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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old August 29 2012, 12:52 AM   #46
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

SonicRanger wrote:
Or is it just that the Tamarians have sufficiently bumpy heads that the audience perceives them as "aliens" rather than "1940s tribal Africans in space"? The Tamarians, after all, do kidnap the white hero and force him into a knife fight.
As I’ve said, I haven’t seen the entire episode, and until I do, I can’t say. If you look at the clip I saw, there’s no kidnapping or knife fight, so I could only go off of the clip and I mentioned that. Seeing as you’ve seen both, what do you think? Do you think they’re both just fine, or that one is not and the other is? If so, why?

Christopher wrote:
That's absolutely not what I'm saying, and I'm saddened that you've so profoundly misread my intent. I do not disagree at all that there is much about this episode that is worthy of criticism, and that it raises important issues about racial and cultural prejudice that deserve to be confronted. But the very importance and emotional impact of those issues is exactly why it is incumbent upon us to evaluate the facts of the matter carefully so that we can know exactly what it is that we're judging and critiquing. It's important to critique things that are done wrongly, but that's why it's so important to make sure we're focusing our critiques on the right things instead of on imperfect recollections or hearsay.

I am not trying to debate the morals here. I'm just trying to clarify the facts of the event. If you put someone on trial in a courtroom, you don't just make up charges or ask people what they heard about it secondhand by the water cooler; you present the evidence, you present the testimony of firsthand witnesses, you make sure the jury is considering the actual facts of the case so that they can make an informed and responsible judgment. All I'm trying to do here is present the specifics of the case of "Code of Honor" as accurately as possible. I'm not saying we shouldn't judge it; I'm saying let's judge it based on a detailed understanding of what it actually is.
I can only go off of your posts, and that’s what I’ve done. I’m glad you at least see that there are problems with this episode, but let’s say that this case is on trial and the evidence is the tape of the episode. I watched that tape, and I know what I was offended by, as did the rest of the jury. You seem to be working for the defense, telling us that maybe what we saw isn’t really what we saw. In this thread, we didn’t make up the charge. The question was already asked (and I think it’s telling that someone even had to ask, really): Are the Ligonians human or alien? Even I said, based off of how they were presented in the “tape,” they are alien, but I also can’t deny the fact that they do look very human…
Again, I'm not doing anything as simplistic as looking for a single scapegoat. I think there are many contributing factors here, a concatenation of things that produced an unfortunate result, and I'm simply trying to evaluate and understand what happened.
I’m glad to hear that because there certainly is enough responsibility to go around, as there are people who failed in their responsibilities.
Again, you're misreading what I'm trying to do here. I'm not trying to pin blame on any one person. I'm trying to show that there were multiple factors contributing to why this episode went so wrong. On the one hand, you have the script which was attempting to be a "respectful" portrayal of a samurai-like culture with a bit of Native American thrown in, but which was steeped in condescending Orientalist stereotypes. On the other hand, you have a casting process which, for some reason, selected an "African" presentation for the Ligonians, both in the choice of actors cast and in the choice of accents they used. What resulted was a mix of similarly condescending stereotypes, and since the Orientalist stereotypes had a lot of overlap with our culture's black/African stereotypes, the overall perception was of a "tribal Africa" stereotype, even though the intent of the script was based on a completely different stereotype.
Well, if all of this is true, then it just explains why everyone that was offended was offended, and those making the episode should have known better, imo. If the script itself was “steeped” in condescending stereotypes, then as I said before, it was doomed to begin with. No wonder why people, including myself, were offended. The casting of one particular group of people, etc., only added to that.

I absolutely agree that the episode suffered from being built around ethnic prejudices, but what I'm trying to get across is that it's not exclusively about black or African stereotypes -- that there were other condescending stereotypes in play as well and that the different stereotypical elements combined into a whole melting pot of ethnic condescension. Which just goes to show that all ethnic stereotypes are pretty much the same and are equally harmful. But I don't think any one person, be it a writer, producer, or director, can be singled out for blame. I think they were all trying to do different things that were all flawed in their own way and ended up producing a worse result than any one of them alone would have.
Okay, I see what you’re saying. You’re saying that it was a mix of stereotypes, but because it wasn’t a mix of actors portraying them, what people saw was stereotyped black people (which was what was in the episode). That, I would agree with. And I wouldn’t single one person out either. Like I mentioned, that script went through an approval process, and then you had other factors that contributed to the mess.

