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Future of Trek Discussion of future Trek projects.

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Old August 25 2012, 04:08 PM   #16
Sindatur
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

I don't think diversity of Ethics, Morals, personality, religion, have anything whatsoever to do with casting (Other than acting abilities). That diversity can only come from the way the character is written, you won't get that diversity based upon the color, creed or face of the actor you hire, and you won't get it by putting a prosthetic forehead or antennae on a character
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Old August 25 2012, 04:10 PM   #17
Knight Templar
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

[QUOTE=Christopher;6857594]

And yes, obviously a bunch of people working together in the same profession are going to have some similarities; you're not likely to see someone who doesn't want to explore the galaxy aboard a starship whose mission is to explore the galaxy. QUOTE]

You're showing a lack of imagination.

You could have a real diversity of reasons for serving in Starfleet aboard a starship.

1) Character from a planet attacked by unknown aliens who is dedicated to tracking them down and avenging his family.

2) Character who has religious beliefs that believes if they go far enough across the galaxy that they can "touch the face of God".

3) Character running away from trouble on their own planet (French Foreign Legion motivation).

And so on.

And "chocolate, Westerns".

Those are quirks. Not personality.
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Old August 25 2012, 04:18 PM   #18
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

We could always start a petition to see spider people represented on the bridge of a starship.
Petitions always work.
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Old August 25 2012, 04:27 PM   #19
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

I don't think anyone disputes that TNG's cast was fairly homogeneous and light in the conflict department; I'm just saying that there was at least some effort to individualize them, although a lot of the early potential for differentiation was squandered. But DS9 and VGR definitely tried to create casts that had more basis for conflict, people who came from a variety of different backgrounds. The various people on DS9 had all sorts of different reasons for being there, and a number of them didn't initially want to be there at all. And VGR's crew was also designed to have a mix of backgrounds and goals to provide a similarly rich basis for conflict. In both cases, the creators were reacting to the relative homogeneity of the TNG crew and trying to build conflict potential into the series from the start. Although, again, VGR fell pretty far short of this aspiration because UPN insisted on downplaying the character conflict, preferring that the show be more like TNG.

So again, Knight Templar, I don't buy the assertion that Star Trek never had what you're asking for. Sometimes it didn't, but sometimes it did.
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Old August 26 2012, 12:00 AM   #20
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

Christopher wrote: View Post
I don't think anyone disputes that TNG's cast was fairly homogeneous and light in the conflict department; I'm just saying that there was at least some effort to individualize them, although a lot of the early potential for differentiation was squandered. But DS9 and VGR definitely tried to create casts that had more basis for conflict, people who came from a variety of different backgrounds. The various people on DS9 had all sorts of different reasons for being there, and a number of them didn't initially want to be there at all. And VGR's crew was also designed to have a mix of backgrounds and goals to provide a similarly rich basis for conflict. In both cases, the creators were reacting to the relative homogeneity of the TNG crew and trying to build conflict potential into the series from the start. Although, again, VGR fell pretty far short of this aspiration because UPN insisted on downplaying the character conflict, preferring that the show be more like TNG.

So again, Knight Templar, I don't buy the assertion that Star Trek never had what you're asking for. Sometimes it didn't, but sometimes it did.
I haven't seen enough of Voyager to have an opinion, but I think Deep Space Nine didn't just try, they succeeded. I don't think it gets much more diverse, in whatever way you'd like to think of it, than DS9. Let's look at the characters:

Sisko - Regular human made Emmisary. He had to really expand his thinking and beliefs for that one.

Jadzia Dax - A Trill that's lived 7-8 lives, one of which as Sisko's best friend, and ended up working on 2 in that department. She had the most open outlook on everything out of everyone. To be a Trill accepting that many lives inside of you (and being able to manage that and still hold onto yourself) would require being open.

Bashir - A genetically enhanced human.

Odo - A Changeling raised by Bajorans and ended up having to work for Cardassians and then with Starfleet. Then he had to work out what being a Changeling meant for him when he finally met the other Changelings and differed with their ideals and philosophies on race relations.

Nog
- The first Ferengi Starfleet officer. And there was some conflict about that.

Miles - The regular human that remained "ordinary" for the entire series run.

Kira - Bajoran who is deeply religious and loyal to her own people after they'd been enslaved by the Cardassians for 50 years.

Worf - A Klingon that was raised by humans.

No one or "type" is ever represented twice! This is the MOST diverse cast, any way you want to put it, in the history of Star Trek, if you ask me. They really did succeed in the diversity department.
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Last edited by Spock/Uhura Fan; August 26 2012 at 12:16 AM.
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Old August 26 2012, 12:20 AM   #21
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

^I said "tried" because I was referring to VGR in the same sentence as DS9. I agree that DS9 succeeded, but VGR's attempt to achieve the same goal, as I said, was squandered due to network pressure.
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Old August 26 2012, 01:04 AM   #22
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

^ Fair enough, then. Thank you for the clarification.
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Old August 26 2012, 01:17 AM   #23
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

Knight, what you are talking about isn't personality. Personality is about how people perceive the world and make decisions. E.g Spock = logic, McCoy = feelings etc.

You mean characters with different motivations. E.g. you could have a Vulcan who uses the same though processes as Spock, but uses them for a different purpose. E.g. the *evil* Spock in the mirror universe uses the same kind of logic as Spock, yet his aims are slightly different.
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Old August 28 2012, 04:29 AM   #24
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

Christopher wrote: View Post
No, it sounds like I'm saying that the casting process, like all employment processes, should be racially neutral and give equal opportunity to everyone.
As I understand it Christopher, you legally can discriminate when hiring actors, and when hiring models. In terms of age, gender, appearance, disabilities, changing weight, etc.

billcosby wrote: View Post
We could always start a petition to see spider people represented on the bridge of a starship. Petitions always work.
I like your idea, and will sign your petition.


