In reference to college students today, Jerry Seinfeld said, “They just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist’; ‘That’s sexist’; ‘That’s prejudice.’ They don’t know what they’re talking about.” Am I and my fellow college students prone to incorrect accusations of racism, sexism, or other forms of discrimination? Tension surrounds issues of discrimination in American culture today. Historically, few movie series have had as great an impact on American culture as Star Wars. However, at the release of The Phantom Menace, some critics accused George Lucas of writing a character in Jar-Jar Binks that exhibits historic racial tropes dating back to black minstrelsy. Jar-Jar received the most attention, but smaller characters such as Watto and the Neimoidians also appeared to exhibit various racial stereotypes. My research will examine Star Wars closely and present the arguments both for and against a reading of Star Wars as racially insensitive. Through this, I hope to clarify the reasoning for both sides which can often be informal and implied. In this way, Star Wars will serve as a way into broader consideration of polarization surrounding political correctness in today’s culture.
When I began my write-up, I came face-to-face with a problem I had been skating around this entire project: the issue of officer-involved crime is vast, with many winding rabbit holes. I am not too proud to admit that I got caught in a number of such rabbit holes. For this project, I have done research on such topics as economic disparity in the black community, graduation and employment rates among blacks, and profiles of men and women killed by police officers. While all these are related to officer-involved shootings, none of my findings allowed me to say more about the topic than had already been said, which is, basically, that the economic inequalities of blacks and poor training of police officers also contribute to the incidence of such shootings. Social reasons and the effects of police training were worth exploring, but all the evidence and research I found in these areas was anecdotal and didn’t clearly suggest a potential change that could begin to alleviate the situation. I fell back instead on the part of my research that had been the precipitate of this project in the first place: an analysis of why it was legally justified for such shootings to occur. Laws, I figured, could eventually be changed.
This will be a common burial-place where all shall meet on terms of common fellowship and brotherhood. Every dear relation in life, severed by death, shall be found restored again in these grounds— husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister, shall be reunited here. Friend shall meet friend here; and enemies, too, shall meet, there enmities all forgotten. Yonder city, where, as every where in life, the harmonies of society are apt to be broken by petty feuds, by ungentle rivalries, by disturbing jealousies, by party animosities, by religious dissensions, shall, one after another, as death singles them out, send up her multitudinous population to these grounds, and here they shall take their respective places, in amiable proximity to each other, peaceful, harmonious, undisturbed and undisturbing, the same shadows deepening on them, the same sun-light over them, resting in the same hope…