My Weird, Geeky Race-Relations Moment
A few months ago, I was wearing one of my Jedi Knight costumes to a local convention. Yes, I said one of my Jedi Knight costumes. Anyway, I went into a convenience store to buy a soda and the guy behind the counter said something like, "Cool Star Wars Jedi. Who are you supposed to be?"
I replied, "Well, it's more or less based on Mace Windu's -- Samuel L. Jackson's -- costume."
The clerk's eyes lit up and he said, "Dude! Samuel L. Jackson rocks!"
He was black. I am white. As often pointed out by minority groups, there aren't very many positive role models for minorities in movies and on TV. And, since white role models are all over the place, the chances that a black person would ever run into a white person dressed like a black character are pretty damn slim. If I read the clerk correctly, I think he was pretty happy to meet someone who had chosen a black character to pattern a costume after, but even more pleasantly surprised that a white guy had done so.
The funny thing is that I made the costume without even thinking about the race implications at all. I just liked Mace Windu's costume and wanted something different than the standard tan Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon Jedi costume most people wear (and one of which I already had). And it made no difference to me that Mace Windu is black. He was a Jedi and I liked his costume.
I don't claim to be a warrior fighting on the front lines for racial equality, though I do believe in equality and speak loudly whenever I see racial injustice. Rather, what I think I learned from this is that geekiness trumps race. A geek of another race is still a geek and SF/fantasy heroes' race matters less than the cool stuff the hero can do. Geeks hate each other for even stupider reasons than regular people, such as whether Captain America can beat up Batman or because someone killed his or her D&D character, but I don't think racism is prevalent in the geek community.
Unless it's racism against Gungans. Everyone hates Jar-Jar.