Star Wars and Race

December 14, 2015

As we begin Star Wars Week at the Washington Free Beacon, we should take a moment to discuss MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry belief that Darth Vader's characterization in the original trilogy was racist:

It's worth noting that the above clip makes her, more or less, a real-life version of Kevin Smith creation "Hooper X":

Far be it from me to disagree with "America's most foremost public intellectual." Indeed, I think Ms. Harris-Perry's actually on to something here! The only problem is she has the script flipped when it comes to "the whole Darth Vader situation," as she terms it.

"While he was black 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's white," she says. But what if—and hang on, you'll never guess where I'm going with this—but what if The Empire Was Good?

If the Empire is good—if it is a more-or-less benevolent dictatorship replacing a sclerotic, non-fuctional republic that was totally justified in blowing up a terrorist group's financial and intellectual hub and fighting against radicalized enemies who "inspire terrorism by yelling a prayer before a suicide attack"—then Darth Vader did not turn from evil to good when his visage shifted from black to white. Quite the contrary!

And, honestly, I really think Ms. Harris-Perry should reconsider her reflexively negative view of the Galactic Empire. I understand this means pushing back against nearly four decades of neo-Republican propaganda, and that's hard. But, as I've noted before, the Empire was far more diverse than the pasty-white rebellion. As someone who greatly values diversity, certainly Ms. Harris-Perry can see the good in an army that is made up almost entirely of Maoris led by the baddest, blackest dude in the galaxy going up against a coterie of white insurrectionists whose sole mission seems to be restoring an incestuous spy's family to the head of the government and whose celebrations are literally Nazi-esque.

I'm just saying: stay woke.