The racist legacy of Star Trek

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

  1. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 26, 2012
    Quebec City
    And the Children Shall Lead is pretty offensive: They tried to depict an old green ghost as an evil being despite the fact he was clearly manipulated by this ginger boy. GINGERS ARE EVIL!
  2. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    You're forgetting the way McGyvers ruthlessly manipulated Khan and then betrayed him just so she could get him onto that planet and away from all those other mini-skirted hussies.
  3. MarsWeeps

    MarsWeeps Fleet Captain Premium Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    I can't believe there are 9 pages of responses to an obvious troll post.
  4. urbandefault

    urbandefault Commodore Commodore

    Dec 3, 2013
    Sickbay, dammit
    Back on topic ...

    You don't necessarily have to be "color blind." Treat every person you meet as an individual, unique in his own experience. It's that simple. When we start putting people into groups things start to get complicated, and can turn ugly in a hurry.

    That's my nugget of wisdom for the day.
  5. Drone

    Drone Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 29, 2012

    Sorry for the ephemera on a thread with this kind of significance, nominally anyway, but Uhura's role definitely had that tinge as well, in Mirror, Mirror, which I don't think is the episode you're referencing. :techman:
  6. HIjol

    HIjol Admiral and Consummate Peacemaker Premium Member

    Feb 13, 2014
    In a time and place long past...
    Uhura: Any number of listings (I personally read the first 10) when I Googled "did MLK and Nichelle have a conversation?"...they most certainly did...just like she said...and, I also learned that there was a "black/white"'romance story line with her when she was in "The Lieutenants" that was not allowed to air because of the time and the content...Roddenberry was later quoted as lamenting this, and being determined to make Star Trek as diverse as he was possibly able...

    C-3PO...Lucas was a product of his time...Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, Lenny and George, etc. ...remember, 3PO had a "last name"... Human Cyborg he would have been butler/servile-like in his role as translator...Lucas probably LOVED how that whole persona came out...

    Troll post or not, each and every one of you Posters should be pleased and proud of your passion and clarity on this topic...I would argue it is the Seminal Human Subject from which all else follows...not disability, not intellect, not region or geography...

    ...Color can all hold your heads up with the importance and respect you have treated this topic with...I have read every post and am proud of this community...


    P.S. ...definition of "racism"...

    : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
  7. AustNerevar

    AustNerevar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    May 4, 2014
    Talos IV
    Seems it worked.
  8. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Caped Trek Mod Admiral

    Feb 11, 2002
    Transporter buffer
    No, what "worked" was that our community took what was a very antagonistic opening post and turned it into what for the most part is a very healthy discussion.

    It's one of the best things about this BBS. :)
  9. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 20, 2012
    Also in DS9, in Past Tense we see that the entire moral future of the human race was saved when a black man sacrificed his life to prevent his protest from becoming lethal.
  10. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 17, 2005
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    It's probably a myth that the episode in question, "To Set It Right", was not aired. According to IMDB it premiered on Feb 22, 1964, and is also listed on the website TV Tango on that date and at 8pm.
  11. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 17, 2011
    The Great Barrier
  12. Drone

    Drone Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 29, 2012
  13. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 27, 2008
    Rural North Carolina
    Thank you! I wanted to post this, but couldn't remember his name. :alienblush: As you said, he was no mere doctor, but a specialist!:techman:
  14. martok2112

    martok2112 Commodore Commodore

    Oct 8, 2013
    See, man! You racist! You a racist!
    Can't even remember da' name of a prominent, emminent, and pretty important black man in da' Star Trek universe! M'benga, man! M'benga! You know.....strong, black African brotha with a strong, black African name!
    Scream his name, white boy! Scream his naaaaaaame!

    :) I keeed! I keeeeeeeeeed! :)
  15. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    I do seem to remember in one book that TNG was considered White America in space--but that was stretching it. I remember one reviewer of Trek magazine hated ST II for whatever reason. To each his own.
  16. Kevman7987

    Kevman7987 Captain Captain

    May 20, 2013
    Erie, PA, USA
  17. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 16, 2009
    In the Joel Zone, identifying as Sexually Fluid.
    Interesting discussion.

    Star Trek has definitely had its racial issues, and I think that comes down to the fact that for a long time it has primarily been white males behind-the-scenes. Ironically, I think that AbramsTrek (for it's shortcomings in the writing area) has at least done some progress with the Uhura character. She has become pretty prominent. If we were to actually see her take command temporarily, I might give this franchise even more respect.

    While John Cho seems to be a supporting character, he did have some scenes where he shined (e.g. the fight on the drill in the 2009 film, and the scenes where he took temporary command in the 2013).

    I remember when I first saw episode Code of Honor in TNG, I was pretty impressed to see a predominantly black planet. Yet, years down the line I hear whites complaining about the supposed racism.

    Of course, we never saw a predominantly black planet again, or any reference or expansion of the Ligionians. We're regulated to the predominantly white humanoid planets and aliens that look like white men and women, which no one (primarily whites) have a problem with.

    Some of the complaints were:

    1. The Ligonians are 'tribal.' (Well, newsflash: There are 'tribal' people in Asia, Africa, and South America. Are you going to tell them their lifestyle is 'racist?')

    2. The fact that Tasha Yar is attracted to an alien that looks like a black man is 'racist.' (Hmmm, a black man and white female being together is racist, yet no one has a problem with every Asian woman being paired with primarily white males. Apparently, interracial relationships are wrong unless you are a certain gender or race).

    3. Michael Dorn and Brent Spiner say that this particular episode is racist. (So? Michael Dorn was portraying a character that used violence over intelligence primarily in the first season, so he really shouldn't talk. And, I really don't care Spinder says. As a person, a black man, who has dealt with racism, this particular episode is far from it).

