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Old August 28 2012, 05:13 AM   #28
Morpheus 02
Location: Chicago IL
Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Morpheus 02 wrote: View Post
But as R. Star pointed out...the "perfect people" of the following week's Justice are Aryans, while primitives are portrayed by blacks the previous week.
I'm sorry, but that's not true. The Ligonians were not portrayed as "primitive." They were comparatively less advanced than the 24th-century Federation and were traditionalist in many ways, but they had their own transporter technology, a beam or forcefield technology (the light beams in the combat arena), and medicine that was in some ways beyond Federation medicine, though in some ways not. And they presumably had warp drive, since according to "The First Duty," Picard had wrestled a Ligonian as an Academy cadet. So the Ligonians were at least as technologically advanced as, say, the humans of Jonathan Archer's era. Sure, they liked to cling to their more archaic traditions, but then, so do the Vulcans and Klingons.

By contrast, the Edo of "Justice" were comparatively primitive. They showed no sign of having high technology or space travel; the only indication they had any technology at all was that they lived in the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant. Basically they seemed to be the kind of sci-fi civilization that's just coasting on the accomplishments of its ancestors and has degenerated to a simpler level. After all, it's pretty obvious they were inspired by the Eloi from The Time Machine.

Because of that bad casting, we never got to see more humanoid races that were portrayed by actors of a different ethnicity or group.
Err, yes, we did -- Klingons, Vulcans (as in Tuvok), Jem'Hadar, Hirogen, Xindi Primates and Arboreals, the occasional Romulan or Cardassian, and numerous others.

Unless you're saying that we never saw another human-looking alien race played entirely by a single nonwhite ethnic group, but would that really have been a good idea anyway? Better to do what they actually did, and allow alien races to have ethnic variety just as humans did rather than having an all-white species here, an all-black one there, an all-Asian one there, etc.
Sorry -- when i mean humanoid...i mean basically "human, with possible exception of a funny forehead". Most of the races you mentioned had serious make up, so that wasn't an issue with me. As far as I know, on screen, the Andorians in Enterprise are the only non-human races that had different skin color. (And interetsing that Shran would call humans "pink skins" -- some of the stuff i liked about Enterprise)

And regarding Ligonians...they might have mentioned that backstory...but it's not what we saw on screen.

While we can isolate the points of the story...for many people, you have weigh it against 20 years (at that point) of whiteness in Trek, and then hundreds of years of cultural potrayal of blacks as savages/violent.

it may not make logical sense...but it hurts a lot of hearts.
Christopher wrote: View Post
Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
And perhaps they should have cast white actors for this one, interestingly enough, they didn't. Just speaking for myself, none of the depictions of aliens when they were played by whites were in episodes that were this bad.
I think the issue here was that the Ligonians were portrayed as savage-like, "take by force," conniving people, while the "aliens" of the very next episode were blonde and blue and happily innocent and naive in their own little Utopia. There was a twist to this which came, of course, from some "outside" evil force and the TNG crew got to be their rescuers IIRC... The contrast is where the problem lies, FWIW.
I'd hardly say they were portrayed as "savage" any more than "primitive." "Savage" means wild and uncontrolled. The Ligonians did engage in behavior like kidnapping and duels, but they were very orderly and formal about it, following a well-established set of cultural traditions. They were very civilized by their own lights. If you read the script for this episode and had no idea what the Ligonians looked like, I doubt you would've ever gotten the impression that they were "savage."

The problem is, I think, that the audience is lumping all the different stereotypes together into a single ur-stereotype. What's actually onscreen is a mix of different cultural stereotypes, but all anyone remembers is that all the aliens were black, so they project black stereotypes onto it and thus misremember the facts of the episode. I don't question that there were unfortunate stereotypes involved, but like I said, let's get the facts straight so we know what it is we're actually judging.
Even though it's not "logical" that audience members interpret...when you only have 1 episode to communicate a civilization , you gotta make a better effort than what we saw.

Romulus Prime wrote: View Post
Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
Star Trek has a history of being more than "just a show" on a number of fronts. But anyway, I don't think it's an issue of people wanting to be offended or victimized, it's more of an issue of an unfounded tradition.
No, it is just a show, and like anything else, is made more than this by personal opinion. Now, I love most of Star Trek and I'll argue points and circumstances against opinions I oppose, but at the end of the day, I don't lose track of the fact it's anything more than a form of entertainment.

And yes, people do want to be victims when it's comfortable. I see it all the time AND have been on the receiving end when people assumed I was one ethnicity and not another simply based on my outward appearance.

IMO, the episode isn't racist one bit, and if anyone is trying to convince me otherwise, it's because they want justification for their feelings. But hey, I guess Star Trek is racist towards whites for casting mostly white people to play Cardassians - some of the most heartless and ruthless villains in Trek history. Same with Romulans and Borg too, right?

Sorry, but this is much ado about nothing, and perpetuating this myth about the Ligonians - an alien race I always thought were cool - is just another example of how to water down the meaning of the terms "racist" and "racism."

Now, it's not racist towards whites, because they are portrayed in a vast variety. So for all the negative races you mentioned, there were also noble and neutral races equally represented. In Trek, they never really showed a human (or human like)_ race being portrayed by mostly non-whites. It's kinda like the debate about the Oscars...whites get Oscars for all kinds of roles...but for African Americans, the major Oscars they've won has been only messed up people or maids...not generals or presidents or anything on that end of the spectrum.
Morpheus 02
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