I can understand it not hitting as close to home because the ethnic group involved is more remote from our Western experience. But it was deeply condescending and grossly inaccurate in its portrayal of Mongols. It painted them as a culture that oppresses women and keeps them secluded in purdah, which is ridiculous and wrong. The fact is that women traditionally had much higher status in Mongol and other horse-nomad societies than they did in pre-modern sedentary agrarian societies. Nomads can't afford to keep half their population segregated and useless; everyone needs to contribute. Mongol women participated in politics and war alongside the men and were valued for their contributions.

There was also the ludicrous approach to women's costuming in the episode -- painting these Mongols as keeping women veiled and hidden, yet having them put Carter in a dress with a plunging neckline that showed a lot of skin. That's completely self-contradictory. From an anthropological, sociological, and historical perspective, it was just painfully wrong.
I can’t disagree with any of this, but I will say that the average viewer probably didn’t watch this episode and say “This episode was completely self-contradictory. From an anthropological, sociological, and historical perspective.” They probably just saw really bad writing, laced with really bad values, and ultimately an episode that was really bad and somewhat sexist. This is why if anybody’s doing a series where they come across new civilizations every week, they’ve got to act like they’ve only got around 40 minutes and some change to get their points and depictions across accurately. It seems as though neither one of these episodes did that.
Not if the culture you belong to has clear, predetermined rules and rituals for such an abduction and you follow those rules to the letter. Other cultures may find that behavior to be immoral and unjust, but it's still very controlled and disciplined, and by your own culture's standards, entirely civilized and ethical.
If I remember that episode correctly, I don’t think they (or Lutan) gave her back as soon as they realized that their culture and rules weren’t the same as Starfleet’s. Honoring another culture's rules when dealing with their people is also entirely civilized and ethical, lest why should they honor yours? Instead, Lutan lies to Picard, telling him that he’ll give her back and then he doesn’t. By the end of the episode, I’m not sure that Lutan was acting in an “ethical” manner, even by Ligonian standards (but then, I don't recall any of them protesting), and his own greed is why he lost out.
Then I don't think you're using the word "savage" correctly. I don't disagree with your belief that it's a bad thing, but there are better words to describe it. "Savage" doesn't just mean "a thing I don't like," it means ferocious, untamed, wild, barbarous. Frankly it's a very racially loaded term -- calling another culture savage is implicitly calling them subhuman. If your intent is to protest the racial stereotypes in "Code of Honor," then you're working against your own credibility by using that term, and I'd recommend you find a less dehumanizing one.
No, I think the word “savage” works just fine. When I think of “savage,” I think of cavemen with clubs creeping up behind women and knocking them out to take them home. That is barbarous, untamed, wild, and ferocious. Don’t misunderstand me, savagery can be a way of life that I don’t agree with, but the act of taking a woman/person against their will is a savage act. You definitely have the right to think I’m working against my own credibility by using that term, but I think you’re working against yours to not use it. When a person takes another person for their own, as if they are property, that IS dehumanizing that person, and therefore the person doing that is acting in what I would call a subhuman way. Apparently, you don’t see it that way.
It's not presumptuous at all, because it's based on the actual facts of the case. I've consulted the transcript of "Code of Honor" for the actual dialogue, and I've looked at screencaps so I could see the costume and set designs that were used, and some of the statements people have made about the content of the episode have clearly been incorrect.
But their reactions to what they actually saw in the episodes are not incorrect—they really reacted that way upon seeing the episode and felt offended. All the screen caps and quotes in the world can’t change that. Even if somebody is not remembering the episode exactly perfectly, they know how they feel about it and what they thought at the time they saw the accurate and real version of it. That’s the reason why the creators of this episode really needed to do a better job at presenting what they were trying to get across in the episode (assuming their intentions were good), but they failed there.
Again, you've completely misread my intent. I don't disagree with the moral conclusion that "Code of Honor" is objectionable due to its stereotypes. I'm just trying to point out that the reality is more complicated than many are assuming -- and if anything, perhaps even worse than people are assuming, because there are actually multiple ethnic prejudices contributing to the result rather than just one.
And why are people assuming what they are assuming? Because of the people that were shown. There may have been multiple ethnic prejudices written into that episode, but only one group or type of people was chosen to deliver those stereotypes and prejudices. And why was that? I think the answer to this question could be just as bad as anything.
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Old August 29 2012, 01:16 AM   #47
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

