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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 29 2013, 05:11 PM   #16
BillJ
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Re: STVI without the racism

I like the way the characters were portrayed in The Undiscovered Country. Their entire world, their entire way of thinking had just been turned upside-down. They had their own run-ins with Klingons that didn't turn out so well and Federation propaganda on top of it (being taught that the Klingons were the enemy).

They were very human in the film, thinking one-way then being forced to examine and change their thoughts regarding the Klingons. It played out much like episodes Arena and The Devil in the Dark.

Their wisdom finally caught up to their emotions.
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Old August 29 2013, 05:44 PM   #17
Kinokima
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Re: STVI without the racism

DalekJim wrote: View Post
McCoy calling Spock a pointy eared freak or whatever is obviously racism. Personally I don't care though, and think McCoy is awesome .

I don't recall McCoy ever using the term freak. I am not denying that McCoy pointed out Spock's Vulcan features but it's not racist because the intent of the writers in this instance was not racism.

Even though McCoy certainly did it the most often, other characters, including Kirk also pointed out Spock's Vulcan features and Kirk often laughed at what McCoy said. Does this make Kirk racist too?

I am not trying to be apologetic for it either because well Vulcans aren't a real race but the dialog & the way characters interact is a reflection of the time the series was written.

Sorry this is one of those pet peeves of mine.
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Old August 29 2013, 05:48 PM   #18
BillJ
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Re: STVI without the racism

Kinokima wrote: View Post

I don't recall McCoy ever using the term freak. I am not denying that McCoy pointed out Spock's Vulcan features but it's not racist because the intent of the writers in this instance was not racism.
Kirk called him a "freak" while trying to free him from the control of the spores in This Side of Paradise:

This Side of Paradise wrote:
KIRK: What can you expect from a simpering, devil-eared freak whose father was a computer and his mother an encyclopedia?
Scotty called him a "freak" while under duress from the squiggly alien in The Day of the Dove:

The Day of the Dove wrote:
SCOTT: Then transfer out, freak!
I can't ever remember McCoy calling Spock a "freak".
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Old August 29 2013, 06:06 PM   #19
Kinokima
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Re: STVI without the racism

^ Well I suppose what Kirk said in This Side of Paradise doesn't count because he didn't mean anything he said he was just trying to get under Spock's skin to release him from the pores.

That being said I am absolutely sure Kirk said things about Spock being a Vulcan before and he definitely laughed at what McCoy said.

If McCoy is racist so are many other people on that ship. And heck what about all those things that Spock said about humans?

Now as for whether the TOS crew was racist against the Klingons in STVI, I would say yes. But again this was the intent of the script even if it did not make sense with earlier stuff from other films and the TV series.
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Old August 29 2013, 07:47 PM   #20
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Re: STVI without the racism

Kinokima wrote: View Post

Now as for whether the TOS crew was racist against the Klingons in STVI, I would say yes. But again this was the intent of the script even if it did not make sense with earlier stuff from other films and the TV series.
I think it did make sense in context with the TV series. These people were never presented as being perfect they had their flaws and they were always pretty close to the surface.
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Old August 29 2013, 09:34 PM   #21
Kinokima
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Re: STVI without the racism

BillJ wrote: View Post
I think it did make sense in context with the TV series. These people were never presented as being perfect they had their flaws and they were always pretty close to the surface.

Oh I agree I think you can argue that it did make sense in context. Although I think in the series the Klingons were meant to not be trusted and war mongers.

I guess you could say that was based on false perceptions and not the truth. Actually I kind of wish there was more of that breaking up false perceptions in the film.

This is an issue in a lot of Sci-Fi but I never liked how aliens seem to have one human characteristic and then all the aliens of that species were like this. This seems silly. It's not like all human beings are alike.

Even the fact that the Vulcans were all logical seems a bit far fetched. However I ignore this because I think Spock's logic made for some very compelling writing (I unfortunately didn't feel the same about the Klingons).
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Old August 29 2013, 09:40 PM   #22
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Re: STVI without the racism

I really didn't see the Undiscovered Country as racist at all. All history with the Klingons has always been bad. Number one worst thing about them, they killed Kirk's son. The Federation and the Klingons have never gotten along with each other. I don't remember how the conflicts with the Klingons started, not sure if I've seen that episode yet if there is one. But I've never interpreted it as racism.
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Old August 30 2013, 02:35 AM   #23
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Re: STVI without the racism

The whole thing was a parallel to the glasnost taking place between the ex-Soviet Union and the United States. I'm sure most of my fellow Americans are quite aware of Soviets being called heathens and Commies, with attitudes not unlike those of Kirk and company.

