“Pimp my ride!” and “Damn! That’s wack!”
The first time I saw a Star Wars movie in the theaters, it was crap. Really. And I was watching with my boyfriend as Jar Jar Binks made its way across the screen. With big lips and flappy ears that look locish…well, as soon as it started talking I whispered "Is he supposed to be a slave or something?".
Patches played it off – he didn’t see any intended racism. Jar Jar was supposed to be stupid. Right? That’s it, just ignorant, not really a black stereotype. Perhaps, he suggested, the problem was with me, for deigning to think that the thing represented people like me.
One day, he called me up. "It looks like you weren’t the only one who took it that way. Maybe I just didn’t see it the way you did." He was referring to a news article where Lucas had drawn some flack for his representation of Jar Jar.
Now, I’m the first one to holler "Hey! That’s kinda of racist!" when people do things under the pretense of not being racist. Why do I love South Park? Because they make jokes and then admit that these jokes are being made. Why is Token Black’s name so funny? Because he is the Token Black. They admit it. I can laugh. People like Healthy Choice making Asian commercials…well, they don’t admit it, so I have to point it out. But I digress.
Recently, Michael Bay has drawn similar…flak, if you will…for the jive-talking, step-n-fechit character’s he’s created with Skids and Mudflap. I didn’t plan on seeing the movie. I don’t want to see the movie. One of them has a gold tooth and can’t read – I didn’t expect much more than a minstrel show on his part. And you know what? I’m not angry about it. After watching "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarves", well…not much in the way of cartoons upsets me. I just hate it when people try to pretend, as Michael Bay did, that his characters are not stereotypes.
On the other hand, we’ve got the Super Black Guinea Pig from that new movie G-Force. I mean. He’s black. Literally. Black fur with a pink muzzle. And then he’s got a "black" voice, because, you know, he’s the black pig. But, he speaks in ridculous Tracy Jordanesque Ebonics, mainly because he’s voiced by Tracy Morgan, so, y’know, that makes sense. Why is this character funny when on 30 Rock? Because he’s supposed to be a ridculous stereotype. And he is ridculously funny in his ridculousity. Why does this character make me cringe in a ridculous movie about spy pets? Why is it not funny in cartoons? Because they’re going to try to put him on there and pretend that it’s diversity. Now the little black kids in the audience have someone they can relate too as well.
I’m not ranting about the "hispanic" one…yet…because I haven’t seen enough of it to irk me.
But I’m sure that one will be one it’s way.
But anyway, I guess Mightygodking is right, it could have been worse. Read it and weep. Because it’s so funny. Not because you’re sad.