I think people need to relax... the Ligonians were fine... they just happened to act like tribal Africans. It's not like they were eating collard greens, fried chicken, and watermelon. In fact, what strikes me as more stereotypical, is when they have some black woman as the spokesperson for Popeye's fried chicken, and show her doin' her fried chicken thing down in good ol' New Orleans, complete with a sassy black woman southern drawl... yeah... that's not a stereotyped image, lol.

Science-fiction universes are unfortunately replete with over-generalizations... entire planets with just one type of environment (Vulcan, Tatooine, Endor, etc.), members of an alien race having the same identical hairstyle (Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons) or dressing the exact same way, etc., with little to no consideration for the variety and diversity that would come naturally. It is what it is.
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Old August 29 2012, 01:26 AM   #48
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

I don't think it's the particulars that matter here in terms of if the Ligonians are wearing clothing that is more far east than Ivory Coast, etc. Hollywood has a long tradition of mixing up cultures and lands when portraying foreign countries. It's the aggregate impression that matters here.

We'd probably not be having this discussion had the Ligonian costumes and language been portrayed as weirdly Victorian but with the same script. No, it's the combination of what what we see as stereotypical "tribal" clothing along with a "fight to the death", the all black cast and the kidnapping of the white woman plot that adds up to a racist image in the mind of many, and we can argue whether or nor that's what's really happening, but that so many people see it as racist certainly says that the choices made for the episode were probably the wrong ones.
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Old August 29 2012, 01:33 AM   #49
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

Romulus Prime wrote:
Due to personal opinion.

It's not too different than religion. Many people claim that it's the cause of wars, but in reality, it's an inanimate thing - religion does not cause wars; people's decision to use it as a means to be violent is the cause of conflict.
No, it actually did do more than just entertain. Religion is in a different category to me because people actually follow their interpretation of their religion. You only watch a television show, and if it inspires someone to do more than just watch it, then it becomes more than just entertainment for them. But, I’m ready to move on from this part of the discussion. We obviously don’t agree.
I'm very much interested in the Middle East, and I've always thought Vulcans (and many Romulans) have more Middle Eastern features and skin tones. With regards to Klingons, they are usually NOT white/pale unless super old, and with that, my guess is the make up department wants their skin tone to reflect that.
If I had to pick a group they sometimes resemble a little bit to me, it would be some Asians--even the little bowl haircut Spock and other Vulcans wear. Middle eastern would never come to mind, but different people see things differently. And with Klingons, who ever said that their make-up was white/pale unless they are old? I thought we were talking about the actors playing them. That was a mix of races, white and black and perhaps others. Worf was played by a black guy, and Martok was played by a white, just as an example.

How many Persian Captains are there?
Chinese?
Mexican?
Half & Half humans like me?
Vulcan?
Andorian?
Tellarite?

It only matters if you want it to, just like the only lead captains I care about are Sisko, Kirk and Picard - in that order.
Now you’re veering off into something that was not even a part of the discussion.

And “it only matters if you want it to” sounds rather naïve. Reminds me of something else that’s not quite true either: “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.”

I don't think it negates anything, but this seems more like a "glass half empty" sort of discussion.
I don’t think the glass is half empty, but I do think there were some real problems with this episode. As far as minorities in Trek are concerned, I’ve been very happy with them. I particularly love and admire Nichelle Nichols as Uhura and Avery Brooks as Sisko, who are both Black American. I love, love Zachary Quinto as Spock (who is a Gay American (Irish and Italian mix)); I like Zoe Saldana as new Uhura (a half-&-half mix of Black Dominican and Puerto Rican), and I greatly admire Leonard Nimoy (a Jewish American) who played the original Spock. That’s a nice mix if you ask me. From my own little fan perspective, the glass is rather full, and I hope this continues within the new movies that are coming.

