Tuesday, January 26, 2016

STAR WARS: The Force Awakens (Through the eyes of a C.O.W.S Listener)


(GUEST POST)

Tonight I took my son to see the new installment in the STAR WARS franchise. We arrived early and got prime seats, center screen near the back of the theater so that we could have a good view of things. I’ll leave out what I see as minutiae in the first 5-7 minutes of the film and focus on the non-white/black male star; John Boyega. In the film he portrays a “Stormtrooper” who is on his first raiding mission to retrieve a map that has in it’s contents, the location of Luke Skywalker (The last good Jedi). Boyega portrays Stormtrooper “FN-2187” who while on this mission, is ordered to kill the remaining villagers by the new “Darth Vader-like” character but can’t find the nerve or lacks the courage to do so in comparison to all the other Stormtrooper who blast away at the poor victims. He is immediately singled out by the “Darth Vader-like” character that feels something via the “FORCE” (weakness, betrayal…it’s not made clear but there’s something amiss) with FN-2187. FN-2187 returns to base and is exhausted, clearly troubled by the mass murder of the villagers he’d witnessed a few moments earlier. He takes off his helmet and is dripping with sweat, breathing heavily alone in a spacecraft when his superior walks in and asks, “Who told you to take your helmet off?” He puts the helmet on and reports as ordered to have his weapon inspected. Fast forward to FN-2187 rescuing a rebel fighter pilot who was kidnapped from the raid because he may know where the map is. FN-2187 clearly wants to leave his “captors” but needs a pilot…. a “SAVIOR” (in my eyes) so he and the pilot commandeer a spacecraft and escape. FN-2187 who has by all indications, been a Stormtrooper since childhood, behaves and acts nothing like a military trained fighter but more like a confused and afraid child, takes orders from the pilot who by his own words, knows nothing about flying the oppositions spacecraft. The pilot asks FN-2187 “What’s your name?” he replies “FN-2187” (Prisoner #, slave name? both are apt in this context), the pilot says “No, what’s your real name?” (I immediately thought about the scene in roots with Levar Burton; Kunta Kinte vs. Toby) – he says, “This is all I’ve ever been called” – The white pilot says, “I’ll call you Finn” (As in FN – Fucking Nigger came to mind for me) Boyega agrees and accepts his new name.

My antennae went up when on the raid, Boyega’s character couldn’t pull the trigger which took me back to the Walking Dead analysis on The C.O.W.S. and how none of the non-white black male characters had the courage under fire, to pull the trigger – even in the face of life threatening danger. This theme is carried out multiple times with Boyega in this movie – even though at times he fights back but never over takes his opponent convincingly. To get back on track; Finn and the white pilot escape after a gunfight and crash on a nearby planet. Finn wakes up in a desert, totally disoriented but sees smoke over a sand dune and runs to it; the spacecraft has crashed and is on fire; the white pilot is no where to be found, only his jacket remains of which Finn takes as his own and uses as cover from the hot sun. He walks and walks until he comes upon a village. He runs there looking for water, but no one will give him any. He sees a large watering hole where a space creature akin to a large rhinoceros is drinking, and falls on his knees to get a drink – the water is clearly not sanitary but he is so thirsty, he drinks anyway (drinking from the same watering hole as an animal.)


The story goes away from Finn and goes to the evil mother ship where they realize “FN-2187” has ESCAPED! And he’s the one who helped the rebel pilot escape as well. They make it clear that FN-2187 has been “programmed” since childhood and never illustrated any signs of psychological issues and was loyal to the “1ST ORDER”. They even had a picture of a young black boy – maybe 5 or 6 on the screen instead of FN-2187’s current picture as a young man. So in effect, Stormtroopers are “slaves” raised from childhood to fight for their oppressor and FN-2187 is a run-away slave (Note that he was asked “who told you to take your helmet off?” by his superior moments earlier…. in my estimation, all Stormtroopers are non-white black males who have been enslaved to work on the plantation). This paints a much clearer picture of his behavior once viewed through the lens of Racism/White Supremacy. His heavy breathing, sweating, anxiety, lack of confidence, lack of self-control – traits that none of the white characters illustrate, but are stereotypically associated with non-white black people – these are all wrapped up in the character portrayed by John Boyega.


