Racism and religion in Star wars Episode v
Racism was very prevalent in 1970. White people believed that they were special than other races and white privilege was mainstream. Other races such as African Americans were treated with suspicion as in the case today but back then it was worse. Films in the 70s often featured black people only when they were villains in a story and never superheroes. Starwars may have won the popularity award, but it was no different from other films when it came to racial issues.
First, all the superheroes fighting for good in ‘The Empire fights back’ are all white characters. It would not have hurt to include even one black person on the journey towards rescuing others. All characters except for Lando are just white. There is little representation of other races as well in the film. Secondly, all the leaders of anything are also white. Princess Leia is the leader of the Rebel Alliance and Han Solo is also considered a leader as he helps Princess Leia and both are considered heroes. Even the highest position in the land which is the Emperor’s position is controlled by a white man. The emperor is responsible for making decisions for others like white leaders in the 70s. In the movie, white privilege does not go unnoticed especially with the way Princess Leia is treated. ‘The Empire fights back’ certainly did not give a chance to other races to be leading heroes.
In a movie, which is predominantly white, the only African American person encountered in the story is painted in a negative image. In the 70s, black men were treated as violent men and law breakers and this film portrays that in the character of Lando. In telling Lando’s story, he is portrayed as an outlaw and a thief in his past. In the present even Han Solo who has a similar history as an outlaw judges Lando, the way white people were fond of doing in the 70s. He is surprised that Lando now runs a business and utterly surprised that it is a legitimate business. Han expects that Lando is a crook in his business dealings. Lando afterwards earns himself the traitor mark when he betrays Han Solo to the people he is escaping from. He is a villain and only redeems his character when he saves a white man by rescuing Han.Racism and religion in Star wars Episode v
The presence of a ‘black torture robot’ in the film is also a subtle nudge at racism. Black people in the 70s were viewed as violent people and it is no wonder that the only torture machine available is given the name ‘black torture robot.’
Religion in the 70s was marked with a lot of confusion. The biggest religion then was Christianity. However, in this period the church underwent several revolutions with groups breaking off to form their own mini churches. In Starwars five religion and especially Christianity is revealed in the form of ‘the Force.’ In this allegory, ‘the Force’ has all characteristics of Christianity. Christianity has believers who are known as the Jedis. Just like the Christian bible has teachings about the faith, Jedis have teachings too. Like the pastors or spiritual leaders that guide Christians in the teachings, ‘the Force’ has Master Yoda who guides Luke. Luke is determined to learn about the teachings of ‘the Force’ just the way Christians do in learning about their religion. In the story, ‘the Force’ is portrayed as an old religion just as Christianity is.
Christianity is a religion that preaches peace and justice. In the movie, this is represented by the Jedis who are known as the guardians of peace and justice. Christianity is deeply about faith. When one is converted they are asked if they believe so it all about believing in a higher power, mightier than mortal souls. In the movie, Master Yoda keeps telling Luke to forget all the things he knows and just believe. He encourages Luke to believe in ‘the Force’ which is a higher power. Luke Skywalker desperately wants to defeat the evil Galactic Empire just the way Christians want to defeat ‘the kingdom of the devil.’Racism and religion in Star wars Episode v
Christianity is made up of two sides, the light, which represents all good things and the other side which is the devils side and represents all things bad. In the movie, the Dark side is a representation of the devil that is against peace and justice and the good people are out destroying the Dark side. The film introduces other forms or trends in spirituality as well that are not necessarily Christian. It alleges to spirituality and Buddhism in some instances. All forms of spirituality and religion portrayed in the film however are just an allegory as they do not mention any particular religion.