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Spare Me the Hypocrisy or Defending the Jedi Order

With this post, I have to admit, I plan on being all over the place. Normally, I have an outline that I follow like a roadmap, but today, it’s like I have to run a few errands and we’ll see where the day takes us. I will start with the sport of golf. The big controversy of the moment is that some pro-golfers, who are members of the PGA tour, have resigned their membership and joined the Saudi-backed LIV tour. It is funded by the Saudi Arabian commonwealth bank, and any pro-golfer who joined this tour has received criticism for doing so.


These golfers have received criticism for taking the easy way out by taking the endless money of the Saudi government. On the LIV tour, you’re getting paid to play. On the PGA tour, you only get paid if you make the cut. Now these pro-golfers can play well enough to get endorsements and sponsorships, but unless you make the cut on the PGA tour event, these golfers won’t see any money that is worthwhile.


The other criticism that has landed at these pro-golfers’ feet is how can you take money from a government is notorious for human rights violations? This stance is laughable when I hear it. Not that I would ever minimize human rights violations, but for the American sports media to point out the human rights violations of another country is one of the WHITEST things I have ever seen or heard. Keep in mind, these are some of the same sportswriters who criticized Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee to acknowledge the human rights violations here in the United States.


At the end of the day, the sports media is outrage at these pro-golfers for taking generational wealth building money from a from a foreign government riddled with human rights violations. But when it comes to an athlete losing money for taking a knee to acknowledge the human rights violations in his own country, surely, that same media feels he deserves the demise that came to him.


*****


Tideking posted a video clip in one of our group chats featuring movie director, Eromose, on the morning radio show the Breakfast Club, talking about the movie Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, and how its storytellers go out of their way to not have the main hero (Fin played by Jon Boyega), who is black, have a romantic relationship with the story’s main heroine (Ray played by Daisy Ridley), who is white. Subsequently, in their following sequels, the black hero has suggestive romantic incursions with a fellow minority. I think this take was irresponsible and was used like a preacher who cherry picks bible verses to fit the narrative of his sermon.

This take reminds me of my oldest son. He is a theater nerd. A video savant. The administrators at his middle school would literally ask him to come to school early to review their content that was going to be shown during lunch periods and see if there was anything he can add. His theater teacher knows he is the best at what he does. Unfortunately, that theater teacher has to do his job, leaving my son disappointed in the aftermath.


We live in a predominantly white neighborhood, conservative, Trump flags on trees, Let’s Go Brandon signs in the yard. When it comes to this black family, they know better. My kids go to predominantly white schools, with predominantly white faculty and administrators. Going into his 8th grade school year, my son finished off a growth spurt where is no longer mistaken for a little kid anymore.


Each year, the school district has a theater competition where all the middle schools compete. My son just knew he was going to get the lead for the play they were going to perform. I was at least hopeful, but not surprised when he didn’t get it. The theater teacher selected him to be a mere bit player in his play. The devastation and depression were to be expected and I had to hit my son with the hard truth.


The vision of his white theater teacher is not his vision. Sadly, not picking him has nothing to do with his talent. The teacher has to consider the audience (white parents), while my son may be the better talent, the teacher may feel he has to placate to them. This is to be expected when you’re one of the few minorities in the theater program. What I encouraged my son to do was to continue to create his own content. If this is the path he really wants to pursue, this will extend that path by leaps and bounds.


The question I have for Eromose, the Ebbtide Crew, and all of our listeners and readers is why do we as black folks still get outraged on how we are portrayed in white folks’ stories? When are we going to stop getting mad about someone who is not of our culture and does not put us in the narrative that would be more appeasing to us? If the movie, Black Panther, taught us anything is that we can successfully tell our own stories. There was no outrage from white folks when there were only 3 white people with speaking parts in that movie. We’re at the point now where everybody can create their own content.


What bothered me the most about this clip was the disrespect for the Star Wars saga. Within the Ebbtide Crew, I am the Jedi Apologist. The only reason I am that way is because unlike my Ebbtide brethren, I defend them within the story. Letting your intuition and your modern-day interpretation of a time that no human being could actually survive in is a ludicrous position to me. In the case of Star Wars and in all cases of the law, it’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.


To suggest that there was racism involved in Episode VII because the main hero, who was black, didn’t have a romantic relationship with the white heroine is laughable. There was no outrage in Episode IV when the white main hero (Luke) didn’t have a romantic relationship with the white heroine (Leia). Because like in Episode VII, the storyline didn’t suggest it. We found out in later movies WHY they didn’t have romantic relationships.


Furthermore, I would like to know what Eromose saw that indicated that there was romantic tension between Ray and Kylo Ren. Aside from the kiss before Ren’s death, there is nothing that would suggest anything of the sort. Not a flirtation, a flattering glance, NOTHING. This is what I mean by injecting in a harmful interpretation that doesn’t even fit the storyline.


In the new Obi-wan Kenobi series, there has been some actual racist backlash over one of its characters, Reva, the Third Sister (played by Moses Ingram). The fact that she is black, where’s a black hairstyle, and displays a natural essence of symbolic black power on the screen, it simply rubs the intended WHITE AUDIENCE the wrong way. Black people, we show more outrage over a fictitious storyline than this actual racist issue at hand. I’m seeing Ingram’s fellow white male cast members, and white executives come to this black woman’s defense more than us.


Now I’m not saying no one has the right to be offended by racial undertones that one might perceived. I would be naïve myself if I didn’t see how some things can be interpreted. At the end of the day, as a person of color, I know that I am not Star Wars’ intended audience. It was the same for Game of Thrones, Succession, Yellowstone, or any other predominantly white show that sits atop the ratings. These are their stories, and their visions, and while they may acknowledge the minority outrage, it will never hurt their bottom line.


Minorities are now in the position to tell their own stories, from movies to television, to even reality tv. I’m personally fatigued by the outrage now knowing what we’re capable of, knowing what we have access to, and with that access, the specific audience we can hone in and reach out to. If our podcast has taught me anything, while our target audience is guys of our age, middle-aged or approaching middle-aged, to our surprise, it’s the younger demographic that is the bulk of our actual audience.


We have a formula that attracts all ages, where we respect the generation that came before us, while appreciating the new generation that is coming up behind us. But if you’re going to chase the controversy in the content, make sure you know what you’re talking about, and most importantly, prove what you’re talking about.


TL



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