There’s plenty of racism abound in fandom (the more outlandish backlash to Miles Morales is freshest in my mind), but sometimes in the hustle to cry foul, critics claim ridiculous offences. Recently a LEGO set modeled after Jabba the Hutt’s Tatooine palace was released, and besides draining my bank account of much needed booze funds, the toy has drawn the ire of the Turkish Cultural Community.
They argue that the toy set, which is modeled after the locale from 1983’s RETURN OF THE JEDI (kinda late for ill timed outrage, isn’t it?), is a perverted version of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia mosque and, in addition, Jabba is an obvious stand-in for the Muslim Terrorist stereotype.
If this Star Wars set were actually meant to mimic a mosque, and Jabba the Hut was indeed a surrogate for Muslim terrorists, then the critics would have a fair argument. BUT… the architecture of Tatooine is meant to mirror North Africa, Tunisia to be exact, which is where the original movies where filmed. Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, the two Jedi heroes of the trilogy, both lived in homes of similar build to Jabba’s (with far less intergalactic cocaine and blue skinned alien hookers, of course).
In the modern developed world, we’re obligated to listen to each others’ critiques and opinions, but some of them are simply indignant nonsense. Now, I know that’s a loaded statement, and I wouldn’t want to anyone to interpret this as saying “Well, most people are easily offended and I can say whatever I want!”, because that’s not the point at all… But while openly discussing racism, especially in film and fandom, the most important issues at hand can eventually yield to nonsense. Not only does this distract from the larger issues (Why does Star Wars lack diversity? Why is Leia relegated to stripper duty? Why the fuck are there Ewoks?), but it turns eager minds away!