I thought it would have been a great episode if the Ligonian culture would have been portrayed as other advanced cultures usually were (like in The Wounded, or The High Ground).
The story could have still worked out with some changes.
If I remember correctly, Lutan was interested in Yar, but she was also attracted to him.
I think somewhere down the line, they just really didn't think of how racist the episode would appear to be in the final product.
I haven't seen 'The High Ground' or 'The Wounded,' but yeah, you remember correctly: There was a mutual attraction between Yar and Lutan. Nothing wrong with that; it's not racist. Of course, those who have issues with interracial relationships involving black people are the ones racist. Black people can have relationships with people who are non-black. For example, I like Eurasian girls.
Trek, overseen primarily by white males, doesn't have a problem with Asian female/white male relationships, so there shouldn't have any problem with black male/non-black female relationships.
However, I think you're forgetting: A teleplay not strongly written doesn't equal racism just because an episode features a predominantly black cast or features black cast members or a black cast member. If that were true, we could possibly point to racist teleplays in how Geordi LaForge was depicted. For example, every other character was able to have healthy relationships, except Geordi. As aforementioned, there was no problem with the writers/producers putting yet another Asian woman in the Trek franchise with a white male in "Data's Day," but they had to write Geordi with failed relationships with everyone except an alien that was visibly portrayed by a black woman in 'Aquiel' - and even that lasted one episode.
And, everyone seems to handle themselves in hand-to-hand combat, yet Geordi seems to be a wimp.
Well I think the problem is that most of the time, Trek has been written to appeal to white males. So Geordi's relationship attempts are always with white chicks, simply because they are eye candy for the "supposed" majority viewer (MHO anyway).
From an in-universe perspective, I kept wanting to scream at Geordi "hello?? hello?? you're blind you idiot!! stop going after the hottest looking women on the ship!! Go for a more homely gal that feels good and you're set!
I thought Aquiel was a great episode, and I think they made her a black girl because the necessity of of the episode to do a serious love story required suspension of disbelief, and nobody was going to believe that the typical hot females he was going after would actually fall in love with him. So the writers came up with someone more in his league. I don't think it was necessary for them to make her black though. She could have been a more homely white chick.
I also remember clearly that another black girl (an Ensign) was crazy about him, and he kept shrugging her off. That girl was cute, and again, Geordi is fucking blind! His tastes in women should NOT be based on visual cues!
So, based on your perspective, they had Aquiel portrayed by a black woman because no one would believe a 'hot' female (e.g. a white female) would go for Geordi. (He's black for goodness sake!) So, they - the writers/producers - thought they should put him with someone in his league, someone 'black.'
According to you, since he was a blind black man he should have been put with a homely white girl (Asian woman need no apply, nor Latin women and attractive white women - those are for 'white' men!) if not a black woman.
Imagine if the alien race in A Night in Sickbay had the same casting as Code of Honor. Yikes!
I know huh! Too many black faces onscreen for some whites to handle, right?
Hey, imagine this: What if we had a well-written Star Trek show with a predominantly black cast
! I'm sure you - and likeminded individuals - would hate that....! hahaha