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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old August 28 2013, 04:10 PM   #1
sonak
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STVI without the racism

One complaint about TUC is the sudden, out of nowhere racism of the senior crew of the Enterprise, especially Kirk. It's an especially odd contrast to the end of TFF, where the Klingons and the TOS crew are drinking together on the ENT-A.


I don't think the sudden racism was necessary for the film to make its point. Kirk and crew distrusted the Klingons for political and military reasons, not reasons of race prejudice. If the allegory is the Cold War, anti-Communists weren't usually racist against "Russians" as a group, they were opposed to the Soviet system because it was seen as totalitarian and expansionist.

They should have played up the "distrust of the long time enemy" angle, and dropped the "Kirk is suddenly Archie Bunker" stuff. It's pretty jarring since it seems very out of character. Kirk has one previous reference to "Klingon bastards" and that's right after his son has been killed, and there's no other indications of racial dislike of Klingons until we get to TUC.
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Old August 28 2013, 04:21 PM   #2
DalekJim
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Re: STVI without the racism

Prejudice against the Klingons doesn't really stem from racism at all. It stems from the fact they have a culture that celebrates violence, that has a proven track record of consistent aggression against humanity.

Racism would be irrational hatred based on their appearance or whatever. The hatred of Klingon culture is entirely rational. If it existed, I'd hate it too. Kirk doesn't distrust the Klingons because they look funny. He distrusts them because their entire culture revolves around killing people for fun.
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Old August 28 2013, 04:25 PM   #3
Ensign_Redshirt
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Re: STVI without the racism

DalekJim wrote: View Post
Prejudice against the Klingons doesn't really stem from racism at all. It stems from the fact they have a culture that celebrates violence, that has a proven track record of consistent aggression against humanity.
I'd bet real money that a lot of Americans would have said that about the Japanese too, ca. 1942.
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Old August 28 2013, 04:28 PM   #4
DalekJim
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Re: STVI without the racism

I think the Japanese were more civilised than the Klingons . Kirk's prejudice against the Klingons was entirely because of their culture, and concerned none of their racial characteristics. McCoy's teasing of Spock is racism, because it concerns his race's appearance.
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Old August 28 2013, 04:28 PM   #5
jpv2000
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Re: STVI without the racism

DalekJim wrote: View Post
Prejudice against the Klingons doesn't really stem from racism at all. It stems from the fact they have a culture that celebrates violence, that has a proven track record of consistent aggression against humanity.

Racism would be irrational hatred based on their appearance or whatever. The hatred of Klingon culture is entirely rational. If it existed, I'd hate it too. Kirk doesn't distrust the Klingons because they look funny. He distrusts them because their entire culture revolves around killing people for fun.
Same here. I was really angry when I saw the first episode of TNG and saw a Klingon on the Enterprise. I was recording it and just stopped the tape and said forget this.

I later came to really like Worf, but it took a while.
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Old August 28 2013, 04:39 PM   #6
CommishSleer
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Re: STVI without the racism

Agreed.

Meyer put his own spin on things. While that gave him a fresh outlook he certainly didn't necessarily understand the characters. Still Nimoy and others should have known better.

It is a big jump from STV. Like they were erasing STV from history.

Kirk and crew disliked what the Klingons did in TOS not how they ate or smelled
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Old August 28 2013, 04:45 PM   #7
ComicGuy89
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Re: STVI without the racism

From STV:

McCoy: Jim... if you ask me, and you haven't, I think this is a terrible idea. We're bound to bump into the Klingons, and they don't exactly like you.
Kirk: Feeling's mutual.
I think it's safe to say that up until then, humans have never liked Klingons, and hatred for their ideology and cultural identity has sometimes, seeped into hatred for the species and its individuals themselves.

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Kirk and crew disliked what the Klingons did in TOS not how they ate or smelled
Hmm, I remember this remark from STIV:

"You'd think they could at least send us a ship. It's bad enough to be court-martialed and to have to spend the rest of our lives mining borite, but to have to go home in this Klingon flea trap?"
"We could learn a thing or two about this flea trap. It's got a cloaking device that cost us a lot."
"I just wish we could cloak the stench!"
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Old August 28 2013, 04:51 PM   #8
CommishSleer
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Re: STVI without the racism

The Klingons we saw in ST6 were more genteel.
I think we had more sympathy for them because of their situation in ST6.

