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Old May 28 2013, 09:02 PM   #83
Count Zero
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Re: Doctor Who accused of racism

Ubik wrote: View Post
Admiral Buzzkill wrote: View Post
She says an episode in 2007 had the Doctor speaking dismissively of Martha's fears that she would be sold into slavery as the two characters visited Elizabethan England.
The Doctor tells her to "walk about like you own the place. It works for me."
The author claims the comment "betrays the ignorance of writers about historical racial violence and contemporary white privilege".

Well now, that's a good point.
I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but it is actually a good point. A black writer would not have given the white Doctor that line to say to a black companion, and a black Doctor could not have said it. (In fact, come to think of it, a black Doctor couldn't even enter the vast majority of Earth's time periods that he does and act like the leader he always does - he wouldn't have that freedom.
If the show was in any way realistic in depicting how people from all time periods react to the Doctor he would hardly ever get to be the leader or someone people listen to. When they travel to the past the Doctor and his companion(s) are almost always dressed inappropriately for the time period and when people ask for his name he answers that he's "the Doctor". Yeah, how trustworthy.
In fact, that's actually what Martha's concern was about in that episode (if I remember correctly). She was dressed in modern clothes and was wondering whether they wouldn't totally stick out to which the Doctor replied that she should walk as if she owned the place. I can see how this whole exchange could be seen as insensitive but as far as I remember the Doctor's line wasn't a direct response to the slavery concern but rather to a number of concerns she raised regarding time travel to the past.
There were only very few episodes where the Doctor's authority upon arrival somewhere was questioned in a more realistic manner, the most notable being Midnight. That he and his companions can stroll around the past without raising eyebrows at least is a convention of the show.
RTD seems to have been quite aware of that - after all, he wrote Midnight and the issue was addressed in "The Sarah Jane Adventures" (as others have already mentioned) which he produced.
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