No. It is not racist.
Perhaps you saw it, too. An African American commentator on MSNBC made the audacious claim that Star Wars is racist. After all, Darth Vader wears a black outfit, “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.”
As a Star Wars fan, I find this conspiracy theory to be ludicrous and absurd. She has no idea what she’s talking about. The dichotomy of black/white or darkness/light is not about race. It’s a concept about good and evil that transcends race (not to mention that Storm Troopers, the classic evil henchmen, wear white).
It’s a strong biblical theme, and the Bible is a book written BY non-whites (sorry, white people, if you didn’t know that by now). The Bible is written by Middle Eastern men—brown dudes (and possibly a dudette, depending on your view of the authorship of Hebrews—but that’s a debate for another time and place).
Darkness has long been associated with what is less-than-good. Bad guys do their work under cover of night. Night conceals and hides the truth. Job talks about God as one who “reveals mysteries from the darkness and brings the deepest darkness into the light.” The Psalmist declares: Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”
The Gospel of John says about Jesus:
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:4-5)
Indeed, even Jesus says of himself:
“I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me would not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)
See—even brown-skinned people use the dark/light and black/white dichotomy to talk about good vs. evil. Star Wars isn’t racist—it’s a representation of the classic struggle all of humanity faces.
But here’s the kicker—in Star Wars, the struggle between the good side and the dark side of the Force is a Yin/Yang balancing act. Good and Evil are equal opposites.
This is not the biblical perspective.
In the Bible there is no evil that equals God’s goodness. There is no darkness that is comparable to God’s light. Every power is subservient to the Almighty. There is no balance to the Force—there is only Jesus, the light that cannot be comprehended or overcome by the darkness.
So every time you watch Star Wars, do so with a racially guilt-free conscience. And as we wrestle with our own good side and dark side, remember that we know the ultimate outcome.
(and just for fun, here’s one of my favorite Benny Hinn videos!)
Photo © Pinewood Studios