Following my guest post at Coffee With Kenobi regarding diversity in media (and Star Wars) in February, Twitter user and special education teacher @geekchic9 approached me about doing a chat session with her class through social media. It’s our responsibility as fans and creators to keep the conversation going about these social issues and to consistently bring awareness to the importance of diversity. We all have questions related to the topic, so I’m glad I was able to provide my perspective and give the students more material to think about.
The core of the conversation is located below, but to view it on Twitter, click here.
How would you define diversity?
To me, diversity is the inclusion and integration of a variety of people, cultures, ideologies, and experiences. An artist doesn’t just have one color on their palette. They have various colors, textures, materials. That’s diversity.
You mentioned Star Wars in the article, how did you become a fan?
My parents introduced me to Star Wars when I was a baby. I found out recently that my mom took me as a baby to a local screening of The Empire Strikes Back and she said that I loved it. I really love the exploration of space and creating stories in a far off galaxy. That really meshes well with my wild imagination and I’ve been a fan ever since!
Is there diversity in Star Wars?
Great question! There is diversity in Star Wars. We saw Leia and Lando in the original movies, and in the upcoming sequel, there will be main characters played by actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong’o, and Oscar Isaac. There’s also diversity in the cartoon show, Star Wars Rebels, as well as in recent Star Wars literature. An upcoming book will have its first canon lesbian character! I think the various departments and crew involved with Lucasfilm are very conscious about the need for diversity and small steps are being taken to ensure that fans feel included and represented.
What prompted you to write this article?
Happy to answer this question! I wrote the article because a brief Twitter conversation with a fellow Star Wars fan inspired me to elaborate more and talk about why diversity and representation are important–not just in Star Wars, but in other aspects of society. It’s an important topic to me and others who strive for inclusivity.
Have you faced any adversity as a female Latina writer?
I’ve had the occasional unpleasant situation here and there. I even had someone say that I should change my name to be more “American”. I know plenty of others who have been through more uncomfortable situations in the past and in the present. I voice my opinions about diversity because if I don’t, I’m only helping the status quo, so I speak up to help educate others and to show my support. Change starts with you!
Some of the students can relate to your story! One of my students is very upset by how we’re treated.
Why does race matter?
In a perfect world, it shouldn’t matter because, in that case, everyone would be getting equal opportunity. However, we are far from perfect, and due to our natural inclination to categorize objects and people into specific groups, we run into issues associated with race. Race and racism aren’t things you can just sweep under the rug, even though some think that’s the solution. It’s a difficult question to answer, really. You don’t want it to matter because equality should be a given, but then again, it currently does matter because the only way to address the issue is to talk about it.
That is difficult conversation to have. But, we agree with you.
Definitely. It’s a conversation with differing views.
Why is diversity in media important?
Diversity in media (and in other aspects of our society) is important because we live in a diverse world and it should be reflected in the shows we watch, the books we read, the professions we seek in life, etc. It’s important because representation matters. Underrepresented people want to feel validated and included, and diversity provides those opportunities.
The students want to thank you for tweeting with us about this topic.
Anytime! Take care, class! Keep studying and speaking up about these important issues. You are the voice of the future!