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Asian Jedi? Nowhere to be found.

#1 User is offline   njamilla Icon

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 05:23 AM

I just posted the following after seeing a huge thread on a SW.com message board entitled Isn't it time for a prominant Female role for a Jedi.

"In the whole of the series, there has not been a single male Jedi (or any other role) in the entire Saga. If the Jedi were supposed to be inspired by the samurai, you'd think that at least there'd be a token Asian somewhere. And doesn't that say a lot; that I'd settle for a token Asian over none at all."

Am I just pissing in the wind gripping about a silly fairness issue?
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Posted 18 May 2004 - 06:47 AM

I wish there was some more racial diversity in the Star Wars universe period. For example, even in the original trilogy, it seemed that Lando was the only black man in the galaxy.

It's funny you should mention Asian Jedi though because I've started a re-write of Episode VI and Vwing has challenged me to see if I can fit in the "other hope" that Yoda alluded to in The Empire Strikes Back.

And I'm thinking of making her a Mara Jade type character, except she works for Darth Vader. And I was also intending to make her an Asian woman.*

Well, Asian in appearance at least. Asia is not on any planet in the Star Wars universe but you know what I mean.
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#3 User is offline   Laura Icon

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 10:22 AM

Wasn't he referring to Leia?
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Posted 18 May 2004 - 10:28 AM

In Return of the Jedi, they made out that he was referring to Leia. But in The Empire Strikes Back, the "other hope" could have been anyone... and a lot of people like myself believe Lucas just made Leia the other one to cop out of resolving a difficult plot thread.

My re-write of Episode VI (about 3% complete at this stage and in all likelihood, may never get finished at all) is a very different alternative story from the Return of the Jedi. I'm maintaining almost none of the original elements.
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#5 User is offline   Laura Icon

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 11:16 AM

I think it makes sense, if you're keeping the idea that Leia and Luke are brother and sister. It makes sense to me that they could have a similar destiny if they're both of the same lineage.

I actually don't have that much of a problem with Jedi. It's definitely three out of three, quality wise, and everything that happens on the Ewok planet is stupid, but the major plot elements that finish off the series leave me content.
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Posted 18 May 2004 - 01:31 PM

If there was ONE change to ROTJ, I would've had Leia be ANOTHER Jedi rather than another Skywalker. She would've been the true last hope as she would carry on the lineage of Jedi, but....

As for diversity in Star Wars. I guess I'm unbothered by it. I get a little raw about how nowadays there has to be "diversity" in everything. Why?
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Posted 18 May 2004 - 02:38 PM

There was an Asian female Jedi in the arena battle in Episode 2.
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#8 User is offline   njamilla Icon

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 02:42 PM

A lot of people (especially younger people) see diversity as a non-issue because they're so used to treating everyone as an equal. The problem is that predudices have become subconscious and that because we see the world as a "better place" we assume there is no more racist bigotry in our society.

Being in the education field in which Brown v. Education was just celebrated, I can tell you that schools (and corporations) often talk the talk of diversity (but donít really believe it), or they think tokenism has alleviated racial bigotry.

Most people whoíve followed my posts already know that Iím openly gay, and unabashed about it. At a small education workshop a few months ago, a principal came up to me after I shared some of my experiences as a homosexual and asked how he could get members of his staff (whom he knew to be gay) to feel comfortable enough to come out of the closet. I said to him that were I on his faculty I would need to hear over and over his committment to GLBT topics at faculty meetings, in the school literature, and in ad hoc meetings with parents, faculty, and students. OK, so who cares except a bunch of fags?

Letís apply it to racial diversity. If youíre truly not afraid of someone from another race, you go out of the way to make it known, especially if youíre an institutional entity which desires to promote racial diversity. I don't mean you wear it on you sleeve as a badge, but where you have the opportunity to express your disdain for racist thinking, you squash it verbally so it's absolutely clear where you stand. Why is racial diversity necessary? Well, whatís the alternative? A bigoted society. And for progressive schools, leadership recognizes that the student body has to reflect society, which is more and more diverse.

