Is Trek Still Too Eurocentric?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Nob Akimoto, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Dude, you cannot separate Lee's accomplishments from his decision to abet an armed insurrection that was created for the explicit primary purpose of preserving slavery.

    Even if he personally opposed it, nothing changes the fact that his actions abetted the oppression and enslavement of millions of black men and women by his decision to side with and to lead the Confederate military.

    Words like "Enterprise" don't imply the celebration of a particular person's actions. It's not comparable to the question of who in history deserves to have their memory celebrated by a ship name.
     
  2. David Brennon

    David Brennon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Dude, did you happen to read the part where he armed and freed slaves after he became the commanding general of the csa? Does that jive with the idea of a man who supported the institution of slavery?
     
  3. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Congratulations, you've discovered one mitigating thing he did. I'm sure that makes the millions of people who were forced to continue to live in chains because he supported a pro-slavery government feel better.

    I don't care if Lee personally supported the institution of slavery, because nothing changes the fact that his actions helped preserve it. The Confederate government existed for the sole purpose of perpetuating the oppression of blacks, and anyone who supported the Confederacy -- even if they personally disagreed with slavery -- was guilty of helping to perpetuate the slave system. You can't join the Mafia and not be a murderer just because you personally don't like killing people.
     
  4. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    This is getting completely off the topic guys.
     
  5. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I think it speaks to the larger question of what kinds of historical narratives an egalitarian, multicultural society ought to celebrate.
     
  6. David Brennon

    David Brennon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    So by freeing slaves to fight for his country, he was supporting the institution of slavery? I see now, how could I have been so blind?
     
  7. David Brennon

    David Brennon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    that's a very good point Sci. I think a man who defied the morals of those he was surrounded by should be raised up. A man who wanted to bring others into his society and did so by breaking their chains of bondage should be immortalized like that. Well put.
     
  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    By fighting for a government created to preserve slavery, he helped to perpetuate the slave system. Freeing and arming some slaves later on -- presuming he did so with the intent of abolishing slavery throughout the Confederacy, not with the intent of merely securing a short-term military advantage without actually ending slavery in the long run -- mitigates this, but it does not change the fact that supporting the Confederate government by definition meant helping to preserve slavery.

    If the Federation's gonna name a ship after anyone from the American Civil War era, it should be the U.S.S. Frederick Douglas or the U.S.S. John Brown, not Robert E. Lee.
     
  9. David Brennon

    David Brennon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I didn't say others shouldnt be recognized. I simply said that his contributions should be. You act as though the slavery issue is the only one there was. You know that isn't the case and a man is not made of simply one issue. Virginia was more important to him than the Union, than the CSA. He supported Virginia and her freedom.
     
  10. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    According to the Confederate States Government, it was their primary issue.

    No. That is not true.

    Now, Robert E. Lee may have thought that to be true of himself; if so, it was a self-delusion. But I know for a fact that Robert E. Lee's primary loyalty was not to Virginia.

    Know why?

    Because according to U.S. Census records for the era, there were almost 491,000 enslaved persons in Virginia out of a total population of about 1.6 million. That means that a full 33% of Virginians were enslaved.

    I repeat:

    One-third of Virginia was enslaved.

    Notably, that particular one-third of Virginians did not get the chance to vote on whether or not Virginia should secede from the Union in order to preserve slavery from a perceived abolitionist administration.

    Robert E. Lee may have thought himself loyal to "Virginia," but he was actually loyal to the white slave-owning Virginia aristocracy.

    Edited to add:

    Does this mean Lee should be remembered as a villain? I don't know. I'm inclined to characterize him as a man with some notions of freedom who couldn't overcome his loyalty to the oppressing class in order to do the right thing. As advocates for liberty go, I'd sure as hell consider him a failed one -- if I'm feeling generous. Because nothing changes the fact that he sided with a treasonous government created to preserve the institution of slavery -- an institution in which a full third of his fellow Virginians were trapped.
     
  11. David Brennon

    David Brennon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    By your logic we shouldnt think of the founding fathers as beacons of liberty because many of them supported slavery and wouldnt give women the vote. Or abe because he was willing to allow the slavery to continue if it would have won the war.
     
  12. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    Tu quoque is a lousy form of argument. Look, I get that Lee is evidently a personal hero of yours, but I think on the sum the way that the Confederacy appears to most people outside the South makes its figures not very appropriate for use as namesakes for Starfleet vessels.
     
  13. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan "Down with this sort of thing!" Premium Member

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    Oh yay, a really interesting thread and original question/discussion has descended into an American dick waving contest.

    Anyway, to answer the original question, I'll have to side with my fellow countrypersons and that due to the nature of American Television, I would say it is more Anglo-centric than Euro-centric
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Um, I should point out that there is no USS Robert E. Lee in canonical Trek. The only one mentioned in Memory Beta is from the Legacy computer game. There was also an Andorian troop carrier named Robert E. Lee in the novel Prime Directive, but since it's Andorian, maybe its namers didn't appreciate the historical significance of the name?
     
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Yes. The Framers were politicians, not "beacons of liberty." They made things better than they had been under the British in some ways, worse in others, and don't deserve to be deified.

    Lincoln at least can say for himself that he eventually realized he had to end slavery.
     
  16. David Brennon

    David Brennon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Im from New Hampshire, i dont idolize Lee, but i respect history. Equating Lee to Pol Pot is crazy, that is the only reason i got involved. If you want to come down on an individual because of his nation or the things supported by that nation, thats up to you, but you dont get to paint with such broad strokes without at least hearing an opposing viewpoint. The CSA may not have been right, but Lee is generally remembered favorably by most Americans. If youre an american and you dont, thats fine, but your view isnt the only one that matters. that kind of brings us back to the whole united earth accepting the faults in other cultures figures gig i was getting at.
     
  17. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    Of course we shouldn't.

    If there is anything that Star Trek should tech you, is that worshiping any kind of Founders is never a good idea.
     
  18. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    iguana wins this thread, I think.
     
  19. David Brennon

    David Brennon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Agreed! Well played sir.
     
  20. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    This is true.

    My concern was more about the Cortez, Zhukov, Magellan for that matter Drake, Gage(Presumably the British general), La Malinche or even the Santa Maria (I would hope Columbus worship would die out by the 24th century).

    On the other hand, I think TrekLit as a whole does a good job with ship names, starting with Sugihara or Bhutto.