Following the release of ‘Star Wars : The Last Jedi’, actress Kelly Marie Tran felt forced to delete her instagram profile after reportedly receiving racist, misogynistic messages from fans who did not like her character. Tran starred in The Last Jedi film as the character Rose Tico; she was the first Asian-American actress to land a lead female role in a Star Wars film. Stephen Colbert stated these hateful messages as ‘terrible’.
Sci-fi fanatics and geeks around the globe were pumped for the latest Star Wars film, ‘Solo : A Star Wars Story’ when it premiered in theaters. Star Wars has become an American classic series capturing the hearts of nerds everywhere. Once thought of as innocent and intelligent, nerds and geeks are now being labeled racist and cruel. Star Wars films have been moving towards a more multicultural and gender-equal cast, but it seems fans will have a hard time adjusting to the race diversity. This is a very disappointing realization many believe. The racism issue facing America stretches farther than Star Wars films though it affects even the beloved nerds.
The United States has been dealing with a multitude of racist and misogynistic attitudes from its citizens for as long as the country has been developing. Now it seems race has become a more serious issue than the public believed so. While many people were concerned for the divide of the country, others felt more freedom to express their suppressed racism. In 2015, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) presented a map showing every confederate symbol displayed and the count reached 1,503. In 2017, the number of symbols rose to 1,728.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of ‘Everybody Lies’, said in a recent interview, “Google is a digital truth serum”. Stephens-Davidowitz has spent five years examining data using Google Trends, a tool which enables a person to track the frequency of a search made in a given area over a set time period. The data Stephens-Davidowitz gathered gave him an understanding.
“First thing was that the level of racism in this country was a lot higher than I had realized. I think a lot of people thought that Trump would be done as soon as he started saying all these racially charged things. I think when you look at this internet data, you see the demand for this type of material,” Stephens-Davidowitz said in the interview, “I mean, I had even been studying white nationalist sites like Stormfront for a long time, long before most people knew about it, and still I was shocked by how widespread the appeal of these sites were.”
The end result: America is still racist, and so are our nerds. So whether you’re an Asian female starring in a Star Wars film or a Black male sitting in a Starbucks, racism is still a situation minorities face today while this mental epidemic still continues.