Perspectives on Race

A Discussion about Events Concerning Race

Jive Talking Transformer Robots

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LOS ANGELES β€” Harmless comic characters or racist robots? The buzz over the summer blockbuster “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” only grew Wednesday as some said two jive-talking Chevy characters were racial caricatures. Skids and Mudflap, twin robots disguised as compact hatchbacks, constantly brawl and bicker in rap-inspired street slang. They’re forced to acknowledge that they can’t read. One has a gold tooth.

As good guys, they fight alongside the Autobots and are intended to provide comic relief. But their traits raise the specter of stereotypes most notably seen when Jar Jar Binks, the clumsy, broken-English speaking alien from “Star Wars: Episode I _ The Phantom Menace,” was criticized as a caricature.

One fan called the Transformers twins “Jar Jar Bots” in a blog post online.

Todd Herrold, who watched the movie in New York City, called the characters “outrageous.”

“It’s one thing when robot cars are racial stereotypes,” he said, “but the movie also had a bucktoothed black guy who is briefly in one scene who’s also a stereotype.”

“They’re like the fools,” said 18-year-old Nicholas Govede, also of New York City. “The comic relief in a degrading way.”

Not all fans were offended. Twin brothers Jason and William Garcia, 18, who saw the movie in Miami, said they related to the characters _ not their illiteracy, but their bickering.

“They were hilarious,” Jason said. “Every movie has their standout character, and I think they were the ones for this movie.”

For those of you that have seen the movie, Do you think the robots played on black stereotypes? Were you offended? Why or why not?

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Written by porterd06

November 30, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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