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Old August 28 2012, 04:54 AM   #25
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

Knight Templar wrote: View Post
IndyJones wrote: View Post
Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
I don't know, but I think the kind of diversity you're looking for is there.

By diversity, he means more Christianity. He thinks it's sad that these other groups are given precedence while Christianity is relegated to the background.
Citation needed.

Link.
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Old August 28 2012, 07:19 AM   #26
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

Doesn't Starfleet have a rigorous screening process to make sure people only train for the 'right' reasons. I guess that would exclude avenging their family, religious pilgrimage etc. If you want to see such characters, they'd have to be civilians or damn good at concealing their true motivations.
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Old August 28 2012, 04:15 PM   #27
Christopher
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
As I understand it Christopher, you legally can discriminate when hiring actors, and when hiring models. In terms of age, gender, appearance, disabilities, changing weight, etc.
But why would you want to? If you're casting a Star Trek series, a show set in a future where Earth is a globally unified civilization, what possible reason could you have for not seeking to assemble an ethnically diverse cast? (If anything, ST has never gone far enough on that front, considering that the majority of the human race is Asian, whereas the majority of humans in Trek are overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon by name and culture even if not by ethnicity.)

I think the problem is that some people still unthinkingly assume that an all-white cast is the default situation and that it would take a conscious effort to produce a more mixed one. What I'm saying is that, both in terms of real-world demographics and the premise of the Trek universe, it's the other way around: the default scenario is an ethnically diverse group, and the only way you'd get a non-diverse group is if a particular effort at exclusion were made. And I see no reason why such an effort should ever be desirable, unless you're casting a historical drama set in a monoracial culture.
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Old August 28 2012, 05:51 PM   #28
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

Christopher wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
As I understand it Christopher, you legally can discriminate when hiring actors, and when hiring models. In terms of age, gender, appearance, disabilities, changing weight, etc.
But why would you want to?
Only one reason: ratings.

In particular, producers and studios are concerned about appeal most in the markets where the show will yield the most revenue.

Yeah, I know, obvious answer is obvious.
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Old August 28 2012, 06:38 PM   #29
Christopher
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Only one reason: ratings.

In particular, producers and studios are concerned about appeal most in the markets where the show will yield the most revenue.

Yeah, I know, obvious answer is obvious.
I disagree. White people aren't the only ones who buy advertisers' products. TV networks figured that out half a century ago. The reason the original Star Trek had an ethnically diverse cast wasn't because Roddenberry was some great liberal innovator who pushed for it; it's because studies a few years earlier had shown that minority viewers had money too and used it to buy the products they saw advertised on TV, so that catering to minorities by including them in TV shows would help boost networks' and advertisers' profits. (Roddenberry actually failed to deliver his promise of a multiethnic cast in "The Cage;" the closest thing to ethnic diversity in that bunch, aside from the pointy-eared alien played by a Ukrainian Jew, was a guy who was named "Jose" but played by a very, very Caucasian actor with blond hair. We only got Sulu and Uhura because the network insisted on a more diverse cast the second time around.)

Really, I can't think of many shows today without ethnically diverse casts. I'm going over the shows I watch regularly... I guess Covert Affairs is a bit lacking in diversity since they dropped Sendhil Ramamurthy, but they had him for two years. Really, though, that's the only one I can think of. Well, Doctor Who doesn't have any nonwhite regulars at the moment, but it had Freema Agyeman for a year and has plenty of diversity in its guest casting.

Of course, my viewing habits aren't typical. Let's look at the top-rated shows of the past season. Leaving out the reality stuff, focusing only on scripted shows:

Modern Family: The leading lady is Sofia Vergara and a Latino actor plays her son.
The Big Bang Theory: Has Kunal Nayyar.
Two and a Half Men: Hmm, is Conchata Ferrell Latina?
2 Broke Girls: Has Garrett Morris and Matthew Moy.
Grey's Anatomy: Has a fairly diverse cast, and I believe is known for its color-blind casting practices.
New Girl: Has Lemorne Morris.
How I Met Your Mother: Hmm, main cast seems all-white, but they've had recurring guests like Kal Penn and Naznanin Boniadi.
Once Upon a Time: Also a bit lacking, but has Giancarlo Esposito and is adding Jamie Chung as Mulan.
NCIS: Has Rocky Carroll and Cote de Pablo.
Family Guy: Has, or had, the Cleveland character, although he's played by a white voice artist.
Mike & Molly: Has Reno Wilson, Nyambi Nyambi, and Cleo King.
Criminal Minds: Has Shemar Moore.
Glee: Has a pretty diverse cast, so I gather, though they tend to be stereotyped characters.
Terra Nova: Had Shelley Conn, Christine Adams, Naomi Scott, and Alana Mansour.
Desperate Housewives: Has Eva Longoria and Ricardo Chavira.

Okay, so there's less diversity than I thought in the top-rated shows, particularly the sitcoms and the ABC melodramas, but there doesn't seem to be any inverse correlation between diversity and ratings.
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Old August 28 2012, 06:45 PM   #30
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Re: Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

For the record, I never said, "and therefore they will cast white people." What I said was that engineering appeal to maximize revenue would be the only reason to skew ethnicity. If appeal is the same no matter the ethnic makeup of the cast, then that implies no skewing, which is perfectly consistent with what I said.
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