When people say "African" most seem to forget the differences in appearances and ethnicities, from Sudanese, to Ethiopian, to Arab, to the more recent and non-indigenous Europeans. So if someone says something vague such as "it's like African" I can't help but consider the diversity of people and cultures of that continent, and wonder what they mean by their claim.
That’s why I said “black or at least black looking.” And just so you know, I know Ethiopian and Arab people, as well as people from other places/groups, and this has been for my entire life. I don’t know any Sudanese, but I know what they look like. “African,” is a generic term, same as “European,” and “Asian,” and “Latin,” and I’m sure the list goes on. The issue here is that what was seen in that episode appeared to be some rather bad “African” stereotypes. The generic nature of which that term implies was also a part of the problem, and therefore the complaint.
That was part of the point. I’m beginning to think you just don’t want to see anything but a world (fictional and/or real) where only the most overt racism and racial insensitivities exist and count. It would be nice if that were the case.
As I said, I've seen and received both sides of the "race" issue. Oddly enough, I received it more from non-whites. Go figure.
If that’s what you’re saying, I can’t refute it.
[…]As far as "agreeing to disagree" - I don't believe in that statement; IMO it's a PC way to say "let's pretend we're having an agreement."

There is no agreement here, and that's actually OK. We disagree, and I'm fine with disagreeing. I don't take it personally.
And that’s what is called “agreeing to disagree.”
No, what I'm seeing is people who want to be offended.
That’s your perception, not necessarily a fact.
You can either hold on to that, or let it go. Coincidentally, that seems to be one of the aspects which perpetuates continued prejudice among people. BTW - I'm not saying this about you personally, I'm saying it in general.
I agree that holding on to things can be unhealthy and can cause a person to use bad experiences to prejudge others. We should all try to avoid this. That still doesn’t take anything away from the fact that this episode had some major problems that you obviously don’t believe exist.
I respond to what's written in posts, thus I quote as you do. I'm not "making up" anything, or would your implication that "you know" what your dealing with from the earlier post about me fall into this category as well? We're both assuming much based on posts and what's written. And with regards to that, I have to wonder how many people assumed I was full white before I said I was only half...
I didn’t assume anything about your racial make-up. People of different races and mixes can have varied opinions. I think it would be very ignorant to assume that because a person belongs to a particular group, this means that they will have a particular opinion with no variation of personal views based off of their own unique experiences at all. Different people of the same group can think very differently about the same issue, just as much as people of varying groups can. As far as “making” things up goes, you did respond to some things that weren’t said.
Untrue.

1. Poitier won best actor for Lilies in the Field, hence my posting him. That wasn't a supporting role.

2. I purposely omitted the ones you posted because Morpheus said, and I quote: "...for African Americans, the major Oscars they've won has been only messed up people or maids..."

3. Yes, I suggested that you were implying less significance to supporting characters because to you and the other guy, the roles apparently don't count as "major." When was the last time you or I got an Oscar? Any entertainment award? Hell, a role on a TV show, Movie, or even a commercial?

....
OK then.
1. Mr. Poitier’s win was the only non-supporting role you mentioned, and it was so very long ago. That’s not to say it didn’t count. It was a great performance in a nice little film. And it is true that you went on this whole thing with supporting roles.

2. Yes, and most of the major roles were “messed up people.” I think it’s 3 out of 5, which would be 60%. I don’t think they were bad roles to play, and many people of different racial and ethnic groups play bad or “messed up” characters, but those are the facts.