It flies in the face of TNG's perfect humans a bit, but I don't have much of a problem with it. I think there's plenty of foundation for Kirk and crew to feel the way they do, and I certainly don't consider it racism. Prejudice, sure.
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Old August 30 2013, 02:41 AM   #24
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Re: STVI without the racism

ComicGuy89 wrote: View Post

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!"
Well, pardon me for being dense, but...if it's TRUE, how can it be prejudice?

If humans go aboard a Klingon ship and decide they don't like its smell or its quality (or lack thereof) of construction, then by definition it is not racism - it's direct personal experience. It's based on fact. To say "Klingons are ugly" is racism; to say that Klingons are warlike and brutal because you've seen them act that way on numerous occasions, well, I'm sorry but I don't see how that could be racist.

Kirk says he never trusted Klingons, and never will, because of his experience with them and because of David's murder. How is this racist?

(Burke and Samno, on the other hand? They were obviously racist. "They all look alike"..."You know only top of the line models can even talk"...those are clearly racist remarks. But those are just thoughts spoken aloud by two people, not representative of the entire crew.)

As for the lines in TOS about "freak": In one case, it was Kirk intentionally saying things he did not believe in order to 'bait' Spock into showing his emotions. And in the other, the crew were being provoked into irrational hatred by the "Day of the Dove" entity. So those are not genuine racist feelings in either case.
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Old August 30 2013, 04:39 AM   #25
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Re: STVI without the racism

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
ComicGuy89 wrote: View Post

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!"
Well, pardon me for being dense, but...if it's TRUE, how can it be prejudice?

If humans go aboard a Klingon ship and decide they don't like its smell or its quality (or lack thereof) of construction, then by definition it is not racism - it's direct personal experience. It's based on fact. To say "Klingons are ugly" is racism; to say that Klingons are warlike and brutal because you've seen them act that way on numerous occasions, well, I'm sorry but I don't see how that could be racist.

Kirk says he never trusted Klingons, and never will, because of his experience with them and because of David's murder. How is this racist?

(Burke and Samno, on the other hand? They were obviously racist. "They all look alike"..."You know only top of the line models can even talk"...those are clearly racist remarks. But those are just thoughts spoken aloud by two people, not representative of the entire crew.)

As for the lines in TOS about "freak": In one case, it was Kirk intentionally saying things he did not believe in order to 'bait' Spock into showing his emotions. And in the other, the crew were being provoked into irrational hatred by the "Day of the Dove" entity. So those are not genuine racist feelings in either case.

er, saying that "you'll never trust" an ENTIRE "race"(or culture, ethnicity, etc., whatever) because of the actions of ONE member is pretty much the definition of being racist or prejudiced.
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Old August 30 2013, 04:52 AM   #26
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Re: STVI without the racism

DalekJim wrote: View Post
I think the Japanese were more civilised than the Klingons .
Um... I really hope that emoticon is to express exaggerated sarcasm.
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Old August 30 2013, 05:01 AM   #27
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: STVI without the racism

sonak wrote: View Post

er, saying that "you'll never trust" an ENTIRE "race"(or culture, ethnicity, etc., whatever) because of the actions of ONE member is pretty much the definition of being racist or prejudiced.
Kirk wasn't basing this thing on just one person. He has had multiple dealings with many different Klingons over his career. It wasn't just because of David's murder that he doesn't like them. I'd say Kirk had many reasons not to like Klingons - not only did he LOSE HIS SON because of them, but he's lost crew to them too, and he's had many other opportunities to observe Klingon behavior.

And you will notice that Kirk did immediately regret it (in ST VI) after he said "Let them die"...
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Old August 30 2013, 05:52 AM   #28
darth_ender
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Re: STVI without the racism

I admit there seems to be a disconnect between the feelings towards Klingons between TFF and TUC: they were okay throwing back a few alien beverages with them, but when their moon blew up, well then "let them die!" Still, I believe the prejudice existent in ST VI is actually pretty realistic. As pointed out, the Enterprise had had several very negative run-ins with the Klingons over the years, and it seemed as if the two cultures could never coexist. They were almost seemingly "varelse" (to quote another of my favorite sci-fi storylines), and it was hard for the Enterprise to believe they could be "raman".