Yeah, yeah, what do I care? If thatís the first thing that comes to your mind, youíre obviously in the empowered part of society. Probably youíre white. Living in a city where there is racial prejudice will show you how the bigotry creates injustice in large and small ways; from not being able to get an apartment to parents assuming you (the teacher) are a bus driver, simply because youíre black. I must say that for all of my respect for Japanese culture, there is a huge assumption that non-Japanese are lesser races. In China, itís part of their historical identity. In the West, where we purport to have done away with a colonial or racially prejudiced society, itís utterly shameful that bigotry still exists.

I posted my initial comments on SW.comís message boards and a quick check shows me that people are more apt to post a joke about the topic or make some ignorant statement that itís not an issue. I assume SW.comís patrons to be younger people, but it also confirms many of the observations that Iíve made elsewhere Ė that the dismissal of racism in society is in itself essentially a racist statement. Someone even posted a picture of Niem Numb as a picture of an Asian. How blatantly racist is that?

I donít believe for an instance that GL is bigoted in the supposedly racial stereotypes he created in EP 1, but to look at it from a different perspective, racial diversity in a movie saga which purports a universal message (whatever that may be) is not high in their list of priorities. Remember the original Star Trek? They went to pains to reflect humanity by including a black woman (Uhura), an alien (Spock), and, beyond all belief, a Russian (Chekov) at the height of the cold war.

And notice that my post was about a MALE Asian Jedi. The latent prejudice also occurs with gender issues. I might be gay, but I usually hang out with a bunch of guys. I drink, talk, and piss like a guy. But I'm a minority in the female dominated world of teaching. My many gender conversations have opened my view to many issue I never would have considered had I not openly listened to my female counter parts.

This post has been edited by njamilla: 18 May 2004 - 03:21 PM

Author: Sword Fighting in the Star Wars Universe.
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Posted 18 May 2004 - 08:14 PM

A lot of people (especially younger people)

Define young. I'm 35. And I wrote that post about "why diversity?"

see diversity as a non-issue because they're so used to treating everyone as an equal.

Well, God, yes, it SHOULD be a non-issue. It's been beaten into our heads enough that awareness is like second nature, but I don't think it doesn't always serve the purpose it should.

The problem is that predudices have become subconscious

How do you know that? Can you read their minds? I think some people LOOK for racist intent in too many things.

and that because we see the world as a "better place" we assume there is no more racist bigotry in our society.

I don't think anyone is that naive.

Face it, it will NEVER be a John Lennon utopia. There will always be this weird disparage between humans. It's just something you've got to accept. Do you have to put up with it? No, you don't have to, but don't expect the world to move in the direction you envision.


Don't you think that in some ways by being made AWARE of diversity makes people MORE prejudice? Diversity in education actually makes people too aware. When we're trying to erase the color line, or whatever line you've got, it doesn't help to have programs that POINT OUT THAT YOUR BLACK/ASIAN/GAY/WHATHAVEYOU>>>as you've stated above.

Being in the education field in which Brown v. Education was just celebrated, I can tell you that schools (and corporations) often talk the talk of diversity (but donít really believe it), or they think tokenism has alleviated racial bigotry.

Yes, tokenism is bane.

Most people whoíve followed my posts already know that Iím openly gay, and unabashed about it.

I didn't know that, and it doesn't matter to me. You being a interested SW fan does. How did diversity serve there? smile.gif

At a small education workshop a few months ago, a principal came up to me after I shared some of my experiences as a homosexual and asked how he could get members of his staff (whom he knew to be gay) to feel comfortable enough to come out of the closet. I said to him that were I on his faculty I would need to hear over and over his committment to GLBT topics at faculty meetings, in the school literature, and in ad hoc meetings with parents, faculty, and students. OK, so who cares except a bunch of fags?

Good point.

Letís apply it to racial diversity. If youíre truly not afraid of someone from another race, you go out of the way to make it known, especially if youíre an institutional entity which desires to promote racial diversity.