3. I think that you’re confusing what is meant by “major,” here. We weren’t saying that the actors that were in those supporting roles didn’t have major impacts in the films they were in, otherwise there wouldn’t be awards given out for supporting roles. Sometimes, the supporting roles are better or have a bigger impact than the lead/major roles. But again, the facts are the facts. The lead role(s) IS the major role of the film.
For the most part, I am happy because I can sift through the "grey area" and I don't walk on eggshells. I prefer to save the terms "racist" and "racism" for what's blatant and deserves it, otherwise they run the risk of getting diluted and losing their significance. That to me is FAR more dangerous a path to follow...
Which is exactly what I said my observation was about you: “I’m beginning to think you just don’t want to see anything but a world (fictional and/or real) where only the most overt (your word was “blatant”) racism and racial insensitivities exist and count. It would be nice if that were the case.” Thank you for the confirmation.

If only the most extreme cases are “racist,” then that means a whole lot of terrible sh*t gets to fly. That’s a far more dangerous path. Very much so.
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Old August 29 2012, 01:35 AM   #50
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

Maurice wrote: View Post
I don't think it's the particulars that matter here in terms of if the Ligonians are wearing clothing that is more far east than Ivory Coast, etc. Hollywood has a long tradition of mixing up cultures and lands when portraying foreign countries. It's the aggregate impression that matters here.

We'd probably not be having this discussion had the Ligonian costumes and language been portrayed as weirdly Victorian but with the same script. No, it's the combination of what what we see as stereotypical "tribal" clothing along with a "fight to the death", the all black cast and the kidnapping of the white woman plot that adds up to a racist image in the mind of many, and we can argue whether or nor that's what's really happening, but that so many people see it as racist certainly says that the choices made for the episode were probably the wrong ones.
Well said. That's been my point this whole time.
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Old August 29 2012, 01:49 AM   #51
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

Here are a couple of snippets from Mem Alpha regarding Frakes and Spiner's opinions.

Jonathan Frakes referred to the episode as a "racist piece of shit" [3]. At a 2007 science fiction convention in Toronto, Canada, he told the audience, "The worst and most embarrassing and one that even Gene would have been embarrassed by was that horrible racist episode from the first season... Code of Honor, oh my God in heaven!" [4]

In a 2012 interview with TrekMovie.com, Brent Spiner recalled, "It ["Code of Honor"] was just a racist episode. Maybe not intentionally but it felt that way and looked that way. It was the third episode so it was fortuitous that we did our worst that early on and it never got quite that bad again." [5]
According to Wil Wheaton, 'if the cast wasn't arbitrarily decided to be African-American,' the idea of the episode being racist or non-racist wouldn't have been an issue. [6]


I would really love to hear the opinions of the people that played the Ligonians on the show. It would also really help to find some sort of review/reaction that was captured in 1987 to give some perspective of how it was received in that time period.
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Old August 29 2012, 02:02 AM   #52
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

Les Landau is still around; someone should ask him if he indeed directed much of the episode without credit. Considering his subsequent credits, the idea that Russ Mayberry would make such lousy and racist casting decisions strikes me as suspect, but he never did direct another episode for the series.
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Old August 29 2012, 02:19 AM   #53
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

Harvey wrote: View Post
Les Landau is still around; someone should ask him if he indeed directed much of the episode without credit. Considering his subsequent credits, the idea that Russ Mayberry would make such lousy and racist casting decisions strikes me as suspect, but he never did direct another episode for the series.
Yeah, and I think that is what Christopher was getting at in that this episode was essentially a comedy of errors that somehow made it through whatever checks and balances that were established at the time and got the green light. I guess we'll never know.
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Old August 29 2012, 04:42 AM   #54
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
No, it actually did do more than just entertain. Religion is in a different category to me because people actually follow their interpretation of their religion. You only watch a television show, and if it inspires someone to do more than just watch it, then it becomes more than just entertainment for them. But, I’m ready to move on from this part of the discussion. We obviously don’t agree.
See, we do agree...because that's exactly my point. It's also the same with regards to religion:

You only listen to the sermon and read the ancient texts, and if it inspires someone to do more than just listen and read, then it becomes more than just a sermon and ancient texts.

See what I did there?



And “it only matters if you want it to” sounds rather naïve. Reminds me of something else that’s not quite true either: “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.”
If you think that completely unrelated statement is equal in any way to the one you wrote, then I don't think you understand what self-empowerment truly is...


The issue here is that what was seen in that episode appeared to be some rather bad “African” stereotypes. The generic nature of which that term implies was also a part of the problem, and therefore the complaint.
I never made the connection. In fact, I never gave it a second thought until people in this thread said there were problems. Call me crazy, but I don't go through life wondering if black people are like Ligonians. Probably because to me, they were just aliens with a different culture in a fake universe.



And that’s what is called “agreeing to disagree.”
Sorry no, there is no agreement. The statement "agreeing to disagree" has nothing real or true about it, so I don't go that route.

We disagree, and it's OK to disagree without candy-coating it.


That’s your perception, not necessarily a fact.
I agree that holding on to things can be unhealthy and can cause a person to use bad experiences to prejudge others. We should all try to avoid this. That still doesn’t take anything away from the fact that this episode had some major problems that you obviously don’t believe exist.
The same can be said of your perception! But fine, you want to maintain that I'm not seeing problems with this episode, then say no one is trying to change my mind, while at the same time claiming that I should see the problems - fine.

What do I need to be offended by and why should I look for a problem, especially in light of the fact that it doesn't effect my perception of people one way or another?

I didn’t assume anything about your racial make-up.
I didn't say you did. Reread what I wrote - I said "I have to wonder..." IF... That's not the same as claiming "Hey I bet you assumed I was..." this or that. Seems there is a lot that's being lost in translation though


1. Mr. Poitier’s win was the only non-supporting role you mentioned, and it was so very long ago. That’s not to say it didn’t count. It was a great performance in a nice little film. And it is true that you went on this whole thing with supporting roles.
And apparently "supporting character" to you has less significance since you keep arguing against it's significance.

2. Yes, and most of the major roles were “messed up people.” I think it’s 3 out of 5, which would be 60%. I don’t think they were bad roles to play, and many people of different racial and ethnic groups play bad or “messed up” characters, but those are the facts.
And yet I posted none of those as examples. Your point?

3. I think that you’re confusing what is meant by “major,” here. We weren’t saying that the actors that were in those supporting roles didn’t have major impacts in the films they were in, otherwise there wouldn’t be awards given out for supporting roles. Sometimes, the supporting roles are better or have a bigger impact than the lead/major roles. But again, the facts are the facts. The lead role(s) IS the major role of the film.
And yet, it's not good enough. Glass half empty again. FYI - Oscars aren't the only awards; they just get the most press. How many other significant awards have these and other black actors and actresses gotten over the years?

Oh never mind - let's just focus on that ONE thing.

For the most part, I am happy because I can sift through the "grey area" and I don't walk on eggshells. I prefer to save the terms "racist" and "racism" for what's blatant and deserves it, otherwise they run the risk of getting diluted and losing their significance. That to me is FAR more dangerous a path to follow...
Which is exactly what I said my observation was about you: “I’m beginning to think you just don’t want to see anything but a world (fictional and/or real) where only the most overt (your word was “blatant”) racism and racial insensitivities exist and count. It would be nice if that were the case.” Thank you for the confirmation.

If only the most extreme cases are “racist,” then that means a whole lot of terrible sh*t gets to fly. That’s a far more dangerous path. Very much so.
And thank you for confirming what I've been suspecting - that you want to cling to negative aspects in order to continue to be upset at something that may not even be significant anymore.

I'm half Mexican. My mom and her parents lived in a time when there was real and rampant racism from whites. Oddly enough, they carried no hard feelings against those who segregated them or called them names.

I've been called names too, from Mexicans who didn't feel I was "purebred" enough. I've also had it in a classroom where a Chicano History "teacher" kept inciting how "whites" and "Christians" should be ashamed of how they destroyed the amazing Aztecs - a people who (despite his noble depiction of them) were quite violent to their own people and others in their own right. Then there were the people I used to work with when I did field work, and (later) warehouse packaging at another place - all of whom would get on my case for not learning to speak better Spanish, despite the fact I was trying to learn Farsi.

So if you want to imply that I'm not too experienced in what I should or should not be able to identify as racism or racial insensitivity, fine.


But just so you know...we'll have to disagree about that.

