The Most Racist Lego Ever

jabba

The Lego Group came under fire this week for promoting a building set that has been described as racist.

This is serious people.

The offending set is based on the palace of Jabba the Hutt, as depicted in 1983’s Science Fiction Film “The Return of the Jedi”. What’s interesting to me is the fact that while Lego is merely portraying something that has been widely viewed for nearly 30 years, no one has ever complained about the film version of Jabba and his house.

As someone with an extremely long and involved history of enjoying the Lego brand, I feel that I can safely say that not only is the new Jabba’s Palace Playset not racist, it isn’t even the most offensive set that Lego has ever produced.

Late last year Lego made waves during the Christmas season for offending critics with their new “Friends” line of toys. In this situation, critics were angered that Lego would offer toys that were so clearly stereotyped towards a specific gender.

The wanted to know how Lego could dare to insinuate that young girls might be interested in things like hair salons, horseback camps, candy shops, and recording studios.

Lego FriendsNone of these allegations rattled true lego fans because no one who’s seriously enjoyed Lego bricks for any period of time sees either of these “controversies” as even existing in the same universe as the company’s racially insensitive offering of 1977:

215-1

Set #215, aptly titled “Red Indians” created absolutely no stir when it was released. This is largely because 35 years ago very few people were at all concerned about what toys or cartoons were “teaching” children.

Over the last 20 years we have become increasingly aware that children receive even the subtlest of nuanced messages, especially during the early stages of human development. This is why toy manufacturers go out of their way to thoroughly research and test their toys before putting them on the market.

Unforeseen problems often arise when a company revisits an old theme, or sends their toys into a new market… both of which seem to have happened in this situation.

The folks at Lego aren’t Turkish.

They, like most of us, have never thought of Jabba as being Islamic or Middle Eastern, even though George Lucas envisioned him smoking a hookah while living in a desert castle.

This is because we all (mostly) agree that Star Wars didn’t happen in our galaxy,

The Force doesn’t exist,

There are no Turkish people on Tatooine,

And, wait for it… Jabba isn’t real.

Go ahead and start asking 10 year-olds if they knows what a mosque is. I’m pretty sure that none of them will tell you that a mosque is “like Jabba’s house crossed with church.”

30 years worth of children have viewed the Star Wars Trilogy and come to the conclusion that even the subtlest nuances of the film depict Jabba the Hutt as an intergalactic slug who lives in outer-space.

It’s important to remember that when we begin to imagine stereotyping inside of imaginary worlds, we are probably guilty of assuming allegory where none is intended.

None of us can possibly understand the unique sensitivities that every global culture can present.

Because of this we all need to recognize that there’s a difference between racism and ignorance… on both sides of the equation.

One Response to “The Most Racist Lego Ever”

  1. Yoda January 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Disagree with you, I must. Herh herh herh. Exist, the Force does.

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