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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old February 23 2013, 04:54 PM   #1
E-DUB
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The luckiest guy in TOS

had to be Lt. Shea in "By any Other Name". Think about it, a black dude in a red shirt and he survives the episode.
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Old February 23 2013, 09:44 PM   #2
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

The idea that people of color were more likely to be killed on Star Trek because it was the sixties and they were viewed as more disposable is a ridiculous lie that keeps being brought up. Almost every "red shirt" that died on Star Trek was white. Only one black man died in the entire series. I'm not one hundred percent sure but I believe there was one or two at the absolute most people of Latin decent that died. And that is it.

So yeah, I thought about it, "a black dude in a red shirt and he survives the episode" sounds like business as usual on Star Trek
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Old February 23 2013, 10:35 PM   #3
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

Now a white dude in a red shirt..HE was toast..
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Old February 24 2013, 03:09 AM   #4
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

I wasn't necessarily saying that that particular trope applied to Star Trek, but it certainly was a common thing, esp in horror movies. It might be interesting for someone to come up with a statistic like for baseball. Number of screen deaths per x number of appearances and compare black and white actors with otherwise similar demographics.
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Old February 24 2013, 03:56 AM   #5
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

E-DUB wrote: View Post
It might be interesting for someone to come up with a statistic like for baseball. Number of screen deaths per x number of appearances and compare black and white actors with otherwise similar demographics.
Why should "someone" come up with these stats? Because you have some particular axe to grind? We're supposedly living in an enlightened world were sex and race don't matter. Yet I repeatedly see proclamations of "first woman this", "first black that", "first latino whatever." Now tell me who is racist and sexist here? Give people more credit for their personal achievements than some arbitrary and politically correct pigeonhole.
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Old February 24 2013, 04:03 AM   #6
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

"And...there goes the black guy."

So said Cronan Thompson, a Usenet poster who used to do tongue-in-cheek reviews of sf and horror shows and movies; he was wont to point out, time and again, the black-guy-gets-killed early trope that popped up again and again in such entertainment.

Sadly, Cronan died at a young age of cancer. In his honor, Robert Hewitt Wolfe included a black character named "Cronan" in the first episode of Andromeda.

"Cronan," of course, didn't survive the first half-hour of the show.
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Old February 24 2013, 12:35 PM   #7
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

Kirk was the luckiest guy in TOS. I thought that would go without saying.
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Old February 24 2013, 02:18 PM   #8
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

E-DUB wrote: View Post
Lt. Shea
By any Other Name is one of the TOS episodes I commonly show to people who are unfamiliar with the show. Almost everyone comment on the fact that Shea survives and Thompson is the one killed.

"Wow, I didn't see that coming."


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Old February 24 2013, 05:18 PM   #9
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

No axe to grind here. Just though it would be interesting to see if there was statistical corroberation for the idea behind the trope.
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Old February 24 2013, 06:44 PM   #10
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

E-DUB wrote: View Post
I wasn't necessarily saying that that particular trope applied to Star Trek, but it certainly was a common thing, esp in horror movies. It might be interesting for someone to come up with a statistic like for baseball. Number of screen deaths per x number of appearances and compare black and white actors with otherwise similar demographics.
What were you trying to say then? You implied that a black man in a redshirt who survived was somehow amazing. One black man, Crewman John Watkins, was the only non-white crewman to die in the entire run of the show.

Whether or not black characters dying was a common thing in other shows, it has nothing to do with Star Trek.

Before I informed you otherwise, did you think that lots of non-white characters died on Star Trek? I'm curious to know, because I've heard this before from a lot of people.
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Old February 24 2013, 06:57 PM   #11
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

Just reading over this thread has got me wondering.

What if we took the number of white crew people with speaking parts and considered the fraction of them who got killed versus the number of black crew people with speaking parts and considered the fraction of them who got killed.

What would the results be? In other words, among the crew, would the black people who spoke be more likely to die than the white people who spoke?

(I'm restricting this question to speaking parts just so that we don't have to sift through all the extras walking through the background.)
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Old February 24 2013, 07:02 PM   #12
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

EnterpriseClass wrote: View Post
Before I informed you otherwise, did you think that lots of non-white characters died on Star Trek? I'm curious to know, because I've heard this before from a lot of people.
Then again, I've never heard this claim before in 35 years of watching Trek. And I would've thought with all the hype Trek has had over the years for pioneering diversity that someone would've mentioned that to deflate it. Maybe I've just missed it but I've never heard this particular claim.
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Old February 24 2013, 08:19 PM   #13
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

Mr. Adventure wrote: View Post
EnterpriseClass wrote: View Post
Before I informed you otherwise, did you think that lots of non-white characters died on Star Trek? I'm curious to know, because I've heard this before from a lot of people.
Then again, I've never heard this claim before in 35 years of watching Trek. And I would've thought with all the hype Trek has had over the years for pioneering diversity that someone would've mentioned that to deflate it. Maybe I've just missed it but I've never heard this particular claim.
I've heard this from people unfamiliar with trek as well as at least three stand up comedian acts where they joke about how you always know if a black guy or a guy with a Hispanic last names goes down to a planet then he ain't coming back.
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Old February 24 2013, 08:39 PM   #14
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

^^ I did a little googling and it does corroborate with what you're saying.
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Old February 24 2013, 08:46 PM   #15
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Re: The luckiest guy in TOS

E-DUB wrote: View Post
I wasn't necessarily saying that that particular trope applied to Star Trek, but it certainly was a common thing, esp in horror movies.
It really wasn't. If anything, black people were underrepresented in the horror genre and barely appeared in them for the longest time. The idea that "the black guy always dies first in horror" is rubbish made by revisionist black journalists who have barely even seen any horror movies and are looking for pity.

I'm thinking in my head right now of the 10 or so most famous horror movies and most of them don't even have a black character (Psycho, Halloween etc). Others do but the black guy is competent and lasts a fair amount of time (Alien). The Shining is the only one that even fits the rule you mention.
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