Is Trek Still Too Eurocentric?

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

  1. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Location:
    In the Joel Zone, identifying as Sexually Fluid.
    Very true. However, his reaction still hints that there could be racism against black people in his own era. For example, it's like me getting upset of seeing recreations of past occurrences while watching films like 'Malcolm X' (awesome film)...'Glory'...or 'Amistad' (a film could have been better, but interesting). If things had greatly changed between now and then, that 'anger' wouldn't be as great. However, I - and some other black acquaintances - were highly upset with the Trayvon Martin occurrence, which, for some African Americans (and probably some non-American black individuals) felt their lives meant nothing in America....or Amerikka. For me, my anger would be great because one would think things have changed in 2013. (Not too mention, certain instances where I did have my rights violated by colleges and officers in previous years). When I see films or television shows with questionable representations or ideas about race that haven't really changed today...that would make me somewhat angry. Hence, Sisko came off as a black man who was dealing with a lot more than just getting upset with something that happened more than 300 years before he was born.

    There is nothing wrong with Sisko wanting to be with someone of the same race. It's just the franchise at the time was showing that 'idea' with practically every black character or every character that was visibly portrayed by a black performer.

    My point was: American (or 'Amerikkan') mediatends to show the white male/Asian female couple as non-controversial. They - the white male/Asian female couple - are casually put into stories without controversy. However, when it's a black individual (usually black male) opposite a non-black individual...there is cause for controversy or a discussion on race.

    The British film 'Love Actually' was really good in showing different people of various races getting together in a casual manner. A reason that type of film wouldn't be made in America (or 'Amerikka.')

    The film 'Hitch' with Will Smith had some controversy because Smith was opposite a non-black woman. The reason he was opposite Eva Mendez was to 'play it safe.' Too risky to be opposite a white female because it might upset some viewers, and it - the film - might be thought of as a 'black film' if he was opposite a black woman. Interestingly, in the same film, there was a white man romancing Navia Nguyen, an Asian female, and nothing was said. (Sidenote: Smith would, of course, produce the remake to 'The Karate Kid' which cast his son opposite an Asian female. Even though that relationship was a 'kid's romance,' the only controversy I would hear offline and read online would be due to their age - Jaden's character, Dre, probably wouldn't be interested in girls at his age. On the other hand, race wasn't brought up in the film, and the film would actually be popular and successful despite some story, pacing and acting issues).

    Interestingly, even SeaQuest had Commander Ford (black) opposite the cute white female lead (whose name escapes me) but she broke it off for some lame reason towards the end of Season 2. However, around the same time in the same show, Ted Raimi's character (whose name escapes me) happens to hook up with an Asian female character who immediately falls in love with him (a trope that turns up in Pacific Rim and many other films and television shows - the Asian female that automatically falls for the white male lead). That same Asian actress in SeaQuest would also be cast opposite a white male in Babylon 5, yet the lead doctor in Babylon 5 (portrayed by a black actor) would have a relationship - one of the only romantic relationships in the show, I recall - with a black woman.

    I already answered this above.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
  2. TheUsualSuspect

    TheUsualSuspect Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    Location:
    Reseda, CA
    I'm wondering if Sisko's objections to the holodeck program in "Badda Bing, Badda Bang" might have come from Avery Brooks, rather than being the way the writers wanted to portray the character. We know that Brooks insisted that Sisko say that he would return from the prophets at some point at the end of the series because he did not want a black father to be seen as abandoning his family, and it's been mentioned in this thread that Brooks wanted Sisko's romantic partners to be portrayed by black actresses. Perhaps he also insisted that Sisko would have objected to the treatment of blacks in the historical background of the 60s holodeck program?

    Discussions like this tend to bring out the fact that while Star Trek tries to present a future in which many of the issues that divide the human race today have been dealt with and moved beyond, the shows themselves were produced during a time period when that was not true. Thus, while many of us may feel that sexual preferences will not be an issue in 24th century society, TNG got criticized for not tackling gay and lesbian issues at a time when they were being hotly debated in 20th century society.
     
  3. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    Thank you for your kind words. I think you ask a very reasonable question based upon my premises, and I can answer it -- and link it back to Star Trek in the process.

    What I would say is this:

    We cannot escape our own history, and I don't expect us to. Washington, D.C., for instance, has an entire history and culture associated with it that has nothing to do with George Washington or Christopher Columbus; the word "Washington" is as likely to bring to mind an image of the 1963 March as it is to bring to mind the 18th Century military leader and slave owner. Generations of people have grown up, lived, and died identifying as Washingtonians -- most of them black, I might add. So, no, I don't expect us to re-name, say, Washington, D.C.

    On the other hand, though, in the fictional future history of Star Trek, it seems to me that the writers, through the characters they create and the stories they tell, do have a chance to "escape history." That is, they have the chance to depict the rise and evolution of a fundamentally new culture and set of institutions that, because of its radical and science-fictional nature -- the egalitarian, democratic union of dozens of planets and their scores upon scores of distinct cultures -- can build on the best parts of the old while rejecting the worst.

    So it seems to me that in depicting the Federation and its cultures and institutions, writers have an opportunity to "escape history" that we don't have in the real world.

    So, no, I don't expect, say, Columbus, Ohio, to change its name -- but I sure as heck would hope that the Federation Starfleet wouldn't have a Starship Christopher Columbus. (The Oatmeal makes a strong argument for an alternative to celebrating Columbus, though -- I'm less inclined to object to a U.S.S. Bartolomé de las Casas.)

    I honestly don't know. But even if we find we can't escape history and must keep some elements of our heritage, that doesn't mean we have to transmit those elements to the future cultures that do not yet exist whom our culture will one day help found.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  4. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    Thanks, Sci.