Why? If you're truly not afraid of another race, it should never be an issue. I, for one, don't want schools to know on applications what your race is. What would the point be? What importance is if you're black and you want to go to school for engineering... or ballet? And why should a school or business "make it known?"

Also, for affirmative action ought to be insulting to a black/gray/asian/whathaveyou person. Affirmative Action says, "because you are too dumb, too BLACK to get into a school... you need government help."

I don't mean you wear it on you sleeve as a badge, but where you have the opportunity to express your disdain for racist thinking, you squash it verbally so it's absolutely clear where you stand.

That's fine.


Why is racial diversity necessary? Well, whatís the alternative? A bigoted society. And for progressive schools, leadership recognizes that the student body has to reflect society, which is more and more diverse.

It'll never work if diversity stays! Mix the races! Integrate! That's what I'm for! Why keep people separate? Diversity keeps people separate. Ameria has worked for years with mixing and incorporating ideas and concepts (a melting pot), but the "diversity" I see today is all about entitlement. "I'm Indian, you oppressed me.. give me money." "I'm Asian, you oppressed me... give me money." "You must respect MY culture and MY heritage, and MY ideals, but I don't have to respect the rules, laws, and mores of this country, no way, no how... now give me money for being oppressed." If you keeping POINTING out that people are so different, it's just going to perpetuate!

Yeah, yeah, what do I care? If thatís the first thing that comes to your mind, youíre obviously in the empowered part of society.

Oh please.

Probably youíre white. Living in a city where there is racial prejudice will show you how the bigotry creates injustice in large and small ways; from not being able to get an apartment to parents assuming you (the teacher) are a bus driver, simply because youíre black.

See, you just stereotyped. How do you know that I'm not black. And, you know what, I AM a bus driver. NOW what stereotypes come to your mind. You're just as bad as everyone else.

I must say that for all of my respect for Japanese culture, there is a huge assumption that non-Japanese are lesser races. In China, itís part of their historical identity. In the West, where we purport to have done away with a colonial or racially prejudiced society, itís utterly shameful that bigotry still exists.

I'd rather have the bigotry in this country than in Iraq, Korean, China, or any other socialist-communist hell.

I posted my initial comments on SW.comís message boards and a quick check shows me that people are more apt to post a joke about the topic or make some ignorant statement that itís not an issue.

Then they deal with it in their own way. You're not the diversity police. Nobody should be.

I assume SW.comís patrons to be younger people, but it also confirms many of the observations that Iíve made elsewhere Ė that the dismissal of racism in society is in itself essentially a racist statement.

To me accepting diversity is NOT having to talk about it. If someone is interested in your race/culture/whathaveyou, they'll ask.

Someone even posted a picture of Niem Numb as a picture of an Asian. How blatantly racist is that?

Under what context? Was this a "Lucas does include diversity" statement, or was it a "younger" person who was actually being racist and belittling it?

I donít believe for an instance that GL is bigoted in the supposedly racial stereotypes he created in EP 1,

Never thought he was purposely racist, either. He just made some dumb choices that happen to look racist. Actually feel sorry the guy, especially when his company employs so many diverse people, and he rewards them admirably.

but to look at it from a different perspective, racial diversity in a movie saga which purports a universal message (whatever that may be) is not high in their list of priorities. Remember the original Star Trek? They went to pains to reflect humanity by including a black woman (Uhura), an alien (Spock), and, beyond all belief, a Russian (Chekov) at the height of the cold war.

I think Star Trek went overboard, too, yes.

And notice that my post was about a MALE Asian Jedi. The latent prejudice also occurs with gender issues.

What's wrong with it being a male Asian Jedi? What's the conflict?

I might be gay, but I usually hang out with a bunch of guys. I drink, talk, and piss like a guy. But I'm a minority in the female dominated world of teaching. My many gender conversations have opened my view to many issue I never would have considered had I not openly listened to my female counter parts.

