The Chinese promotional poster for the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens film has been widely criticized by fans as being “racist” with the character played by black actor John Boyega inexplicably being shrunken in size.
Also, Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, Maz Kanata and the wookie Chewbacca have been entirely removed while the stormtrooper army has been enlarged to fill up the missing space. For the redesign, they must have enlisted aid from those white power imperials on vacation at the Great Wall from earlier this year.
However, state media organ, The Global Times, has managed to find a few “analysts” to dismiss any claims of racism.
Chen Qiuping, the head of the scriptwriter branch of the Beijing Film Institution, disputes the claims of racism, citing that “it would be unfair to criticize Chinese audiences for discriminating against the black actor.” Her rationale: “the poster is merely a promotion method and an individual case.”
On social media platforms across the internet, netizens would like to know what promotional methods specific for Chinese audiences called for minimizing the black actor’s role in the film.
Meanwhile, Steven Dong, professor at the Communication University of China’s Academy of Media and Public Affairs, argues that “as a multi-ethnic country, there is no discrimination against black people in China.” He went on to say, “Chinese people and Africans have maintained a friendly relationship.”
The film itself has been praised for its diverse cast, in comparison to older Star Wars films.
In a recent interview with Verge, Boyega talked about the film’s diversity, saying:
Yeah, you are aware of it to a certain extent, but it quickly becomes so natural, because that’s our [real] world. It just works. So it’s not something that you go, “Gosh, leading female and black male.” It feels like an ensemble of people that work. Obviously everybody’s been chosen based on their skills and based on their ability. But the fact that also, we’re reflective of the world we live in today is fantastic. Apart from the Wookiees and the green people. We’re giving them attention just in case that happens. You never know where the melanin is gonna go. It could go pink. You never know.
The film will be released in Chinese theaters on January 9th.
By Mary DeMay