Earlier this week, Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC said:
… when iconic villain Darth Vader was in his black costume and voiced by African American actor James Earl Jones, “he was terrible and bad and awful and used to cut off white men’s hands, and didn’t, you know, actually claim his son.”
“But as soon as he claims his son and goes over to the good, he takes off his mask and he is white,” Harris-Perry continued. “Yes, I have many, many feelings about that.”
Now I know what you’re thinking and you’re shaking the earth. But we need to remember Melissa isn’t one of us. She one of ‘those’. The Poor Ones who know nothing of the joys of Geekism. I know, it’s sad and I have no clue how the Poor Ones survive. I mean, who can actually live without Hobbits, Darth Vader, Guardians, Anime (Naruto anyone?), Elves (Handsome elves, actually), comics, and the sort? Life is hard for the Poor Ones and we need to remember, she’s on another path, what I call the path of Normal. (Breath, breath!)
I hate that Normal Path. It’s boring, dull and plain icky. Normals walk past Hot Topic Store and refuse to see the treasures inside. I never knew my city had such a wonderful place until a clerk at another store told me of it and now I’m in love with a store. Normals spend two seconds in the geeky establishment and walk out. Folks like me can spend hours there and in fact, I asked two clerks to lock me in, they said no. Apparently I’m not the first who has asked that wonderful question.
At Hot Topic, the Geek finds Dr Who dresses of all kinds. There are anime dresses, Star Wars dress, all kinds of Geek dresses. They had Dr Who sweaters, gloves, pajamas and blankets. A whole rack contained the Doctor’s sonic Screwdrivers, oh my!! My Geeky head spun in all kinds of directions. And what to my wondering eyes did I see, but a woman my age maybe a bit older. So Hot Topic is for all Geeks of all ages. But I digress.
Back to Melissa. Star Wars has never been racist and that’s why I love Star Wars. People of all backgrounds, religions, ages, genders and races adore Star Wars. We are one family and we love something that doesn’t exist. See, we’re not normal, normal people love existing things. We are a group that loves something that doesn’t exist and we are passionate about our non-existing loves.
Melissa said that the evil Vader was a black man who cuts off people’s hands, but once his son removed Vader’s helmet, Vader was white.
She does know Vader has always been Caucasian, right?? Apparently not.
It’s sad that she knows so little of Ani aka Anakin Skywalker. Ani is more than a “black man in black suit”. He’s a broken soul in a black suit. He’s a little boy who raced Pod Racers in dangerous races so he could help his mother. He’s a slave child who worked long hours for a cruel master. He had to endure taunts and jeers because he had no father. He was the man of the house and he was only eight-years-old.
Vader/Ani was a father, a lover, a husband, a son, a warrior, the Chosen One and all he wanted to do was fix broken things. So many people wanted Ani to be the IT person that they forgot he was human. And so now Melissa heaps more onto the Ani pile: Racism.
It always amazing me how Geeky stuff relates to real life. How many of us are the Chosen One? The One who always has to pick up the pieces of their children’s broken lives? To be the one who works long hours for little pay and still has a big smile on their faces when they walk through the front door? The one whom the boss elects to work the huge project after quitting time and takes all the credit for a job well done? The one who bakes all the cookies for the church functions?
In the third prequel, Ani follows Darth Sidious, not because he longed for power, but because he wanted to go home. His mother died in his arms and now his wife was in danger. Each night, he heard them calling out his name in his dreams. But each time, he was unable to reach them. Yoda’s advice was to let them go. If they die, they die. Sidious knew Ani’s weaknesses and played them like a fine violin. He offered Hope to Ani, a chance to bring his mother and possibly his wife back from the dead. Or course, Sidious, like all evil masterminds, had no intentions of bringing anyone to life. Ani’s mother, his wife, his babies, his two mentors and his old quiet life were over. He lost everything and everyone dear to him. So Ani gave up and gave into the darkside. Home no longer existed.
I would say to Melissa regarding Ani’s race that Ani is all races, all people, all genders and all generations. Ani represents everyone whom others label as the Chosen One and all they want to do is fix broken things. They are dragged from their homes to organize the PTA. They are the ones the choir director calls when someone is sick. They are up at midnight with a vomiting child and into work at 7am. They are the single dads, the single moms, the overworked and underpaid employee. The Chosen one.
So Melissa, take a breath, watch the prequels and get to know Ani and you’ll soon see, no, there really isn’t any racism, just a broken child forced into a role he didn’t want. The Chosen One who fixed broken things, but couldn’t fix his broken life.