I'm hetero, and I get the same perspective from my wife and daughters. smile.gif

And add to that, I have black friends, I have Asian friends, I have gay friends. Their "diversity" is not the foundation of our friendships. I have issues with some of their views, but that doesn't change how I feel about them.
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#10 User is offline   Chefelf Icon

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 08:21 PM

What about that Asian B-wing pilot in ROTJ?

...


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#11 User is offline   CowboyCurtis Icon

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 11:44 PM

I was going to say that, too.

I think Lucas has plenty of diversity (well, ethnicity) in his films. I don't know what people are complaining about. Well, the Jar Jar think went astray, but still.. he tried. smile.gif Just like everything else. laugh.gif
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All I know is I haven't seen the real prequels yet.
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Posted 19 May 2004 - 12:21 AM

Chefelf raised a good point - there was an Asian B-Wing pilot, I remember that. And there was a black X-Wing pilot as well.
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#13 User is offline   njamilla Icon

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 08:09 AM

Commoner: I think you made some great points. There are alternative sides to looking at every issue and they should be made. You don't have to accept my arguments, and you certainly can see facts or observe society in the way you see it. It's everyone's perogative.

I think to do take many of my comments personally, and I admit that I am as much biased, prejudiced, and bigoted in many ways. But in what way? I'm bigoted against stupid people. I'm prejudiced against intolerant people. I also hold racist views (ergo, my comment about the Japanese). And I've been heard to repeat racist statement about my own ethnicity. And I also tell fag jokes. I'm not pointing fingers specifically at people, but if people get irate then at least the dialog is started. I'm not saying that people have to be perfect in their thinking or perfect in their intentions or perfect in their actions, but if a person isn't aware that there are problems, nothing will change.

It seems equality issues are shoved down your throat and that we should all get over "it". There are a lot of people who haven't gotten over the color, race, ethnicity. And in my experience it doesn't matter if the person has no education or a PhD.

We're certainly not homogeneous in our views (which is a good thing), and people live their lives the way they want. But in terms of society, individuals and institutions have a different dynamics. So the way individuals and institutions achieve certain goals have to differ. If people think that bigoty and racism will go away because we're more enlightened, they're deeply mistaken. If insitutuions don't want to be aware of race, gender, ethnicity, orientation, agism issues, they don't have to. But when problems with these issues come up, people ask themselves what could have been done.
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#14 User is offline   Ferris Wiel Icon

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 09:02 AM

QUOTE (njamilla @ May 19 2004, 08:09 AM)
Commoner: I think you made some great points. There are alternative sides to looking at every issue and they should be made. You don't have to accept my arguments, and you certainly can see facts or observe society in the way you see it. It's everyone's perogative.

Just a question, but have you read The New Thought Police by Tammy Bruce? It is a very interesting read and, while I disagree with her at several points, she makes many more that are brilliant. It may well be worth checking out.

--FW
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#15 User is offline   Vwing Icon

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 08:39 PM

I don't know if any of you have seen it, but there's a South Park episode where the town is split over the town flag, which shows 5 white men hanging a black man, and Chef, as the only black man in town, is the only adult really appalled by it, the others thinking it is a part of the town's history. The kids do a debate about it, with, surprisingly, Kyle, Kenny, and Stan talking in favor of the flag. But it turns out later that they thing the flag is OK because they "don't think there is anything wrong with showing killing, since all animals kill." When Chef tells them about how it was wrong because white men were killing a black man, they respond "But we thought race didn't matter, that you should look as everyone being the same." I think that's a great point, and Commoner raised it. When people point out race, it just encourages racism. Eventually, we have to see that flag as some people killing another people. When we do that, we will truly not be racist.

There's also a great part in Heinlein's Moon is a Harsh Mistress. The main character is from the colony Luna (the moon), where there are millions of different people of different races, but since the issue of race is never even brought up, they are not racist. While back on Earth, there is a great line that I can't believe I don't remember fully, about how people on earth try so hard to be NOT racist, to point out why racism is bad, that they end up just propagating it.
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