Joining Krystina Arielle: A Call for Lucasfilm to Stop Racism

John Boyega as Finn

Can I just start this article by saying that I’ve been wanting to do a WandaVision Episode 3 review for two days now, and the Lucasfilm stuff keeps getting in my way? Ugh…

Now, with that out of the way:

Here at Pirate and Princesses, we often have articles with hundreds of thousands of readers. I want to thank each and every one of you. It doesn’t matter what your race, ethnicity, political views, religious opinions, sexual preferences, or other creeds might be. See, you’re human, and that makes you infinitely valuable. You matter, and you matter a lot. In fact, you matter so much that the more you treat yourself AND others like they matter, the better this world will be. A few years ago, most of us understood how this whole “you and I are individuals worthy of respect” thing worked… but people have lost their way recently.

I want to say that in some ways, I get where Krystina Arielle is coming from. Of course, I don’t agree with her lumping people groups into monolithic swaths of same-minded Neanderthals. When she says that “white people are racists,” I view that as sick as someone saying “Asians are racists.” If you don’t understand why doing that is bad, you’re probably someone who needs to deeply look at the way you view others. If you’re one of the media outlets running this story as if Krystina is a purely innocent person being attacked by said Neanderthals, well, you know what you’re doing and you know it’s wrong (I’m talking to you Inside the Magic and A.V. Club among others). It also doesn’t pay – I’ll guarantee you our numbers crush you, and it turns out that being honest actually works.

In the 20th century, this whole “tribalism” thing was tried out, and it didn’t go so well… turns out labeling all Jews in a negative way has a really bad result. We call that the holocaust. In some centuries, we tried that whole “tribalism” thing out with putting people of African descent in such a low standing that it was okay to own them as slaves… that was evil, and it harmed all of humanity, some more than others. It turns out that labeling entire groups of people instead of caring about individuals is a really, really bad idea. It’s also something that comes from the most primitive parts of our brains – the part that says “I see someone that looks different than me, so this could be dangerous!” It might have saved you five thousand years ago when you came across a different tribe in the wilderness, but in the modern world it leads to suffering.

So what is it that I can empathize with Krystina Arielle on, and why do I want to join with her in her crusade?

Well, it seems like she’s been hired by Lucasfilm, and Lucasfilm has acted in very racist ways over the past few years. I can imagine that if I worked for a racist company, that would be deeply unsettling for me. So, I’ve got some suggestions that I think we can finally use to bring all peoples from all sides of the political spectrum together in on agreement. Here’s how Lucasfilm has been racist and what they can do to put and end to their racism so that Krystina can no longer be employed by a bullying, racist studio.

Dear Lucasfilm, as Matt Mercer’s character in Overwatch would say… “it’s hiiiigh noon.”

1. Racism Against John Boyega

Back when The Force Awakens launched, Lucasfilm and Disney decided it was okay to hide their African American lead on the poster so as not to harm Chinese box office revenue. That was pure, unadulterated racism that does not reflect the kind of world John Boyega or Krystina Arielle should live in.

American Version of the Poster
Chinese Version of the Poster

In order to stop being a racist company that does racist things for monetary gain, Lucasfilm should apologize for this action and vow to make John Boyega just as prominent as Daisey Ridley in all current and future Chinese graphics depicting The Force Awakens.

I’d really appreciate Krystina speaking out on John Boyega’s behalf. She’s got the influence now… join us and let’s make the difference. And until Lucasfilm starts giving Boyega just as much graphic space as Ridley in China, well, they’re racist money-chasers.

2. Ignoring the Most Important African American Voice Artist of All Time

You know, James Earl Jones turned 90 the other day, and he’s probably the most important African American voice artist in the world. I get that whoever is running your Star Wars Twitter account has less wisdom than a vegetarian critiquing steakhouses. I get that they’ve jumped the shark over there like Fonzi with a jetpack. But, for the love of any common sense you might actually still have, say something nice about James Earl Jones.

I understand that the original voice of Darth Vader has some conservative leanings. But seriously, just say something nice about him. Anything. Say something nice about Carl Weathers while you’re at it. Everybody loves Carl Weathers! If you’re going to wish people “happy birthday” and skip your two African American LEGENDS on their birthdays, then at least give them some sort of uplifting tweet. It’ll take you 2 minutes! There’s no downside! Wowza.

3. Excluding People of Color From Chinese-Only Novels

Dear Lucasfilm, you’ve recently launched an endeavor with the Chinese Communist Party to create a line of novels set in the Star Wars galaxy which are decidedly more Chinese and less “anything else”. You have no plans to release those novels anywhere but in the Chinese marketplace. Having done a cursory reading of the rough English translations, I can’t help but notice there are no humans of a darker skin complexion described in the book. Now, my Mandarin isn’t that great, and maybe I missed it, but it looks to me like The Vow of Silver Dawn novel is devoid of any people of color, and seems to be devoid of anybody that would have an appearance of a Uighur or other ethnic minority in China.

Lucasfilm, I think that liberals, conservatives, libertarians, heck even the apolitical moderates out there… we can all agree that it would be really nice of of you to actually put even a single dark-skinned or ethnically diverse person in your specifically-Chinese novel series. I bet even Krystina will hop in with her new place of prestige and influence to call for this to happen! Matt Mercer, where are you at? Will you also join in on calling for Lucasfilm to make their specifically-Chinese material be anti-racist?

4. Using Slaves to Make Merchandise

Now Star Wars people, I know that you can’t believe this… but there are rumors out there that some of your merchandise is made by slaves. Surely we can all agree that slavery is bad. Krystina, I’m positive, agrees that slavery is evil, and I’m confident she’s going to speak out very, very soon about it. I bet these media companies lining up behind her are also going to speak out against modern-day slavery.

Article on Star Wars Merchandise Made by Slaves

That article above is from a few years ago, but anybody can google this and find articles all the way up until now. So here’s a solution for this problem: Star Wars / Lucasfilm / Disney, could you guys just go ahead and give us a vow that not a single item with Star Wars, Lucasfilm, or Disney branding will be made by slaves starting today and going forward? In fact, just go ahead and submit to Fair Trade standards that ensure none of your merch will be made by a slave. And if you’re willing to do that, put your money where your mouth is; offer that if we discover in the future you have breached this agreement, that you will donate a couple hundred million dollars towards defeating modern-day slavery.

Now that’s just four ways that Lucasfilm and Star Wars seem to have acted in a bullying, racist sort of quasi-evil manner. I’ve given you the solutions to absolve yourselves of these sins. Krystina, you now have the voice to call for these things… we’ll find out if you’re going to follow through with your own standards. Matt Mercer, you’ve got your chance as well to stick up for your friend hired by a racist company – call them out. The world could always use more heroes.

Or… will you all just keep living off that easy money that comes when you say “yes” to the corporations, and be quiet about real racism, real modern-day slavery? I hope not, because I’m not.

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Image of a Forced Labor Factory Disney Supplier: Courtesy of China Labor Watch

We do too. Stop the racism, stop the bullying, stop the slavery. Krystina, Matt, join us in calling for Lucasfilm to stop these horrific actions. We’ll talk about Genocide in China in another article — you’ve got enough on your plate for one day.

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