After he drinks from the “Doggy Dish”, he sees the female heroine being harassed because she now has in her possession, the little android that is carrying the map. Word has spread around the galaxy that the android has it/and FN-2187 has escaped so everybody is on the case…The VOLTRON EFFECT. Finn attempts to rescue her from her attackers but stops short after he sees her beat up two men handily. The android recognizes the jacket that Finn is wearing because it belonged to his master who happened to be the white pilot who flew Finn off the plantation. The android tells the heroine who chases Finn down…. a Stormtrooper who’s visibly afraid of a skinny white girl…a Stormtrooper…trained since childhood? She “outsmarts” Finn by basically doing a magic trick and appearing out of nowhere and kicks his butt! He once again appears weak and unable to defend himself even from a woman who is much smaller. They begin to run from more attackers…Finn grabs her hand of which she immediately asks, “Why are you touching me?” …. They end up on the Millennium Falcon (Han Solo’s ship), which was stolen and hidden on this desert planet. Once again, Finn is being ordered around in what could be termed a military environment by a civilian (The heroine) who was just earlier picking up scrap metal and selling it at the junkyard so that she could buy food. He is reduced to being her whipping boy for much of this scene as she orders him to shoot at the opposition’s ships on their tail. While she is proving to be adept at flying a spaceship – he is floundering and bumbling trying to shoot the guns. They end up being captured by Han Solo who wants his ship back and once again – Finn is in a subordinate role to the female who saves his butt from monsters and is being painted more and more as the movie goes on as being savvy, intelligent, brave and versed in the engineering of spaceships.


They go to a planet for refuge and are plotting a plan to find Luke Skywalker of which Finn wants no part…he makes clear that “I can’t go back to that place…I can never go back!” Which sounds more like ex-con, prison-speak the more he says it. He walks out on the crew (Han Solo, Chewbacca, the android and the white female) who are all very composed while he is emotional and running away from the fight. (The Walking Dead)


I’m going to stop here because this theme continues throughout the movie all the way up to the point where Finn fights the villain with Luke Skywalker’s light saber and loses. But in turn, the female heroine (who learns she is a Jedi as the movie goes along) picks up the light saber and defeats the evil antagonist and saves herself and Finn. Finn, who was knocked unconscious by the evil one, ends the movie laying on a hospital bed in a coma. In effect he’s dead, having served no real purpose at all.


What looked to be a tender moment in the making with the female heroine kissing Finn’s lips (Cowbell) – ends up with her kissing his FOREHEAD (Like a mother kissing a child) but – he’s totally unaware and unresponsive to this affection. The movie was entertaining and not much different from other STAR WARS films. I was expecting more from the non-white black male’s character simply because of all the hype associated with his performance. His role was reduced to running…. always running and sweating and looking for guidance, never in control. Han Solo asked him what was his job while he was a Stormtrooper he replied, “I was a Janitor!”…. Even in this depiction of the future, we are running away from slavery. Slavery that has us in servile positions as janitors on the mother ship (plantation).

18 comments:

Moses Rhone Jr. said...

Excellent review! I also noticed that Chewbacca (The Wookie) ends up choking Finn which is a pattern because he also choked another black male in The Empire Strikes Back which is the second installment in the original trilogy.

Sean Ra Ankh said...

Yes
Lando
Billy D Williams

Sean Ra Ankh said...

Billy Dee Williams

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gus T Renegade said...

A comment that has since been deleted attributed inaccurate and anti-black statements to Neely Fuller Jr. The concept referenced is "Eight-Balling". Mr. Fuller defines the concept in this way:

(1) A Term used in a ball game called "pool".

It means, in racial terms, that a white person is directly, or indirectly, the cause of a Black and/or non-white person doing any kind of unjust harm to another Black and/or non-white person.

The purpose for this tactic is to hide the fact that the harm done was caused by the white person who was the master of the situation, and not the non-white person who acted as a mere ignorant, arrogant, and/or fearful, tool and servant.

(2) The practice of White Supremacists (Racists) using their power in such manner as to force, bribe, terrify, etc., some non-white persons, into acts of harm to other non-white persons.

This is from page 255 of Mr. Fuller's Code Book.

Arthur Hill said...

It was brought to my attention that Poe *Pilot/Whiteman* is indeed a Latino....How does this alter the original thought or post of the blogger here? I agree with everything else though. But, the blogger like myself was under the impression that Poe is White when in actuality he is not...Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Finn's trooper code is FN2187. There are several other troopers with similar Id codes (FN2199 - the trooper armed with stun baton)

Him being named Finn has little to do with racism and more to do with FN being pronounced phonetically.

It is his compassion (a good and honest character trait) that costs him on Jakku, not his alleged incompetence or because of the colour of his skin.


Rey getting the jump on him makes sense in the context of the movie - he just crash landed and is completely disoriented. It stands to reason he wouldnt be at full 100.

Rey snapping at him "Why are you touching me" isn't so much racism as it is a reflection of Ray's self independent (Mary sue) characterization.

Rey's idea was to steal the falcon, not Finn. Finn manned the guns, the movie established that he can shoot but can't fly in the scenes prior. There's no issue here - both (white female and black male since we are on the topic of racism) work together to get out of the sitiation! That's the very opposite of racism!

Finn's in constant need of help yes (I noticed this one whilst watching) But this is more to do with poor writing rather than any intended racism.


The kiss scene is fine, it works in the context of the movie. Having Rey full on kiss a then comatose Finn would be weird as hell - there's no need for a lip lock and the sweetness of the scene is still retained; it keeps the door open for their relationship to blossom in the sequels.

