Pity those behind the #BoycottStarWars trend

Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm

Here we go again. The same tired tale is being repeated. A fresh batch of Internet trolls have infected our Twitter timelines in an attempt to bring hate and negativity to one of the greatest fandoms in cinema history. Last week, #BoycottStarWarsVII was trending on Twitter.

This hashtag was created to launch a tirade of ridiculous claims that the movie was “anti-white” and promoted “white genocide.” Apparently, the apocalypse has arrived because one of the lead roles in the new Star Wars movie, of a storm trooper, is being played by a black actor, John Boyega. While it’s tempting for me to be spiteful and return the negativity, I had a peculiar realization. Proponents of the boycott are simply subjects to be pitied. 

#BoycottStarWarsVII ended with an interesting twist and proved that a quote by Martin Luther King rings true: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” The Star Wars fandom is one based on love and dedication. The boycott movement failed before it begun.

This ridiculous hashtag was trending because an overwhelming number of people criticized it. Genuine Star Wars fans were never going to let a group of bigots taint their beloved franchise. As indicated by the ticket sale records the movie has already shattered, love obviously wins.

Apart from the usual trolls, the most prominent category of people behind the boycott were the racists. As people grow and the lens through which they view the world expands, it is expected that their understanding of how life works will increase. Reading some comments under the hashtag, I realized that there are humans whose scope of the world will forever remain tiny and distorted. They will never experience Earth’s beauty at full capacity because they don’t allow themselves access to all the possibilities.

I feel great sympathy for them, because they do not realize how misguided they are when they make claims of “white genocide.” Claiming prejudice and racism requires a basic understanding of what those terms mean. The English dictionary and Google are resources that should not be taken for granted.

Here are some solid facts that relay the irony in this trend’s claims: George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, is married to a black woman. Darth Vader, arguably the most iconic character in the franchise, was voiced by James Earl Jones, a black man. Billy Dee Williams and Samuel L. Jackson are black men that played characters in previous Star Wars films. If anyone is to boycott this film, they should boycott the whole franchise — and anyone willing to do this for these reasons are not real fans, and they lack basic logic.

There are so many changes going on in the world around us. In fact, the only constant thing on this earth is change. It is only a matter of time before movies and television shows accurately reflect the diverse races and complicated people that exist in the world. People of colour are no longer satisfied with being ignored, underestimated, and stereotyped. We are as ambitious as ever to become whatever we dream, no matter the struggle ahead of us.

People with natural feelings of inferiority need to put people down to feel important. Individuals like this feel fear when they are no longer able to put certain people down. If diversity in movies inspire that type of fear in someone, I encourage it, because their nightmares will soon be realized. More young people of colour are accepting no less than what they deserve and work hard for. Those desperately spouting prejudice in an attempt to stifle positive change are fighting a losing battle.

If droids, Wookies and Ewoks can exist in the Star Wars universe, people of colour absolutely can, and should. So get over it.