taken from my personal blog, May 2011
Shelly Shapiro, the editor at DelRey in charge of Star Wars books, did a Facebook chat today which you can read here: Star Wars Books Facebook Chat with Shelly Shapiro. (racist comments in response to my question redacted.)
I went out on a limb and decided to ask her about diversity in Star WarsExpanded Universe (EU). I guess bringing up lack of diversity in EU made people uncomfortable because this guy named “Darth Severity” got all up in my grill ranting about how Star Wars isn’t the place for your minority agenda, Marissa blah blah high horse. (I wish I had saved the quotes, they have since been deleted.)
It surprises me how when this topic comes up in fandom a certain subset of fans react by trying to suppress conversation, as if bringing Star Wars up to Star Trek levels of diversity is a bad thing. How dare I take the piss out of Star Wars. Star Wars fans never do that!
So I said:I’m a long time reader of Star Wars books (own over 200+) but I am also greatly disappointed by the lack of diversity in the Star Wars EU. I was particularly disappointed that the “Rip Tide” cover established Jaden Korr as just another young white human male hero(like the primary protagonist in every other era of Star Wars publishing.)
I would like to see more characters of color and women (including women of color) in Star Wars stories. Will DelRey make a commitment to pursue diversity in future publications?
Shaprio’s response:Diversity: I feel we’ve had quite a bit of diversity, especially when you take into consideration the growing number of prominent characters that aren’t human. Saba Sebatyne, for example: An awesome female Jedi who is barely even humanoid. (I like her a lot!)
I feel so represented.
First, hi Jedifreac! I didn’t know you had a tumblr. (You might remember me from a long time ago. I’m Ami Angelwings.)
Secondly, it’s something that bugs me too. Why are both Revan and Jaden Korr canonically white human males? Does Star Wars have a lack of white human male heroes or something? I mentioned Jaden Korr in a previous post about femShep, that, like people who see femShep as their headcanon Shep, Jaden Korr is a woman to me in headcanon. (Interesting that Jennifer Hale does both voices too. She really adds so much to characters that they never feel like just a gender swap add-on, but THE character. :) )
Another thing that bugs me is that the 3 Jaden Korr head choices for human women are just different hair colors, while there’s one dark skinned choice for human men.
And no publisher person, aliens aren’t racial diversity.
Ami!!!! Are you the one behind Escher Girls? That’s fantastic! I’m mostly trying to run the Racebending.com tumblr these days but I couldn’t resist making my own tumblr, too. It’s good to see you…TBH reading your blog posts really helped to jump start my activism. A lot of what you wrote really made me think…critically…and helped me develop into the kind of outspoken person I am today! Thank you for that!