- The Washington Times - Monday, December 14, 2015

MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry made the argument Sunday that “Star Wars” is racist because Darth Vader is black.

“I know why I have feelings — good, bad and otherwise — about Star Wars. And I have a lot,” Ms. Harris-Perry said during a segment on her eponymous talk show discussing race and gender in the upcoming Star Wars film. “I could spend the whole day talking about the whole Darth Vader situation.”

“Really? You could?” The New York Times’ Wesley Morris asked incredulously.

Ms. Harris-Perry responded, “Yeah, like, the part where he was totally a black guy whose name basically was James Earl Jones, who, and we were all, but while he was black, he was terrible and bad and awful and used to cut off white men’s hands, and didn’t, you know, actually claim his son. But as soon as he claims his son and goes over to the good, he takes off his mask and he is white. Yes, I have many, many feelings about that.”

Mediaite’s “resident Star Wars experts” have taken Ms. Harris-Perry to task over the claims.

“Darth Vader first tells Luke that he is his father when he is still in his black armor, or ‘a black guy’ as she puts it. There was never a point where he didn’t ‘claim his son’; as soon as he discovered Luke was alive, he took steps to reunited the family and ‘rule the galaxy as father and son,” wrote Mediaite columnist Alex Griswold.

“The decision to dub over Darth Vader’s voice with Jones’ was made in post-production. He was originally voiced with a Scottish accent,” he added.

“The notion that dark is evil and light is good is a well-established literary trope that predates American race politics, and dates back to the Bible,” Mr. Griswold argued. “Of course Vader is depicted as white when his helmet comes off. As the father of lily white Luke and Leia, it would have been a little jarring if he was a Korean dude or something.”

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