It just seemed petty the way Uhura and Chekov (I think) rolled their eyes at the dinner table. Of course there are times when we are all in that situation ourselves and laugh at other people's faux pas. We just hope that nobody witnesses it. And I believe that nowadays we are aware to take into account different cultures.

Last edited by CommishSleer; August 28 2013 at 05:21 PM.
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Old August 28 2013, 05:01 PM   #9
ComicGuy89
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Re: STVI without the racism

I think it's really the pressures of the uneasy alliance that has gotten everyone into such a horrid mood. Normally they'd be fine, but the prospect of dining with these Klingons in a disagreeable situation put everyone in a bad mood.

Such personal situations bring out the worst in everyone and we get very judgmental. It's not hard to imagine that Kirk and company, already stressed with the volatile political climate, would not be able to resist their more base prejudices. At least they weren't commenting on it explicitly.
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Old August 28 2013, 08:56 PM   #10
Timo
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Re: STVI without the racism

Kirk and crew disliked what the Klingons did in TOS not how they ate or smelled
...But before ST5:TFF, they hadn't seen how Klingons eat!

Really, I'd say it's a sort of natural progression for our heroes to first hate the people who fly the starships that rain destruction on innocents; then to hate the soldiers who plot and scheme and then smile; and then to hate the very stench of the scum. They learn more and more about the enemy in the two decades of adventures, and there's no particular reason for them to suddenly change course and start treating the new evidence as being somehow favorable for the Klingons. It's easy to be "rational" about hatred and argue that if the Klingons just stop being so damn evil, hatred can stop as well - but unlikely that our very human heroes would actually be able to behave that rationally even if a single Klingon or three prove they are slightly less rotten than the lot.

Goons like the two assassins might say they hate the smell of Klingons without ever having smelled one. Our main heroes might quite plausibly start hating the smell of Klingons, and saying so, after having their first opportunity to witness the odor.

Chekov of course was always racist about the Klingons - but perhaps he had actually smelled one, or several, prior to "Trouble with Tribbles"? There's that brother Pyotr backstory, and only Sulu's (uninformed?) word that it ain't real...

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Old August 28 2013, 11:10 PM   #11
Hober Mallow
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Re: STVI without the racism

sonak wrote: View Post
One complaint about TUC is the sudden, out of nowhere racism of the senior crew of the Enterprise, especially Kirk.
Shatner objected to it, but he was overruled by Meyer. What might have made it better was to go with what Shatner suggested -- that if he had to say the line, that he at least get to pause and project a feeling that Kirk immediately regretted saying it, to show a more conflicted Kirk. Could of made the scene better. Or maybe not. There's no way to know now, but it would be interesting to see athe scene staged the way Shatner wanted to do it to compare.

Overall, I take Nick Meyer's Trek outings as his own, a separate reboot only nominally connected with any other version of Star Trek, where Starfleet is a predominantly military organization and Klingons have pink blood.
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Old August 29 2013, 12:45 AM   #12
austen_pierce
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Re: STVI without the racism

DalekJim wrote: View Post
Racism would be irrational hatred based on their appearance or whatever.
Uhura: Did you see the way they ate?!
Chekov: Terrible table manners.
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Old August 29 2013, 11:38 AM   #13
Kinokima
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Re: STVI without the racism

DalekJim wrote: View Post
McCoy's teasing of Spock is racism, because it concerns his race's appearance.
No it's not it's just that teasing. McCoy only teased Spock, never made rants about Vulcans in general or said anything negative about other Vulcans he met.

Also racism DOES not just concern appearance. That is not what racism is.
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Old August 29 2013, 01:23 PM   #14
Admiral2
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Re: STVI without the racism

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
It is a big jump from STV. Like they were erasing STV from history.

If only that were possible...
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Old August 29 2013, 05:03 PM   #15
DalekJim
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Re: STVI without the racism

Kinokima wrote: View Post
DalekJim wrote: View Post
McCoy's teasing of Spock is racism, because it concerns his race's appearance.
No it's not it's just that teasing. McCoy only teased Spock, never made rants about Vulcans in general or said anything negative about other Vulcans he met.
McCoy calling Spock a pointy eared freak or whatever is obviously racism. Personally I don't care though, and think McCoy is awesome .
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