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Old August 29 2012, 05:38 AM   #55
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

Aren't a lot the roles that win Best Actor/Actress "messed up people" anyway? Those are the kind of roles that are "Oscar bait". Along with people with a "disability" or a real person. Real person with a disability? Gold baby!!!!
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Old August 29 2012, 06:33 AM   #56
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

SonicRanger wrote: View Post
Were the Tamarians...

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_Children_of_Tama

... racist because African American actors portrayed aliens whose speech is hard for the white characters to understand? Does it have insensitive connotations regarding African American Vernacular English (i.e., "ebonics")?
They didn't break rules. Their speech was metaphors -- HIGHER level talking. If i pointed to a couple and said "Romeo and Juliet", you'd know what i was trying to say. It wa shard for the whites (and everyone else) to understand because they weren't educated -- in the Tamaran history.



SonicRanger wrote: View Post
Or is it just that the Tamarians have sufficiently bumpy heads that the audience perceives them as "aliens" rather than "1940s tribal Africans in space"? The Tamarians, after all, do kidnap the white hero and force him into a knife fight.
They had more than bumpy heads -- they had full on make up.

Much different than even the Bajorans.

The Tamarians also had technology that was either equal to or perhaps superior than the Federation -- NOT primitive. And it was the Tamarian captain that initiated the relationship. It put a twist on the usual "Enterprise crew teaches other aliens what is right"


Now, if Darmok had taken the place of Code of Honor, and the characters were in fact black humans and not had the make-up, i think this episode would still be considered one of TNG's best by many (embodying Trek's theme), and we might have seen other episodes with human races that were made up of non-whites.
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Old August 29 2012, 07:33 AM   #57
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

@Nerys Myk - That's true, but I don't think it's definite gold. Sean Penn was nominated for I Am Sam, but he didn't win, just off the top of my head. If the performance is good, a nomination is probably likely, though.

@Romulus
I started to answer point for point, but I’m just going to hit a few that stand out and call it a day. You’ve taken the Oscar awards discussion far off of its original point, so I’m going to just let that go.
Romulus Prime wrote:
See, we do agree...because that's exactly my point. It's also the same with regards to religion:

You only listen to the sermon and read the ancient texts, and if it inspires someone to do more than just listen and read, then it becomes more than just a sermon and ancient texts.

See what I did there?
I do, and you’re still off. Religion is not the same as watching a television show. A religion is a belief system, and usually it is ingrained, especially if, as in most cases I’d guess, it is taught to a person at a very young age up through adolescence. When it comes to inspiration, I’ll agree with you on that.
If you think that completely unrelated statement is equal in any way to the one you wrote, then I don't think you understand what self-empowerment truly is...
The fact that you think it’s completely unrelated is troubling to me. “it only matters if you want it too” is the same as saying “if I don’t want something to affect me, then it won’t” which can end up being the same as “what I don’t know can’t hurt me.” I hope you see the connection. You can choose to believe that some practice won’t affect you, and in a sort of “keep a stiff upper lip” kind of way that’s true. In the larger scheme of things, though, that may not be so true. Often times, it’s not.
And thank you for confirming what I've been suspecting - that you want to cling to negative aspects in order to continue to be upset at something that may not even be significant anymore.
I'm not "clinging to negative aspects," they're just there in the episode. And it's still significant, just in different ways, and some the same. See below.

I'm half Mexican. My mom and her parents lived in a time when there was real and rampant racism from whites. Oddly enough, they carried no hard feelings against those who segregated them or called them names.

I've been called names too, from Mexicans who didn't feel I was "purebred" enough. I've also had it in a classroom where a Chicano History "teacher" kept inciting how "whites" and "Christians" should be ashamed of how they destroyed the amazing Aztecs - a people who (despite his noble depiction of them) were quite violent to their own people and others in their own right. Then there were the people I used to work with when I did field work, and (later) warehouse packaging at another place - all of whom would get on my case for not learning to speak better Spanish, despite the fact I was trying to learn Farsi.
I’m sorry to hear about your experiences, and those of your mother and grandparents. You are beginning to give me an understanding of why you feel the way that you do, or at least I think so. You see what your mother and grandparents went through as “the real racism.” And I would not at all argue with you about that fact that it was real. The Civil Rights Movement and other efforts have really made great strides.

