I’m guessing most of you will by now be familiar with the death of Eric Garner. I can’t help but notice that America is a land where you can kill someone, provided that you are a policeman and the person you are killing is a black guy. Fortunately, this time the evidence is right there for anyone with a computer to see. It’s on YouTube! Thank God for that, right? Justice through technology.
Except no. It was decided – through some process too insane to be comprehended – that the people who killed this person should not even face trial. I’m struggling to think of a way this killing could have been more unnecessary. The man doesn’t resist at all, and instead complains repeatedly of being unable to breathe until eventually suffocating; what the fuck more need happen before criminal proceedings commence?
There is a temptation, no doubt felt more keenly by white people, that the cop must be given the benefit of the doubt in these instances. Some situations are just crazy, you know? Sometimes it’s absolutely unavoidable that you kill the guy, and sometimes the guy is a black guy.
This sort of rationalisation doesn’t quite cut it when you’re presented with this sort of footage. If this video doesn’t cast an enormous shadow of doubt over the other bajillion instances of cop-on-black-guy crime, for which we don’t have video evidence, I don’t know what will.
That’s pretty much all I want to say about that heinous shit. I’ve never really seriously tackled racism in this blog, mostly because I don’t have a great deal of value to say on the subject. When, at a tender age, I first came to understand what race and racism was, I imagined by the time I was twenty-eight there’d be absolutely no mind paid to skin colour at all.
Well, me-from-the-past, you are an idiot. We’ve seemingly gone in the other direction – everyone’s obsessed with skin colour. Apparently what we really need is a Chinese James Bond, and a black Sherlock Holmes. Not because it might make the films better, but because it will serve some societal good. Obsessing over skin colour, you see, is the only way we’re ever going to fight racism.
I didn’t really think most of you had seen the Eric Garner video. But I do think all of you have by now seen the Star Wars trailer, which sounded a note of controversy as it had a black stormtrooper in it. This became hugely significant, both among the sort of racists who don’t want black people to be stormtroopers, and among the other sorts of racists who condescendingly applaud the fact that a black man can be a stormtrooper. Well done, John Boyega. You’re black.
Can stormtroopers be black? Well, yes, obviously; this one is. Besides, stormtroopers live in a galaxy far, far away, they could conceivably be luminous orange if JJ Abrams so desired. Can any of the characters from The Hobbit be black? Yes. Are they? No. Are Peter Jackson and JRR Tolkein massive racists? Probably not. There just aren’t any black people in Middle Earth.
But wait, aren’t all the stormtroopers meant to be clones of Jango Fett? Well, no, look – all of this shit was explained off-camera. If you watch some shitty CGI spinoff cartoon or read some book you’ll discover that they aren’t really clones anymore. Or, even better, don’t watch or read any of that shit, and don’t watch any of the prequels either. Just forget the whole clone thing.
There was one line in ‘A New Hope’ where Luke says ‘you fought in the clone wars?’ and from that throwaway utterance was vomited forth the entire atrocious arc of the prequel trilogy. I doubt Hamill suspected when uttered that line that it would one day spark a racial controversy. Boyega probably isn’t even a stormtrooper, anyway. This whole scene on Tatooine might be a cosplaying incident gone awry.
Lucas fucked up the first time. No black people. I suppose that all the black people in the galaxy happened to be nowhere significant during the events of the first film. In fact, wasn’t Lando going to be some sort of alien before they realised – hey, um – there aren’t any black people in this film? I think they threw an Asian pilot guy into the Battle of Endor as well. Yay for diversity.
Except now we’ve gone in the other direction, and have no white guys at all! Apparently the guy in the X-Wing is Latino? He seemed pretty white to me – Christ, I’m not so sure anymore. We must launch a protracted investigation into this person’s ancestry to prove how not racist we all are.
In conclusion, you’re all racists except me.
Until next week.