is here to stay. Diversity is here to stay. Get on the train or get run over. 🙂

    btw, that gown looks gorgeous on her.

  • shelleyhazen83

    Reminds me of when people got pissed that the actress who played Rue in the “Hunger Games” films was black. Apparently, Katniss isn’t white either. Hey, as some dude on “Kids in the Hall” once said: “We’re all pink on the inside…”

  • Uzoma

    When Ms Nyong’o was declared winner for Best Supporting Actress, I couldn’t believe my ears. I was so happy and surprised at the same time. One rarely sees a black smiling home with an Oscar. Lupita’s fame reminds me of another black, a Nigerian female, who went on to win Miss World in 2001.

  • WeaverGrace

    Yup, you’re preaching to the choir. How can we reach people who are bigoted?
    trick them with an alluring title and opening paragraph, and then WHAM them with a punchline?
    infiltrate their media through a crack?
    post in public forums with the hope that they will pay attention and be moved?
    wait for dominant white men to gasp their last breaths as the power shifts?

    I’m feeling your words. I hope they’re feeling appreciated 🙂

    • ericjbaker

      I suspect you are correct, that I am only talking to people who agree with me anyway, but I still think it’s important to deliver the message. Sure, some people will roll their eyes at a white dude of western European descent railing against racism (though I think I’m ultimately advocating for logic), but I don’t care. If we sit by and stay silent, then we are complicit.

  • 1WriteWay

    My problem with Ms. Nyong’o isn’t that she is black, but that she is beautiful. When are ugly/homely girls going to get the big roles in big movies, huh?

    Of course, I’m kidding (not really, but, what can I say? I identify more with homely girls just like those white racists only identify with Charleton Heston).

    I think WeaverGrace pretty much captured where we are today: “wait for dominant white men to gasp their last breaths as the power shifts.” I’ll be dancing in my chair when whites are so outnumbered they can’t even get elected dog-catcher. That is, if I live long enough 😉

    • ericjbaker

      My problem with Ms. Nyong’o is that she doesn’t respond to any of my letters. She doesn’t come to the door when I ring the bell. She calls the cops when I try to pry open the window. Some people think they’re better than us normies.

      Now why would you identify with homely girls? I don’t believe it.

      • 1WriteWay

        You might rethink your approach. Playing hard to get might be more effective with her (and also might keep you out of jail). When I was in high school, I was considered very dorky. And I was very shy which somehow made me even more unattractive. After all these years, it still smarts 😉

        • ericjbaker

          The “dorky” girls are the ones who grow up to be the most attractive, because they are usually the most intelligent and sensible. You may not have felt special back in those days, but I guarantee we mature gentlemen of WordPress consider you quite lovely right now. I’m sure Mr. Bailey concurs.

  • Game Review: The Elder Scrolls Online | Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings

    […] shut my fat ol’ mouth and call me corn pone…Lupita has been cast in the newest ‘Star Wars’ film! Well done, young sista…well […]

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