People of color in film are not bad for society

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Star Wars has been a cultural phenomenon since the first film, “Star Wars” (later changed to “Episode IV: A New Hope), hit theaters in 1977. Whether audiences are drawn in by the expansive sci-fi universe or the promise of Jedi versus Sith action, people shell out lots of money for movie tickets as well as Star Wars merchandise.

Nerds of the world collectively rejoiced as a new trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” premiered during Monday Night Football. All was well in the world of the geeks as old cast members Mark Hamil, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher joined new on-screen heroes Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and John Boyega.

Director J.J. Abrams has recently been praised on including Boyega, an African American, as one of the leads of the blockbuster franchise. Although wildly famous, Star Wars has seen some scrutiny; many of the people of color characters are very short lived or just not included at all.

Most of the responses to Boyega’s casting and that of other POC characters have been positive, but Monday fans took to Twitter to attack the film.

The hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII generated a multitude of tweets; some criticizing the film’s racially diverse cast and others criticizing those who used the hashtag seriously.

All joke tweets aside, racial diversity in film should be celebrated. Actors, producers, directors and movie companies in general have come a very long way from their atrocious use of blackface and stereotypes. Actually including people of color in film is a milestone. In a world where a lot of adaptations and even original pieces of work suffer from a ridiculous amount of whitewashing, it’s hard to find movies that celebrate these people instead of turning them into a mockery. Star Wars fans should rejoice that something people used to scrutinize the series for isn’t a problem any longer. Bigoted fans need to drop the idea that all characters must be white. Support film makers who continue to cast talented, non-white actors, because they’re showing solidarity in casting these men and women to begin with.

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