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Old January 14 2013, 05:51 PM   #67
Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Okay, now you're just shifting the goalposts. Your own words were, "I personally have a hard time believing that a Russian main character captain will take center stage of any possible new ST TV series any time soon." (Emphasis added.) You yourself were the one who defined the discussion as being about the character, not the actor. That's what I was responding to.

After all, if the conversation had been about actors, I could've pointed out that Leonard Nimoy is of Ukrainian ancestry, William Shatner is of partly Ukrainian ancestry (as well as Austrian, Hungarian, and Polish), and Walter Koenig is genuinely Russian by ancestry (his parents lived in Lithuania but were ethnically Russian). So that's 3/7 of the core cast who have ancestry in that part of the world (plus Majel Barrett, whose birth surname Hudec is of Czech or Slovak origin). So you might have some kind of a point where Russian characters are concerned, but you've got no grounds for claiming that Russian or Slavic actors have been discriminated against in Trek. You're not only shifting the goalposts, you're shifting them onto much less solid ground.
I don't think I made any suggestion that Star Trek discriminated against Russians, and most definitely not Slavs whatsoever.

But...I will admit that my statement needs more clarification.

First off, this is not a racial issue, as Russians and Slavs are considered White. But rather, an issue of maybe Americanism. Or maybe even, patriotism. The 60's were not too far removed from the earlier Red Scare that hit Hollywood. The people that fell victim to this scare were those deemed unpatriotic by virtue of being communists (or tendencies in that direction). So a blatant communist, anyone who made a strong declaration of pro-communism of any ethnicity probably would not have sat well with the American public in terms of being a leading character in an American TV series. So probably, a real Soviet Russian, a Soviet Union actor import would probably not have sat well as a leading character in an American TV series.

I admit, it's not really the Russian ethnicity itself as far as American actors are concerned. Natalie Wood was ethnic Russian for instance, and I don't think she had any problems about it that I know of. Yul Brynner I believe was Russian. But neither of them were Soviet imports. And yes, who knows how many famous Americans, particularly today have Slavic blood?

The Russian angle in a movie or TV series can play a part as far as the view of the audience. A Russian/Soviet defector for instance could be heroic. Or in the case of Illya, he was in basic good standings with Americans.

These are my opinions. And what's my proof? I can't claim to have any solid proof, but we do have an obvious lack of Soviet Russian imported actors from that time. One may be able to google some exceptions, but I can't think of any at the top of my head. And imported actors/actresses during that time was happening fairly frequently.

I did get side-tracked with the Illya comment, but that involved a show depicting international espionage, national patriotism, etc., as opposed to a more unified global theme. But even today, in my opinion, A Russian star ship commander (whether it's only a depiction, or a real ethnic Russian) as a lead character (on T.V.) is unlikely. I don't think there's any consideration being given to the idea.

Blatant discrimination? No! Something in the American psyche that may prevent such a thing? Yes!

Oh, come on, now you're just blatantly making up excuses for your pessimism. Not only is that pure speculation -- "if there had been" -- but the kind of intolerant Americans you're thinking about wouldn't have known or cared about the difference between a Russian and a Ukrainian. All Soviets were "Russian" to people like that.
I'm quite serious about my opinion on that. Even if those particular Americans didn't know the difference between a Russian and a Ukrainian (Georgian, Lithuanian, Estonian, etc.), it could have been explained. And the idea of a conquering Russian majority, a Russian empire ruling over smaller minorities could have gained sympathy for a Ukrainian character. They could have worked the angle a number of ways to gain acceptance for the Illya character if there had been a problem.

As far a my alleged pessimism, I still don't understand where you are coming from on that. As I explained, not only does racism exist, it's practiced in our very own media. It's actually sold to the public. It has merely been repackaged. We're not talking about racist tendencies merely existing in the minds of some, but it's being perpetuated by some who may not even be racists themselves perse, but are a part of it's marketing.

A personal doctor could be optimistic about his patient's cholesterol problem. But if he keeps offering a McDonald's double cheeseburger "on him" to that patient, what good is the optimism?
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