By now, it should be obvious that MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry can’t see anything without looking through the lens of race. She can’t even hear a phrase like “hard-working” without launching into a diatribe about how she sees that as racist because slaves had to work hard. So, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening this weekend, Perry just couldn’t seem to resist.
You see, she figures that Darth Vader, the father of Luke and Leia, was totally a black guy.
“I know why I have feelings — good, bad and otherwise — about Star Wars,” Perry explained. “…I spent the whole day talking about the Darth Vader situation.”
“The part where he was totally a black guy, whose name was basically James Earl Jones,” she said. “While he was black he was terrible and bad, awful and used to cut off white men’s hand, and didn’t actually claim his son. But as soon as he claims his son, goes over to the good, takes off his mask and he is white — yes, I have many feelings about that.”
So much stupid here, where do we start?
First, let’s look at Star Wars as a whole. Yes, James Earl Jones did the voice. That’s it. That’s the only association with a black guy in the whole thing. In the prequels, Hayden Christensen played him before the suit. By the closing credits of Return of the Jedi, we see him white again. In short, he’s a white guy in a black suit. That’s it.
By Perry’s assertion, Johnny Cash, Marlyn Manson, and every goth kid in the country qualifies as black. Rachel Dolezal will be relieved to know it’s that easy.
Next, let’s talk about how Vader was “terrible and bad, awful and used to cut off white men’s hand” and stuff. This is the part where we have to wonder if the MSNBC host has ever watched a movie. Ever.
The idea of the villain wearing black isn’t original to Star Wars. There’s a reason the phrase “black hat” means “bad guy,” and that’s because of the old westerns. Someone in a black hat was a bad guy, while the white hat was the good guy. The symbolism was already ingrained into our culture, so dressing Darth Vader in all black helped the audience accept that he, and by extension the Empire he represented, were not the heroes in this movie.
Further, let’s be honest. He cut off one hand, and it was his own son’s. That’s right, the white man’s hand he cut off was his own kid, which is more evidence that he’s, oh I don’t know, not a black guy.
More evidence that Perry hasn’t at least seen Star Wars is the whole “claim his kid” crap.
First, as is explained in Star Wars, Luke was taken away and hidden from Vader. As it’s later revealed that Leia is his sister, that fits her too. He never had a chance to claim anyone, because they were hidden from him.
Oh, but Perry claims that as soon as he did, he came over to the side of good.
Seriously. Vader tells Luke that he is his father in the iconic scene at the end of Empire Strikes Back. He then spends a huge chunk of Return of the Jedi trying to get Luke to join him on the dark side of the Force. It’s not until the end, when the Emperor is trying to kill Luke, that Vader comes over to the good side.
Perry says that he “takes off his mask and he is white — yes, I have many feelings about that.”
We’d like to hope one of those feelings is profound embarrassment for saying that on TV, but considering the earrings she wore a couple of years ago, that’s probably not possible.
You see, let’s take a look at his kids. By the time the mask comes off, it’s well established that Luke and Leia are his kids.
Now, tell us, was anyone shocked to see a white dude under the helmet with those two as kids? In fact, doesn’t it seem to indicate that Vader was a white guy all along? Why yes, yes it does.
Someone like Melissa Harris Perry can’t see anything but race. She’s intent on finding racial problems everywhere she looks, and because of that she find them. The problem is, she’s conducting a witch hunt, and just like in Salem, a lot of non-witches are being caught up in it. In this case it’s a movie, and a character, being claimed to represent something very different than the truth.
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