    Star Trek during the Berman-era probably wouldn't have had the balls to have a black male lead opposite a non-black woman (e.g. Asian, Eurasian, white, or Native American. I won't say 'Latino' since that is an ethnicity and a Latino can be black or white) unless that male was under heavy makeup like Michael Dorn was with Worf.

    Too, if the episode was soooo disgustingly racist, why didn't we - black people - hear anything in the American publications such as Jet, Ebony, or Essence?

    I did find it interesting that there was an unwritten 'stay with your own kind' in the Berman era. For example, Geordi was a loser with women. He was nearly successful with an alien that was obviously portrayed by a black woman (e.g Aquiel).

    Tuvok was a Vulcan, but it was obvious he was portrayed by a black man. Interestingly, they had to have a black woman portray his wife.

    Jake Sisko, even though he dated Bajoran women - women who looked like human women, only with funny noses - the women were always portrayed by black women. And, yes, I am aware of Brooks requesting a black woman for Jennifer and Kasidy Yates. (I wonder if the next actor to portray Sisko in a hypothetical reboot will request an Asian woman or a Eurasian woman as Kasidy Yates or Jennifer Sisko? Where Jennifer Sisko is not killed?)

    There is a reason I want to get into the film/tv business because we definitely need diversity in voices not only in terms of race, but in gender, sexual orientation, etc. (And, Star Trek still has a need for a gay or lesbian character!)

    So many shows have already beat Trek with having characters in same sex relationships, and other shows have also put black men (and black women) in strong relationships with various individuals (e.g. the upcoming show, The Flash, Justice League: Unlimited, Private Practice, and the Cheerios commercial that depicted a married black male/white female couple as a normal thing).

    Going back to AbramsTrek: At least it knows that change is needed. This is probably the issue with 'Code of Honor' - there's too many black people! T-that's racist! - where many whites that were used to a status quo were put off. And, of course they want to use the Spiner and Dorn opinions, as well as the director who had some agenda as ammunition for claims of racism....even though he - the director for 'Code of Honor' managed to actually make an entertaining and progressive episode.

    As people want to see heroes of different colors, and various relationships onscreen, women looking sexy and kicking ass, we'll have people like myself working on their craft so they can bring something different to the table.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  18. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 20, 2012
    Neither of those are the actual complaints about the episode. If the episode were about Tasha being attracted to him, there would be no problem. Tasha is kidnapped by a black skinned alien who thinks that because he 'Won her fairly' that he is entitled by his 'Ancient customs' to coerce her into marriage, after which due to those customs she is made to fight a battle to the death with his existing wife.

    The one TNG episode with a planet of predominantly black people and it's the most rapey episode in the series, portraying them as putting arcane tribal traditions and superstitions over basic human rights and respect for women.

    The episode got a pass because it was 1987 and that kind of thing was kind of expected on television. If an episode like that came out today that internet would be exploding with outrage about it.

    Interesting point though about most black actors are romantically paired with other black actors, that's probably the best argument or actual racism raised in this thread. Although, Worf's two primary love interests were both white women. Leah Brahms is white, and Worf's white adoptive brother marries a black skinned alien. And Jake dates a white skinned dabo girl. There are plenty of examples in the series of actors of one race being romantically paired with actors of other races. And other than in Code of Honor, none of those examples are rapey.
  19. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 16, 2009
    In the Joel Zone, identifying as Sexually Fluid.
    Yeah, but who would be outraged? Butthurt - a new term I found out about - Star Trek 'fans' on Trek boards?

    It's pretty harmless, I think.

    If it was made today, I would hope the writing would be stronger. And, I would possibly have liked to see the Ligonians used again in some capacity.

    Moreover, it - the episode - didn't get a pass, because as I mentioned in my previous post: If it was actually racist, black publications would have been calling the episode out.

    No black publications did that.

    The only commotion I hear of is mainly from white people on Star Trek boards complaining.


    *Worf is an alien, a black man/performer under heavy makeup that makes him look like a cross between a turtle and dog. He is not a 'black' character.

    *Leah Brahms was a computer program, and she turned out to be married when LaForge met the actual individual. (It's not clear whether or not 'Leah' is the woman LaForge marries in on alternate timeline since we don't see her).

    *I do vaguely recall Worf's adopted brother marrying a black skinned alien. However, I don't recall any 'white skinned' alien opposite Jake Sisko - maybe she was a mixed race actress? (Contrary to belief, 'black' people come in all shades).

    And, I'm going to disagree on the 'plenty' of examples since, in regards to black performers, there is only one (maybe two) out of the franchise - mainly Worf's adopted brother - among the ones you mentioned.

    And, what do you mean by 'rapey'? (What does that mean?)

    Lastly, I want to post this on my Facebook (so my fellow black people can see some what is going on in the Trek fan world). Is there, like, a permalink or something?

    EDIT: Ah! I see the Facebook link below. ;)
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  20. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 1, 2013
    I remember when Code of Honor first aired, I thought to myself "Hey, that's pretty cool, Star Trek never did this before!" It made total sense to me that elsewhere in the galaxy, there would be aliens of all colors. And speaking of colors, I liked the colorful costumes, and a society with a strict moral code the crew had to work around. I didn't understand the light pillars shooting up into the sky, though. :shrug:

    Sometimes they hired really tall actors for a species. I think I remember reading that they hired actors with skinny necks for Cardassians (something to do with the make-up). Ferengi were played by small guys. I'm sure there are other instances of hiring specific physical types. So it was with Code... , so I don't see the problem. :shrug: