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

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Old December 29 2012, 09:08 PM   #16
Dale Sams
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

LOKAI of CHERON wrote: View Post
Bad choices and poor judgement aside, I still really enjoy CoH with its decided TOS-like vibe.
There's a definite 'interesting' rawness to season one. Skin of Evil being an example. There's a lot of nice choices in Skin of Evil that never would have been done in further years.
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Old December 29 2012, 10:05 PM   #17
TemporalFlux
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

As they stated in New Orleans earlier this month, the cast thought it was racist and the most awkward episode of the series to film.
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Old December 29 2012, 10:55 PM   #18
Maurice
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

This has obviously been discussed before, so here's what I wrote about the perceived racism:
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.
I don't know what the scriptwriters supposedly intended for the Ligonians, just what the shooting script reads. The Teaser for "Code of Honor" says:
"There are four extremely tall, elegant Black Guards who form a square."
But if this is meant to describe the "race" of the guards, it seems strange. Why specify this for the guards (non-speaking roles) and not the rest of the characters? I suspect the intention of the shooting script was that the Ligonian people be black. It really makes no sense to specify the race in this context otherwise.
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Old December 29 2012, 11:21 PM   #19
JarodRussell
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

The Overlord wrote: View Post
No, its because the Ligonians were presented in "1940s African Tribal Style" in that episode.
Christopher wrote: View Post
We covered this back in August in this thread. The culture in the script is stereotyped, but they're Orientalist stereotypes rather than African ones; the episode explicitly says that the Ligonian culture resembles Ming China. The screenwriters based the Ligonians on samurai culture and intended them to be reptilian, or at least played by actors of multiple ethnicities. But the decision was made to cast them as all-black and use stock African accents.
So with a bigger budget, it would have been lizards, and then it wouldn't have been racist.
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Old December 29 2012, 11:52 PM   #20
Christopher
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

Maurice wrote: View Post
I don't know what the scriptwriters supposedly intended for the Ligonians, just what the shooting script reads. The Teaser for "Code of Honor" says:
"There are four extremely tall, elegant Black Guards who form a square."
But if this is meant to describe the "race" of the guards, it seems strange. Why specify this for the guards (non-speaking roles) and not the rest of the characters? I suspect the intention of the shooting script was that the Ligonian people be black. It really makes no sense to specify the race in this context otherwise.
I think it would be the other way around. Remember the common tendency, especially in earlier generations, to assume white was the default setting. All too often, a character's race is only specified when it isn't white. (Remember how many people thought Rue from The Hunger Games was white even though she was repeatedly referred to as dark-skinned in the text. And I've seen novel covers that rendered black characters as white. It's a hard preconception for some people to overcome even when it is clearly stated.) So if the guards were called "black" and nobody else was given a racial descriptor, that probably means that only the guards were intended to be black.


JarodRussell wrote: View Post
So with a bigger budget, it would have been lizards, and then it wouldn't have been racist.
Well, however they appeared, the culture was still written according to various stereotypes of nonwhite cultures. It was largely Orientalist, as I said, but there was also an analogy made to the Native American custom of counting coup. So they were pretty much written as a generic Other. I'm not sure if a stereotypical portrayal of everyone non-Western is much better than a stereotype of one specific ethnic group.
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Old December 30 2012, 12:07 AM   #21
JarodRussell
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

Christopher wrote: View Post
JarodRussell wrote: View Post
So with a bigger budget, it would have been lizards, and then it wouldn't have been racist.
Well, however they appeared, the culture was still written according to various stereotypes of nonwhite cultures. It was largely Orientalist, as I said, but there was also an analogy made to the Native American custom of counting coup. So they were pretty much written as a generic Other. I'm not sure if a stereotypical portrayal of everyone non-Western is much better than a stereotype of one specific ethnic group.
Are we so far to call every stereotypical portrayal of a culture racist?

Every alien culture seen in Trek is a stereotype of sorts, simply because nothing else is possible within the narrow confines of a TV episode. Klingons are warriors with a strong honor codex, with exceptions. Romulans are spies and traitors, with exceptions. Ferengi are capitalists, with exceptions. Bajorans are fundamentally religious, with exceptions. So essentially, all those cultures are caricatures with ONE specific trait.

You can interpret racial and ethnical stereotypes into any of these fictional cultures if you want. TNG Klingons seem to be modelled after the Japanese samurai. TOS Klingons and Romulans after the Soviets. Ferengi are Jews. Bajorans are Jews as well, and also (ironically) Palestinian. Cardassians are Nazis. And so forth.
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Old December 30 2012, 12:23 AM   #22
Dream
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

I thought it was so dumb that "Code of Honor" had all black people while "Justice" had all pretty white people in their episodes. It didn't help that both episodes sucked so much.
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Old December 30 2012, 12:24 AM   #23
Kelthaz
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

Of course it's racist. I mean, just look at it. This really isn't open to interpretation. At best you could say that the episode is unintentionally racist, but it's still a racist episode that never should have been created.
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Old December 30 2012, 12:49 AM   #24
R. Star
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

Really all they had to do was change the wardrobe to something less primitive or tribal looking, drop the uniform heavy African accents and maybe throw in a few people of different ethnicities among them and the race thing wouldn't have been an issue.

The episode still wouldn't have been very good in my opinion, but that's another matter entirely. I don't think the race thing was intentional, but if an episode like that aired today the show would've been run off the air. I can't believe no one spoke up and pointed out the glaringly obvious.
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Old December 30 2012, 12:52 AM   #25
Dream
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

Star Grinch wrote: View Post
I don't think the race thing was intentional, but if an episode like that aired today the show would've been run off the air. I can't believe no one spoke up and pointed out the glaringly obvious.
At times I still don't understood how TNG made it past its first season. There were so many BAD episodes.

I guess Trek fans were just so hungry for new Trek after decades of TOS reruns that they would have watched anything. I'm glad they stuck around though.
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Old December 30 2012, 02:36 AM   #26
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

Racist? No. Racism adjacent? Perhaps. Really, really terrible, in the running for worst Star Trek episode of all time? Absolutely.

@Dream

TNG S1 may have been terrible, but look at it this way. Can you really say it was worse than 75% of network TV shows? If Whitney can get renewed for a second season, I think Star Trek: TNG can. It did get stronger toward the end of the season.

It's kind of ironic that the third episode of Stargate was exactly the same way. Tribal Mongolians kidnap Carter. Only they end up trading for her. And then at the end Carter has to end up fighting the tribal leader, proving she is a strong, blonde, short haired, badass female.

Both the third episode of their series. Both in the running for worst in series. Both with very similar plots.
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Old December 30 2012, 02:41 AM   #27
Christopher
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

Star Grinch wrote: View Post
Really all they had to do was change the wardrobe to something less primitive or tribal looking...
Actually the wardrobe didn't look very "tribal," and not even remotely primitive. It was more a mix of Mideast and Asian influences -- turbans, baggy pants, and loose wrapped garments -- done in shiny, metallic materials to give it a "futuristic" gloss. Granted, some of the background extras had costumes that were probably pulled off the "African" rack in Paramount's wardrobe department, but Lutan's outfit wouldn't have looked out of place on Yul Brynner in The King and I, and Hagon's outfit looked like something you'd see on a harem guard in an Arabian Nights movie. Yareena mainly wore elegant, colorful dresses that would've been just as likely to show up on any other woman Bill Theiss designed for (though a lot less skimpy than the female outfits he's famous for).
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Old December 30 2012, 04:09 AM   #28
Dream
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

LOKAI of CHERON wrote: View Post
Bad choices and poor judgement aside, I still really enjoy CoH with its decided TOS-like vibe.
The problem is that TNG was suppose to be a completely new show and not something that was aping TOS. TNG got better once it moved on to do its own thing and developed its own style.

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
And don't get me started on Chakotay.
What's wrong with Chakotay besides the fact that he was so boring?
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Old December 30 2012, 04:17 AM   #29
Christopher
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

Dream wrote: View Post
The problem is that TNG is suppose to be a completely new show and not something that should have aped TOS.
Except originally it wasn't completely new. The show was created by Roddenberry, David Gerrold, D.C. Fontana, and Bob Justman. Initially it was a reunion of some of the most important creators behind the original show, and naturally they did things much as they'd done before. It's not "aping" if it's the same people continuing to do things according to their own characteristic style. Heck, that was the whole appeal of TNG to those of us hearing about its creation and development back in '86-'87 -- the prospect of getting new Trek from the same people who'd been so important to the old Trek.

Just imagine if Roddenberry had still been in his prime, if his handlers hadn't driven the other co-developers away -- or if he'd had the sense to step back and let Justman, Fontana, and Gerrold run the show. What we got would've been very different, but it could've been a genuinely good show in the same vein as TOS. Although one can question whether a show like that would've really succeeded in the '80s and '90s.


Dale Sams wrote: View Post
And don't get me started on Chakotay.
What's wrong with Chakotay besides the fact that he was so boring?
Perhaps he's referring to the fact that Chakotay was a generic fictional Indian rather than being based on any authentic culture. Although the reason they did that was to avoid the risk of misrepresenting or offending a real Native American culture.
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Old December 30 2012, 04:35 AM   #30
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Re: Was Code of Honor racist?

Dream wrote: View Post
LOKAI of CHERON wrote: View Post
Bad choices and poor judgement aside, I still really enjoy CoH with its decided TOS-like vibe.
The problem is that TNG was suppose to be a completely new show and not something that was aping TOS. TNG got better once it moved on to do its own thing and developed its own style.

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
And don't get me started on Chakotay.
What's wrong with Chakotay besides the fact that he was so boring?
The fact that his personality seemed to be Native American cliches?
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