First there were the allegations that Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace was a racial caricature in the vein of Stepin Fetchit. Now a pair of jive-talking, illiterate, bling-toothed Autobots are launching even more negative stereotypes into the sci-fi universe with the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but an Associated Press story goes into a lot of detail exploring the issue. The characters are called Skids and Mudflap. One is voiced by a black man, the other voiced by a white man. Kids interviewed seem to like the characters. Academic types who haven’t even seen the movie pretty much condemn them as inappropriate.
I seem to remember the robots in the original Transformers cartoon in the ’80s having speech patterns that seemed out of place for alien beings that looked like tractor trailers. Then again, they learned everything they knew about Earth from a scan of our media.
Then again, it was just a cartoon.
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