I would ask you, if you will, to research the history of how black people (and other people too, but here the issue was brought about by the depiction of blacks) have been depicted in film from its inception to gain a better understanding of why people were offended. I think that would really help. Depictions alone, if repetitive enough, can help to train people, unknowingly, to have a certain belief or a certain reaction in certain situations. I really would ask that you do the research.

So if you want to imply that I'm not too experienced in what I should or should not be able to identify as racism or racial insensitivity, fine.


But just so you know...we'll have to disagree about that.
I think you know what you’ve been through, and you appreciate what your mother and grandparents went through. I believe you know that.
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Old August 29 2012, 08:07 AM   #58
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
I don't think it's the particulars that matter here in terms of if the Ligonians are wearing clothing that is more far east than Ivory Coast, etc. Hollywood has a long tradition of mixing up cultures and lands when portraying foreign countries. It's the aggregate impression that matters here.

We'd probably not be having this discussion had the Ligonian costumes and language been portrayed as weirdly Victorian but with the same script. No, it's the combination of what what we see as stereotypical "tribal" clothing along with a "fight to the death", the all black cast and the kidnapping of the white woman plot that adds up to a racist image in the mind of many, and we can argue whether or nor that's what's really happening, but that so many people see it as racist certainly says that the choices made for the episode were probably the wrong ones.
Well said. That's been my point this whole time.
I agree with the "aggregate impression" too, which is why I wonder if making the Ligonians look a bit more alien would have been enough to disrupt that.

Probably their "accents" didn't help -- as Christopher noted, as actors, they wouldn't be practiced at Swedish or Croatian accents. But consider how all-CGI aliens in the SW prequels are called racist portrayals just because of their accents or manner of speaking.
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Old August 29 2012, 08:24 AM   #59
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

R. Star wrote: View Post
CommanderRaytas wrote: View Post
R. Star wrote: View Post

It's considered terribly racist because it glaringly hits upon African sterotypes and the plot summary is "white woman kidnapped on planet full of black people!" A few bumps aren't going to fix that.

Hehehe.

In a nutshell, this. I agree completely. It would probably not have changed a thing.

The choice of words made me giggle though.
Haha, glad to be of service. Some of those season 1 episodes, you just have to wonder "What were they thinking."

Next week on TNG! After saving Tasha from the planet of black people, our crew boldly goes to the planet of scantily clad blond haired, blue eyed people known as the Arya-- I mean Edo!

You just have to poke fun at things like this.
LOL

I don't remember who, but someone once christened them "Planet of the Jogging Bimbos". An episode just as bad as "Planet of the Black People", to be sure.
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Old August 29 2012, 08:30 AM   #60
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

Morpheus 02 wrote: View Post
SonicRanger wrote: View Post
Or is it just that the Tamarians have sufficiently bumpy heads that the audience perceives them as "aliens" rather than "1940s tribal Africans in space"? The Tamarians, after all, do kidnap the white hero and force him into a knife fight.
They had more than bumpy heads -- they had full on make up.

Much different than even the Bajorans.

The Tamarians also had technology that was either equal to or perhaps superior than the Federation -- NOT primitive. And it was the Tamarian captain that initiated the relationship. It put a twist on the usual "Enterprise crew teaches other aliens what is right"

Now, if Darmok had taken the place of Code of Honor, and the characters were in fact black humans and not had the make-up, i think this episode would still be considered one of TNG's best by many (embodying Trek's theme), and we might have seen other episodes with human races that were made up of non-whites.
The basic physical difference between the Tamarians and Ligonians is just some latex on the actors' heads.

The Ligonians had their own transporters, had some medical technology that the Federation didn't, and might even have had warp drive if the Federation that contacted them.

I'm not so certain that, if one replaced the Tamarians' "style" or design with that of Ligonians, "Darmok" would still be the classic it is considered now.

What separates the perceptions of "Code of Honor" and "Darmok" isn't much... and a lot of it has to do with bumpy heads.
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