The problem wasn't that he was black, but that he was a black stormtrooper. George Lucas based the Empire on Nazi Germany, they were intended to be white supremacists, that is why we saw very few Aliens or humans of color as Imperial Officers in the original trilogy and subsequent expanded universe works. The First Order was an off-shoot of the Empire, so if the Empire was mostly white, it didn't make much sense for Finn, as a stormtrooper, to be black.
But what bothers me far more than the lore discrepancy there, is that Finn largely felt like a throwaway character that had little part to play in the overall storyline of the trilogy. He was put in for brownie points with the woke crowd, and then got crappy character development, with the Rey-Finn shippers being ignored in favor of catering to the rather cringey Rey-Kylo shippers. If Fin had actually been a good character with good character development, people would have forgotten their issues with a Black Stormtrooper real quick.
Can a bad black character ever just be that? Is a bad character that's a minority by definition someone shoved in for "woke points"?
Also just wanted to point out if you say the empire was mostly white then it is totally reasonable for any single person to be black. For Finn to not make sense the Empire needs to be entirely white, not mostly white.
I think so, but I don't think that was the case with Star Wars, as you can see from that movie poster. They used him prominently in western marketing because they wanted their token black character (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokenism), then hid him in the background in their China marketing because they were afraid he would hurt their sales there.
I said mostly white because there may have been a few black Imperial characters in pre-Disney expanded universe works (books/games/etc.), I honestly don't remember, they may have been all white in expanded universe works as well. I'm fairly sure that every Imperial Officer we saw in the original trilogy was white by design, specifically because Lucas was basing the Empire on Nazi Germany. I'm not seeing any non-white Imperial characters in the screenshots I'm finding online, nor do I remember there being any.
I guess you could make the argument that Imperials being white only applied to the officers, not the Stormtroopers, but since we never saw any Stormtroopers with their helmets off in the original trilogy, that's not a great argument for a black stormtrooper imo.
Since Disney took over, we have not only seen Finn, a black stormtrooper, but also black imperial officers, such as Admiral Rae Sloane, who was recently featured in the trailer for the latest EA Star Wars game. I just don't remember there being any pre-Disney.
Last edited by shikamaru317 - on 19 June 2020