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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 August 8 2014, 09:36 AM   #1
Kobayshi Maru
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Uhura:

She got her entire memory wiped out by that Nomad thing and then McCoy and Nurse Chapel taught her some of the things she had forgotten, thanks to the training records they had. The question is: What happened to her personal memories? Her parents, her siblings, her childhood friends? How did she retrieve all that? Did she retrieve it at all? They never addressed that.

What do you people think?
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Old August 8 2014, 10:01 AM   #2
VST
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Re: Uhura:

60's era writing, man. That's the answer. They didn't think anyone would notice and probably, back then, few people did.

You're right though in that it's a massive oversight. It should have affected Uhura forever. But then she wasn't really ever a character was she? Just a token hot black woman in a short skirt.
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Old August 8 2014, 10:09 AM   #3
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Re: Uhura:

I think they mispoke. Uhura just lost connection with her memories or something.
There's no way she could learn or be taught her entire university degree/academic career in a few weeks.
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Old August 8 2014, 10:16 AM   #4
Cookies and Cake
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Re: Uhura:

I thought it was stupid, insulting, and (even if unintentionally) racist. "Blue-y" was a low point in TOS. The scene with Chapel forcing Uhura to speak English instead of Swahili just hit all the wrong ethnocidal notes, and Nichols had to play the part of a stereotypical black person with literacy issues.
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Old August 8 2014, 10:54 AM   #5
Olive, the Other Reindeer
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Re: Uhura:

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I thought it was stupid, insulting, and (even if unintentionally) racist. "Blue-y" was a low point in TOS. The scene with Chapel forcing Uhura to speak English instead of Swahili just hit all the wrong ethnocidal notes, and Nichols had to play the part of a stereotypical black person with literacy issues.
You're putting a racial spin on what was really nothing more than a silly attempt at comic relief. The notion of Uhura, or anyone for that matter, having their memory "wiped clean" and then being simply "re-educated" in a matter of weeks is just plain dumb.

I prefer to think that what Nomad did was more like putting Uhura's memories in the "Trash" folder.
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Old August 8 2014, 10:59 AM   #6
Timo
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Re: Uhura:

True, to both the preceding posts. But shock therapy, i.e. forcing her to recall, would probably be the therapeutically correct approach anyway. And foreign languages occupy a special niche in our minds, probably serving as practical triggers in such cases.

I think they mispoke. Uhura just lost connection with her memories or something.
That would be the only way this would make sense, yes.

OTOH, we could take Chapel's "Do you think we can re-educate her, Doctor?" as a tongue-in-cheek remark to the just-uncovered fact that Uhura is displaying an aptitude for mathematics. That is, Chapel's task is to restore Uhura by reactivating her memories in full, but she thinks it might be fun to instead turn Uhura into a mathematician, and McCoy plays along.

Whatever NOMAD itself says on the matter is of course suspect, as it admits to not knowing much about humans.

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Old August 8 2014, 11:18 AM   #7
Cookies and Cake
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Re: Uhura:

scotpens wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I thought it was stupid, insulting, and (even if unintentionally) racist. "Blue-y" was a low point in TOS. The scene with Chapel forcing Uhura to speak English instead of Swahili just hit all the wrong ethnocidal notes, and Nichols had to play the part of a stereotypical black person with literacy issues.
You're putting a racial spin on what was really nothing more than a silly attempt at comic relief. The notion of Uhura, or anyone for that matter, having their memory "wiped clean" and then being simply "re-educated" in a matter of weeks is just plain dumb.

I prefer to think that what Nomad did was more like putting Uhura's memories in the "Trash" folder.
However unintentional it may have been, that scene still had to play to an audience for which racial and ethnic issues were a hot topic. It's speaking from a place of privilege to say that a racial spin was there only if one puts one on it. That's why I said "even if unintentionally", "hit all the wrong [...] notes", and "stereotypical", in order to draw a contrast between whatever might have been intended in-universe and what the delivery ended up resembling.
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Old August 8 2014, 11:31 AM   #8
Ithekro
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Re: Uhura:

I would point out that she relearned at an incredible speed. By the time of "blue-y" she's already relearned Swahili to move on to English. That they had her relearn her native language I thought would be respectful since Uhura is suppose to be from Africa. And that she was learning English within hours is also remarkable considering how difficult the language is suppose to be with all the odd rules.

