Racist LEGOs? Please…
If you ask me, some people are far too sensitive.
Earlier this year, Time magazine ran an article about a LEGO toy and asked readers if it seemed racist. This particular toy comes from the Star Wars universe—Jabba’s Palace—and to me, it looks pretty cool.
Sadly, not everyone agrees.
One group that was offended by this toy was the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria (TCCA), who claimed the toy looked too much like mosques and other religious structures in Beirut and Istanbul. They also claimed that some of the figures included with the LEGO set—characters the company isn’t even responsible for creating—reflect negatively on different racial groups in Asia.
To them, Jabba’s palace reinforces “racial prejudice and vulgar insinuations against… Orientals and Asians as sneaky and criminal personalities (slaveholders, leaders of criminal organizations, terrorists, criminals, murderers, human sacrifice)…” and so on, and so forth.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t most Asian people frown upon the term Orientals? From what I understand, this descriptor is just as offensive as calling a Spanish person a wetback or a Caucasian a honkie.
Either way, it doesn’t seem very politically correct.
At any rate, LEGO has elected to pull Jabba’s Palace from store shelves, but not because some people consider it racist. Here’s their official statement on the matter:
“A few media have reported that the product is being discontinued due to the mentioned criticism. This is, however, not correct … As a normal process products in the LEGO Star Wars assortment usually have a life-cycle of one to three years after which they leave the assortment and may be renewed after some years. The LEGO Star Wars product Jabba’s Palace 9516 was planned from the beginning to be in the assortment only until the end of 2013 as new exciting models from the Star Wars universe will follow.”
Of course, the TCCA views this move as some kind of victory or confirmation that their racial claims were warranted: “We are very grateful and congratulate LEGO on the decision to take Jabba’s Palace out of production.”
Give me a small break.
Have things deteriorated so much in our civilization that even harmless children’s toys can be accused of being racist?
I would understand if someone produced an Al-Qaeda Ken doll or Barbie with slanted eyes, but Star Wars? How can fictional characters from a movie released more than two decades ago suddenly become racist and offensive? And where were these complainers when the film was first released?
It boggles the mind to think that in the age of technological enlightenment and increasing tolerance, people would still take offense to something so ridiculous. Sure, there are times when products do reinforce racial prejudices or insult particular groups, but this surely isn’t one of them.
Freaking Jar Jar Binks was more offensive than Jabba and his crew, for goodness sake.
If you ask me, it’s time for people to stop being so hypersensitive, to take more things at face value and to understand that when it comes to breaking down racial barriers—especially where children are concerned—good parenting will help more than criticizing some kids’ toy.
Why not focus your attention on that for a change?