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Is “Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen” Racist?

The release of “Transfomers 2,” a.k.a. “Revenge of the Fallen,” grows closer, but recently released video clips of two robots named Skids and Mudflap have prompted some viewers to call the film out for racism.

The Transformers brothers are “voiced in a way that clearly designates them to be the ‘black’ robots,” according to a Movieline writer who has seen the film. Skids has — I am not making this up — a bucktooth made out of gold, and, when Shia LeBeouf asks them to read an important glyph they respond, “Read?! Nuh-uh…” “No, we don’t really do much readin’!”

Mr. Bay, I believe the internet would like a word with you…Complex.com:

“As if black people didn’t catch a bad enough one from the Jar Jar Binks character in Star Wars Episodes I-III, Bay’s Autobot twins, the “black”-voiced Skids and Mudflap, are the 2009 version of the Amos n’ Andy minstrel show.”

Topless Robot:

“This is not a rumor, it’s not Bay’s stupid disinformation scheme — there are illiterate robots who speak in ebonics in the movie and one of them has a gold f–king tooth in Transformers 2. Do not compare this to Scatman Carothers voicing Jazz in the original cartoon. Scatman was a voice actor who happened to be black. His performance was not a racist stereotype.”

Also, in case you’re interested in Transformers history, Skids was originally a highly intelligent scientist, and I’m not sure why that ended up by the wayside in the process of making him “black.”

Race can easily become a very heated topic, and the word “racist” sometimes thrown around a little too easily, but it seems pretty clear that these two characters are trafficking in negative racial stereotypes that frankly make me both uncomfortable and disappointed in Michael Bay, for totally different reasons than usual.

What say you?

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