How they speed her through communications theory and all I have no idea. Though maybe that was were she lost her knowledge of Klingon (if 2009 Uhura and 1966 Uhura both understood it prior to Nomad, and the 1966 version not relearning it up to her old levels post-Nomad by the time of Khitomer).
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Old August 8 2014, 02:31 PM   #9
Misfit Toy
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Re: Uhura:

Moving to TOS....
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Old August 8 2014, 03:06 PM   #10
Albertese
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Re: Uhura:

I figure that Nomad didn't actually completely erase her memory, just made it inaccessible, and thought it had totally erased it. McCoy and Chapel just figured out a kind of therapy that allowed her to pretty quickly remove whatever blocks Nomad had put in place.

And, in defense of English: I've heard from plenty of non-native speakers of English that it's a relatively easy language to learn to speak but is a lot harder to learn to read and write. Our grammar, conjugations and the like, are not difficult to pick up, and our idioms are no more complex than those of other languages, but we do not really use phonetic spelling. I work with a couple people from elsewhere in the world and whenever they write notes, you can tell that, though their spoken English is quite good, they don't really have a grasp on how it's written. They often fall to a phonetic use of the alphabet that generates some pretty hilarious spellings. Having an Uhura in the midst of re-learning English being able to speak it fluently but have a bit of trouble with literacy makes perfect sense. It's not racist either, as I bet all the white kids who learned to speak and read English (myself included) could speak fluently while still having a heck of a hard time with the reading part. It's a developmental stage, not a racial jab.

But I digress.

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Old August 8 2014, 03:31 PM   #11
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Re: Uhura:

Would Swahili be any more her native language than English? Today I believe Swahili is basically a wide spread trade language, and not anyone's native language, of course that might change in a few centuries.

By that point in her education Uhura might already be well versed in a dozen languages, she just hasn't really picked up on english yet. To be fair it is a difficult language.

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Old August 8 2014, 03:47 PM   #12
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Re: Uhura:

Timo wrote: View Post
True, to both the preceding posts. But shock therapy, i.e. forcing her to recall, would probably be the therapeutically correct approach anyway. And foreign languages occupy a special niche in our minds, probably serving as practical triggers in such cases.
Her job and her life on the Enterprise were in English, so I suppose it was indeed appropriate to stimulate her memory with thant language. Of course, it was also important to take care of her personnal life and past. Strangely, the Enterprise didn't have any mental health specialist at the moment...where are you Helen?

I think they mispoke. Uhura just lost connection with her memories or something.
That would be the only way this would make sense, yes.
Indeed, I'm ready to buy clones who had the memories of the original persons, because the fact they had the same physical age and appearance doesn't made more sense, so it's maaaaagiiiiic. In Uhura/Nomad's case, they bring back the same Uhura. The only logical explanation would be they reawaken her. Having her memory totally erased would have made a new Uhura, like Harrison Ford in that movie written by Abrams.
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Old August 8 2014, 04:30 PM   #13
J.T.B.
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Re: Uhura:

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
The scene with Chapel forcing Uhura to speak English instead of Swahili just hit all the wrong ethnocidal notes, and Nichols had to play the part of a stereotypical black person with literacy issues.
It wasn't a question of forcing, except in the sense a teacher "forces" a student to use what they are learning. She already knew Swahili, she was learning English.

In all my years watching the episode I never got the impression that the scene demeaned the Uhura character. It was a lightly humorous and kind of sweet scene, well played, and had the audience completely rooting for Uhura.

Albertese wrote: View Post
Having an Uhura in the midst of re-learning English being able to speak it fluently but have a bit of trouble with literacy makes perfect sense. It's not racist either, as I bet all the white kids who learned to speak and read English (myself included) could speak fluently while still having a heck of a hard time with the reading part. It's a developmental stage, not a racial jab.
It's a good point.
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Old August 8 2014, 06:13 PM   #14
Merry Christmas
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Re: Uhura:

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
She already knew Swahili, she was learning English.
An interesting thought is that after Nomad erased her "memory banks" Uhura retained the ability to speak Swahili, it stuck with her. Which would be a sign that Nomad's erasure was incomplete.

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Old August 8 2014, 06:14 PM   #15
Joel_Kirk
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Re: Uhura:

I never saw any racism in regards to Nomad taking Uhura's memory, leading to her having to re-learn English. (It never established that Nomad took her learning because of her race).

Too, Nomad did just kill Scotty at the time...who was trying to protect her. And, Scotty was known to jump into action whenever a pretty woman was seemingly in danger.

The fact that Uhura was able to get back at duty-level hints the technological advances of the universe. On the other hand, I like the point someone made earlier that could explain the reason why Uhura was so shabby with Klingonese in "Star Trek VI:" Nomad took it away from her when she was probably very fluent in that language at the time.
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