I finally saw the latest Star Wars movie, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” last weekend.
My sister, who went with her sons to see it the first weekend it was in theaters, has been waiting for me to see it to discuss it in detail.
Though she would not be considered a Star Wars geek, she has devoured every word of her collection of 26 paperback books, two hardcover books and three graphic novels of Star Wars lore, gathered through the past almost 40 years since the first Star Wars movie in 1977.
As I thought about what I would write this week in my column in recognition of African American History Month, nothing seemed more fitting than to write about the diversity exemplified in the Star Wars movies. Everyone has something to contribute, no matter the race, ethnicity or national origin.
Imagine my surprise when, as I mentioned this to my sister, she told me of the hoopla before and during the release of the movie about that very topic – though not in a good way.
It seems some movie-goers had not only protested the movie’s multiculturalism, but also the fact that a black actor is a central heroic figure.
Why then, I wondered, had those viewers bothered to go to the movie at all.
Multiculturalism and diversity, after all, have been a hallmark of the Star Wars franchise since its beginning with George Lucas, and J.J. Abrams has ably carried on the tradition in this latest installment, and I expect those traditions to continue in the two additional planned installments.
Chewbacca the Wookee, Yoda, Droids, Ewoks, Jabba the Hutt and many other beings have been part of our lexicon longer than anyone under 35 has been alive.
I went online to learn more about the objections raised to diversity portrayed in Star Wars. I found that one group called the movie “anti-white propaganda” and said it promoted “white genocide.”
In September 2015, I wrote a column in which I published the script of a robocall I received that expressed concerns about “white genocide.”
I get it, I really do. People who have power – who are accustomed to wielding power – will do almost anything to retain it. I guess the “white genocide” warnings are becoming more widespread in the wake of statistics that show white people are moving toward minority status in the United States in coming decades.
When African Americans began gaining political and economic ground in the 1970s, a white man filed the first reverse discrimination lawsuit, effectively slowing efforts for black people to progress at the same pace as whites.
Even now the Voting Rights Act of 1965 hasn’t been elevated to a permanent status in law. The voting rights of minorities in this nation must still be approved periodically by those who want to keep their stranglehold on the nation’s political power. The most recent reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act came in 2006.
The other diversity trend highlighted last weekend was during the National Basketball Association All-Star Weekend.
It seems that of the 360 players on NBA rosters, 101 of them are international players who represent 37 countries, and NBA games are played in 18 international venues.
So, as we’ve known for many years, the world is shrinking. Not only are industries and businesses reaching across international boundaries for workers and products and to manufacture goods, but the trend reaches into all aspects of American society.
White people have never been in the majority globally, and the countries largely populated by indigenous minority groups and colonized by majority white countries took back their autonomy years ago.
White people who called for a boycott of the Star Wars movie, claiming it promoted white genocide, need to get over themselves. They probably fear others doing to them what they’ve done to others as the dominant culture for generations.
However, as long as money can buy power – witness Donald Trump and financiers of other political campaigns – white people in America have nothing to worry about.
Lena Mitchell is a retired daily reporter for the Daily Journal and writes a Sunday column each month. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org