Think about yourselves. Each of us has been thoroughly taught not to feel racial prejudice. But if most of us were honest, we still retain quite of bit, though we try to suppress it. Our prejudice may even be directed towards our own race, such as the prevalent "wisdom" that only whites are capable of racist actions. Even if we have kept our racism in check, how often do we maintain other prejudice: sexism ("men are babies", "women are terrible drivers"), ageism ("old fart driver"), political prejudice against different ideologies and their motives, different religions (or anti-religion in general, or anti-atheist), professions, people with disabilities, the rich, the poor, and on and on and on.

If we are honest, we are prejudiced towards one group or another. We can afford to be understanding and even appreciate the humanity of Kirk and crew, as it truly represents our species and our imperfection. Yet in the end, it was the bigoted Kirk and his friends who stopped the assassination and guaranteed peace between the two peoples. That's something we can all learn: even if we are prone to bigotry, we are also capable of choosing to be better than that.
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Old August 30 2013, 01:33 PM   #29
ComicGuy89
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Re: STVI without the racism

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
ComicGuy89 wrote: View Post

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!"
Well, pardon me for being dense, but...if it's TRUE, how can it be prejudice?

If humans go aboard a Klingon ship and decide they don't like its smell or its quality (or lack thereof) of construction, then by definition it is not racism - it's direct personal experience. It's based on fact. To say "Klingons are ugly" is racism; to say that Klingons are warlike and brutal because you've seen them act that way on numerous occasions, well, I'm sorry but I don't see how that could be racist.

Kirk says he never trusted Klingons, and never will, because of his experience with them and because of David's murder. How is this racist?

(Burke and Samno, on the other hand? They were obviously racist. "They all look alike"..."You know only top of the line models can even talk"...those are clearly racist remarks. But those are just thoughts spoken aloud by two people, not representative of the entire crew.)

As for the lines in TOS about "freak": In one case, it was Kirk intentionally saying things he did not believe in order to 'bait' Spock into showing his emotions. And in the other, the crew were being provoked into irrational hatred by the "Day of the Dove" entity. So those are not genuine racist feelings in either case.
I'm not saying whether it is racist or not, I'm just remarking that the crew did remark on the way Klingons smelled, at least, as mentioned in the post above me.

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Kirk and crew disliked what the Klingons did in TOS not how they ate or smelled
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Old August 30 2013, 02:21 PM   #30
austen_pierce
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Re: STVI without the racism

darth_ender wrote: View Post
I admit there seems to be a disconnect between the feelings towards Klingons between TFF and TUC: they were okay throwing back a few alien beverages with them, but when their moon blew up, well then "let them die!" Still, I believe the prejudice existent in ST VI is actually pretty realistic. As pointed out, the Enterprise had had several very negative run-ins with the Klingons over the years, and it seemed as if the two cultures could never coexist. They were almost seemingly "varelse" (to quote another of my favorite sci-fi storylines), and it was hard for the Enterprise to believe they could be "raman".

Think about yourselves. Each of us has been thoroughly taught not to feel racial prejudice. But if most of us were honest, we still retain quite of bit, though we try to suppress it. Our prejudice may even be directed towards our own race, such as the prevalent "wisdom" that only whites are capable of racist actions. Even if we have kept our racism in check, how often do we maintain other prejudice: sexism ("men are babies", "women are terrible drivers"), ageism ("old fart driver"), political prejudice against different ideologies and their motives, different religions (or anti-religion in general, or anti-atheist), professions, people with disabilities, the rich, the poor, and on and on and on.

If we are honest, we are prejudiced towards one group or another. We can afford to be understanding and even appreciate the humanity of Kirk and crew, as it truly represents our species and our imperfection. Yet in the end, it was the bigoted Kirk and his friends who stopped the assassination and guaranteed peace between the two peoples. That's something we can all learn: even if we are prone to bigotry, we are also capable of choosing to be better than that.
That is not the meaning of 'varelse'.

Different writers, different directors = different direction for these two films. Racism is present in the film in the characters of Burke and Sanmo (B&S=BS?). I don't believe this about Kirk or the ensemble cast. Kirk did lose his son, and I believe it a weakness of TFF that he didn't feel more strongly about THAT little nugget when facing the Klingons in that film. "The feeling's mutual" doesn't quite cut it.
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