because ben is gorgeous in black and white

Seriously, let’s look at the mechanisms behind this phenomenon you’ve observed. Let’s figure out why people would be drawn towards BEN as a the default complex character and leave Finn by the wayside.

The obvious first explanation is the power dynamics behind race as a social construct.

Ben is a pasty white dude, and Finn is a gorgeous black man. And no, I am not hiding my bias in this statement at all.

But I’d wager that the politics surrounding race play a huge roll in this situation.

Ben is allowed to be the “complicated anti-hero” in people’s imaginations, because being white in this society has privileges that allow readers and consumers of this media to push aside the fact that he is a mass-murderer, terrorist, and all-around bad person, and chalk it up to making him more “complex” and therefore more worthy of our attention, whether that be as a character to discuss or as something to depict in art. Ben speaks to the dominant, institutionalized narratives in our society that are cherished and upheld.

In contrast, if we were to “allow” the same leeway with Finn, to make him as “complicated” as Ben, the dominant social interpretation of him would include every stereotype we as a society hold about black people. Finn would be “scary”, “terrifying”, “thuggish”, and all the negative connotations that those entail. By infantilizing him, keeping him attached to the more palatable paradigm of masculinity in Poe and StormPilot, Finn is no longer “scary” and doesn’t draw upon our society’s deeper (and unnecessary) fears about people of color.

This is institutionalized racism working its insidious magic.

People don’t recognize their subconscious racist ideas because they have been socialized with them for so long. It’s difficult to recognize something as wrong and out-of-place if it feels natural or has “always been that way”.

Doesn’t change the fact that it is fucking wrong.

Plus, because people aren’t engaging with the character of Finn to the same degree as other characters, it speaks to the marginalization of people in color in general. It taps into the social understanding that people of color are less deserving of our time and energies, therefore less art and media are produced surrounding the black male lead of TFA.

Again, it’s wrong.

And yeah, it starts with R and ends in -ism.



[I could not leave this comment buried under a series of likes and reblogs. I had to post it separately. It was well written. Besides, unequivocally-b is absolutely right; and if anyone believes that the lack of Finn fan-art is due to some phenomenon whereby people are prone to “love villains more than they love heroes,” then why weren’t there massive fan-art of Electro (The Amazing Spiderman 2),  Hancock, Blade, Black Panther (not a villain but an advisory to Iron Man), Elijah Price (Unbreakable), Blaise Zabini (Harry Potter) etc. If you can’t explain that one, then I call bullshit. In any case, I thank unequivocally-b for this wonderful reply, because what she wrote was dead-on.]