TFA has a lot of problems yes (IMO more than any of the prequels). But intentional racism? No. Unintentional and by-productal racism, possibly. Poor writing that is more concerned with having one super strong female lead at the expense of every other character instead of a balanced ensemble cast? Most definitely.

Daniel Kaplan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel Kaplan said...

Holy shit what a misinformed article lol, I am going to have to comment back on his post. Off the top of my head; he didn't do "his job" because the other stormtroopers he trained with and was friends with got killed in the opening act- when the blood of his friend smeared his helmet he had an awakening.. THE FORCE AWAKENS. He didn't steal a coat- it was on the ground in the desert from the crash. He didn't chase Rey he was running from the fucking explosions when the imperials were attacking!! He didn't jack Han's ride he was escaping off planet with the nearest ship available. This shit had better be satire and not an honest to goodness article:
"In my estimation, all Stormtroopers are non-white black males who have been enslaved to work on the plantation" WHAT LOL? SO by his estimation John117 aka Masterchief and the other Spartans would be black slaves as well. SMH
Poe "whose jacket he stole" isn't even white he's fking Latino so I don't get that shit either. He didn't brand him Finn for any other reason than his military name is FN... I can't even go on beyond that but this read is ludicrous and close minded.
On top of that, he fucking not on beat down that enhanced trooper towards the end of the movie but he also went face to face with the leader of the Knights of Ren- Kylo.. so him being weak? Nah.. just nah
What pisses me off the most here is that if Finn was just another white dude there wouldn't be shit said but because he is a black actor in a predominately white movie.

Anonymous said...

Great assessment of the movie. There's definitely a pattern of portrayal between this movie and The Walking Dead. I think it speaks volumes about the study of racism/white supremacy, what it is and how it works. It's not simply entertainment. Again, excellent piece.

Ed said...

I don't even know where to begin with how poorly thought out this article is.

Anonymous said...

Great review. Very constructive. I was going to pay to see this movie but after reading this fantastic review decided not to.Thanks.

totalblack said...

You do know this story is based in a galaxy far far away a long time ago...not the future?

Rahman HALFBLOC ENT Fleming said...

well...i think someone kind of already said my comment...so ill just simply agree. While as a proud black man...Boyega aka Finn role in this movie leaves much to be desired. However i dont think it was intentional racism....i think, as one commenter stated...it is possible unintentional racism, and mainly poor writing that created much imbalance in the movie.

The problem in my opinion is this....Black people for so long have had our image tarnished...and outright nearly destroyed....we have been falsely portrayed as savage, unintelligent, unattractive, fearful, cowardly, criminal...and every other possible negative description you can think of. So at the very least we are extremely sensitive about our image in any portrayal because most portrayals have been bad.

So any portrayal of us that may seem to reinforce any of the historical negative portrayals we have had tp contend with, we automatically assume are intentional. And thing is...some are inadvertently intentional...because the fact is...many whites just like many of us...have been brainwashed with false history an false stereotypes....because some simply dont know any better

meme said...

Every movie has an audience that I is meant to target and a message, and a plot. I have to disagree with poorly written.

Antoine Ward said...

Lol dee the movie fool. Most of the things written is false.

Anonymous said...

You know, I found this blog by the same process that made this blog possible. Over reaching for something, simply because I hadn't researched enough. so FN-2187... I couldn't figure out what the hell FN would designate in the military. but I instantly picked up on the number, 187 = murder / kill... "(As in FN – Fucking Nigger came to mind for me)" = Fucking Nigger 2 Kill... Fucking Nigger to Kill.

I'm still not sure what the FN designates, but a quick search shows that 2187, 21/87, 21-87.. are to pay homage to George Lucas' film class, it's been in ever movie he has made, it was even the cell number princess leia was being held in!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/star-wars-the-force-awakens/finn-john-boyega-george-lucas-fn-2187/

Maybe FN = Huckleberry Finn, Finn, FN... Conclusions are easy to skew before we take the time to educate ourselves. because before we break through our own ignorance, these skewed explanations seem so plausible! And after rational, informed, and hey deductive reasoning, we can form an educated opinion.

Same can be said for all that is going on in the world. we jump to conclusions! me for instance, I'm Cuban-American for clarification, but 100% American. But unless I cary a DNA report, I'm treated like Whity McCracker... even though my grandfather left Cuba to get away from Castro's dictatorship and oppression!

Perspective. We all need some fresh perspective!

Slim Jim Longfoot said...

I just showed my dad this movie for first time tonight....January 4, 2017...this my first time trying to watch the movie since the night it came out.....I had such high hopes because Jon was sooooooo great in Attack the Block.....but everything original poster said I saw when first seeing the movie except the now obvious thing that my dad pickrd up when he first heard him called FN.....My dad said on first thought...so his name Fucking Nigger? I bust out in laughter because everything else was so obvious to me and this made it crystal clear.....smdh. Blessings everyone