Boy, oh boy.
I walked into this one preparing to roll my eyes at another politically correct “controversy.” But this here…this one’s actually pretty interesting.
So Lionsgate tweeted a poster of the Yellow Ranger for their upcoming cinematic reboot of Power Rangers. It depicts the character Trini, who’ll be played by Becky G, standing on her Zord and the tweet carries the caption “Driver’s Ed not required.” This is meant to be cool and funny, right? She’s a teenager, and while most teenagers have to worry about taking their road tests, Trini has been chosen to be a Power Ranger and will be operating a giant robot and she’s just that damn good.
Turns out, that was a really crappy caption. Here’s why:
In the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers TV series, Trini was played by Vietnamese actress Thuy Trang. Trang tragically died a couple of months short of her 28th birthday…in a car crash.
Which brings us to exactly why the “No Driver’s Ed required” bit is so troublesome. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that whoever wrote that meant no harm, and likely didn’t even think of Trang’s tragic death, but it still creates an unfortunate scenario where the caption reads like, “And THIS one knows how to drive.”
Not to mention, since Trini is no longer Asian (Becky G is of Mexican descent), the caption also can be read as a dig at the stereotype that Asians are bad drivers. And it even stirs up old jokes about the fact that it was rather insensitive for the original Power Rangers series to make the only Asian character the Yellow one, since that’s an ethnic slur in and of itself.
So it’s just a mess all around.
Lionsgate, for their part, took down the tweet right away. The caption isn’t on the poster itself, which helps matters for the studio.
Here’s how the tweet originally appeared, as reproduced by eOne Films:
What do you make of all this Power Rangers controversy? I’m certain it was all an innocent mistake, but wow…that’s a whopper of a gaffe.