The racist legacy of Star Trek

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Afrika Bambaata, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    It didn't offend me. I was only wanting to urge caution, because just last week someone asked another user 'Are you trolling me?" and a mod stepped in explaining just asking that could be interpreted as flaming.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  2. AgentCoop

    AgentCoop Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    That opening post...that's satire, right? Please tell me it's satire.
     
  3. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Satire, that works for me.
     
  4. AustNerevar

    AustNerevar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I got your satire, but his classification of Khan as caucasian in addition to the Uhura comment really surprised me at first, before I realized he wasn't serious.

    Oh, I thought you were talking about something else.

    I mean, are people really taking OP seriously? Unless he is actually flame-baiting, then this is purely satire. However, given his follow-up comments, it would appear that he's trolling.

    I'm not calling anyone a troll to insult them....I don't understand why that's even something to consider. A troll is simply a poster who makes loaded statements in an attempt to make someone explode with rage and get themselves banned. These accusations would naturally incite the anger of a lot of Trekkers as they defend the show which is known for it's progressive and forward thinking that tries to make social statements and further the rights of the oppressed (whether the oppressed be civil rights groups, LBGT, civilians under the rule of overreaching government, etc. etc).

    The tone of the original comment is obviously over-the-top and most of the accusations are baseless, meaning that it is either total satire or an attempt to stir the pot.

    I thought so, until OP defended it in a reply. Though that may have just been an extension of the satire.
     
  5. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    I was sort of surprised to find that Afrika Bambaata is a real person, so if the post is mimicking his style it's lost on me because I'd never heard of him before.
     
  6. AustNerevar

    AustNerevar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Who is he?
     
  7. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrika_Bambaataa

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lDCYjb8RHk[/yt]
     
  8. AustNerevar

    AustNerevar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't get it. How is the OP's post supposed to be related, other than the name. I feel like I'm missing something.
     
  9. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    I couldn't begin to guess the connection.
     
  10. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Well don't ask me, I already said I never heard of that Afrika guy.

    But wouldn't it be funny if it was really him.
     
  11. Jedi_Master

    Jedi_Master Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Seeing as the OP has not commented again on this thread, I do wonder about their purpose and goals.
     
  12. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    That might not have been a serious post? I am shocked, shocked, I say!
     
  13. 1001001

    1001001 Let the Good Times Roll!! Moderator

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    The topic itself is certainly worth discussion, but when you post things that are obviously false, it seems somewhat dubious...

    This is not at all what happened in the film.
     
  14. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    There have been a few recent newbies making some interesting posts the past couple of days.
     
  15. Alrik

    Alrik Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm sure you can do the math. ;)
     
  16. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, if it's a drive-by so be it. But in case this gentleman should come back:

    Let's maybe review the attitudes we're bringing to the facts first, shall we?

    As a fellow fan of African descent, I'm not inclined to dismiss Trek's sometimes problematic racial dynamics. Far from it. The show was a product of its time, and though it was relatively racially progressive by comparison with other television (particularly in the Sixties) that also isn't saying much. It's worth remembering that while Uhura was a relatively important character in her day, most of what that tells us is how deep and wide the racism of her day really ran.

    Having said that: I'm also familiar with the kind of nationalism that has books like Black Athena and guys like Amiri Baraka and Cheikh Anta Diop as its pillars, and I'm familiar with the NGE-influenced cultural milieu that currently insists on calling Africa "Alkebu-Lan." I know a lot of guys who are steeped in that: and while I respect the aims and the commitment and think of many of them as great guys and good friends... I do not buy what that brand of nationalism is selling. And the reason I do not buy it is that its factual claims are often just wrong, it is just as often a tool of charlatans and scoundrels as it is of idealists and reformers, and it visibly warps people's thinking.

    I can see the imprint of that ideology, or some early exposure to some strand of it, in your post. And I believe it's warping your thinking. Naming and shaming racism is a worthwhile thing. Using it carelessly as a rhetorical club -- in ways that actually lend credence to the old "Racism is where you choose to see it" meme that's too often used to dismiss real racism -- is another. You're not helping the fight against racism with that kind of behavior; you're just making more work for your own cause.

    I'm not going point by point here, because I think a couple of examples should suffice:

    Uhura was, by the way, a ground-breaking character and an inspiration to black people in her day. To the point where Nichelle Nichols, dissatisfied with the thin part, was encouraged by Martin Luther King to continue playing it... because that's just how thin the pickings were for black actors and actresses on the small screen at the time.

    She was, of course, relatively marginal and a glorified phone operator in a miniskirt (part of which was due to TOS' pervasive sexism, which was actually a lot worse than its racism). However, I note that even here your critique of the racism misses its mark: Uhura was actually very rarely portrayed as an object of lust, with one notable exception -- explained by alien influence -- that itself stands out as supposedly historic for this very reason. That reflected the ambient Jim Crow mores still in the air in the Sixties.

    If you're talking about the Sixties and you still can't target your critique accurately? That's something that should tell you you have some reading and learning to do before sounding off on this topic. (Also, incidentally, Uhura is not the only Black character we see in TOS.)

    And here's something else:

    Yeah. If you can't see a positive portrayal in a series that makes its Black protagonist a prophesied man of destiny who leads armadas against an evil empire, you are trying far too hard. The criticism that your eye is so grudging that you're dredging up racism on the thinnest evidence really does apply to you AFAICS.

    That's quite bad, because the best way to ensure you have the credibility to shrug off attempts to level that criticism at you carelessly or disohenstly -- which will happen plenty -- is to actually not be doing that in the first , and to be taking on sane issues where the facts actually support what you're saying. God knows there are plenty of them to be had.

    Now, for the sake of my blood pressure, I'm not going to get into what you have to say about TNG, Worf and Geordie except to say that if your perspectives on the characters covered above are distorted and inaccurate, there you're off base enough to be actually offensive.

    My advice would be: regroup, rethink, and above all read. By which I mean seek out history (of both society in general and Trek specifically) that isn't coming from a narrow niche on the political spectrum. I'm always glad to see people reaching for thoughtfulness on race issues but... this outing is a bit of a fail, unfortunately.
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Plus or minus a likely apocryphal story about Nichelle Nichols and Martin Luther King -- what BigJake said.
     
  18. AustNerevar

    AustNerevar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Which is why I suggested he might be trolling.
     
  19. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored The Mod Awakens Moderator

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    Nothing gets by you, Bob.
     
  20. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    At this point I really don't care if that MLK/Nichelle thing even happened. The point is she did get to play the part, and did it well. Let her embellish the retelling of it all she wants.
     

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