First, we are in the third day of the fundraising drive here on WARN and ChaunceyDeVega.com
I would like to thank the nice folks who have donated so far--"thank you" notes are forthcoming. We are about a fifth of the way towards the goal for this fundraiser. Once reached, I can stop my NPR-like begging bowl requests.
The site is hard work (Example: I am finishing up the podcast with Henry Girioux that will be posted tomorrow, I also have several longer essays and other pieces forthcoming both this and next week)
One of the topics we have spent a good amount of time discussing here on WARN, is science fiction, race, and genre entertainment more broadly. As you know, I am a Star Wars aficionado and supposed "expert" (meaning quoted on the TV machine) on the topic (I remind folks of that 2 seconds of documentary fame every chance I get).
The Chauncey DeVega Show has featured two podcasts exclusively devoted to Star Wars where I sat down with fellow Force user and friend of WARN "Bill the Lizard" to talk about The Trilogies. I have also been lucky enough to speak with Adilifu Nama, author of the great book Black Space, about race, science fiction, and the colorline. I have also written about my experiences at the World Science Fiction Convention.
Several years ago, the continuity of Star Wars was greatly simplified by Disney's decision to make all of what is known as the "expanded universe" non-canonical. Those stories are now interesting legends but are no longer the bonafide truth and history of the events and people chronicled in the Star Wars movies. Official Star Wars now consists of the movies, the recent cartoon series, the new books, and the comic book series by Dark Horse.
The great and damn talented Jason Aaron (if you have not read Scalped you must do so immediately, the Force commands you!), who writes the comic book series has just thrown the Star Wars universe one hell of a swerve. It would seem, at least for now--we do not know how the story will play out--that Han Solo's "wife" is a black woman. Her name? "Sana Solo".
Star Wars is not a story about a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away. It is a reflection of the sensibilities, concerns, anxieties, hopes, dreams, worries, and political and social issues of the present. The new Star Wars films and other related materials are a reflection of the multiracial and multicultural reality of the world. The whiteness of science fiction was never a universal and accurate description of humanity. Rather, it was a narrow reflection of a type of racial myopia and de facto white supremacy of a small subset of the human population, white men, who penned and authored its supposedly most important and canonical "golden age" works.
As I have said on many other occasions, Star Wars can have the Force, robots, space stations the size of planets, and faster than light speed, but somehow non-white humans are a rarity. Jason Aaron and J.J. Abrams are rectifying that failure in worldbuilding and narrative logic.
In the Star Wars universe, species difference is much more important than superficial markers such as skin color among humans. However, race and gender are the dominant "floating signifiers" of modernity in the West.
I wonder, how many white racist (and other) uber geeks' heads will explode, their spirits disrupted as though millions of voices cried out and were suddenly silenced?