I went to go check out Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen not just because I’m a geek, but all the talk about racist sambo robots really piqued my curiosity. Seems that there was this meme going around some circles about The Twins, two characters written into the script—most likely by the white man!—to undermine and undo all the good PR black people have been getting in the midst of Obamarama. I’m not inclined to find racism in a ham sandwich, but I know it when I see it and I didn’t see it in Transformers. What I see is a mediocre movie afloat in CGI porn hobbled by a thin script getting free publicity from many of the same people who found Robert Downey’s part in Tropic Thunder to be a crime against blackness and stumbling stone to integration. These folks have come off a nod to stir yet another tempest in a teapot.
The Twins are supposed to be dumb (Chevy) smart-cars –get it? Voice actors Tom “Spongebob” Kenny (the best voice talent in the business since Mel Blanc) and Reno Wilson bring these two hip-hop lunkheads to life by playing them as crunked-out hip-hop aficionados. Now, this isn’t racist. It’s a turn on the same dramatic device the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles used aping the attitudes and mannerisms of valley boys and surfer dudes in the 80s, ala Fast Times at Ridgemont High. That wasn’t racist either—it was just contemporary. The Twins are just contemporary turns on pop culture stereotypes—they are what’s hot in the streets right now, whether you like it or not. These characters are supposed to be funny, ridiculous. They aren’t there to uplift Da Race. We must stop looking to cinema for positive images of black people—that isn’t what the movies are for. Movies entertain.
People who say The Twins are racist have sensibilities honed to a hair-trigger and catch any perceived insult to people of color, Al Sharpton-stylee. Yes, these Autobots have gold teeth, they don’t read and speak with a distinctly urban affect. But so do a lot of white kids you know.
And those white kids? They go to the movies too.
Single Father, Author, Screenwriter, Award-Winning Journalist, NPR Moderator, Lecturer and College Professor. Habitual Line-Stepper