Sometimes I read posts that criticize Travis, Tuvok, or Sisko and wonder if there's some sort of unspoken or subconscious racism going on, even though every incarnation of the franchise has featured a black actor. It's as if some people are stuck in a 1950s mindset.
It's a tough call, there's never enough concrete proof to label people as bigots just b/c they go after those particular guys, but when they repeatedly get singled out, yeah sure it does
raise questions. I myself hated Sisko during the early years of DS9, not b/c he was a black dude but b/c I didn't like the way he blamed Picard for the death of his wife and I didn't like how smug and serious he was. Over the years I started to really like Sisko though, so if someone critisized my dislike of the early years of Sisko as bigotry on my part I know I wouldn't appreciate it.
Uhura was just a supporting player on TOS so she never drew fan ire and it was a breakthrough having her on the bridge during the 1960s. Then you had Geordi in TNG, but LeVar Burton was playing a blind nerdy engineering type, and actor Michael Dorn playing Worf could be written off as a Klingon. But when you had more leading players like Sisko and Tuvok, I have seen fans go after them over the years and I don't always get why. I didn't like early Sisko, but I think the writers really took off with the character as time went on. I do remember back in the 90s some fans were irritated that there were black Vulcans now with Tuvok, b/c all Vulcans we had seen up to that point where played by white actors (though there did seem to be some Asian Vulcans in The Search for Spock
). But it seemed odd how much people fussed over something like that.
I think b/c the writers decided to give Travis nothing to do, it may have unconciously put poor Travis as a "token minority character" in the minds of some viewers, thus drawing out fan resentment. Harry Kim was also another good looking minority character, this time an Asian guy, and he wasn't given much to do, though granted he got more developed then Travis. But both guys may have been seen as characters who just have to be there to satisfy some racial quota, but it was neither the actor nor character's fault that the creators fumbled him so badly.