The racist legacy of Star Trek

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

  1. Term180

    Term180 Cadet Newbie

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    The franchise as a whole is clearly racist against aliens, because all of the major on-screen aliens are always portrayed by humans, as uglier versions of humans, and those that don't have humanoid forms (bipedal, opposable thumbs, etc.) aren't depicted as much as those with unique physiology different than our own, and when such species are shown, they're nearly always sinister.

    The problem is there just aren't enough alien actors!
    I can't find a single one with a unique physiology on IMDb!
    And those that are aliens, have human features, like Ted Raimi.

    (Clearly, I'm joking.
    Except the Raimi part.)
     
  2. martok2112

    martok2112 Commodore Commodore

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    Well whaddaya want me to do? Call the NAAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Astro-Celestial Persons)?

    :D
     
  3. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's primarily white people on message boards complaining about it because Star Trek has a primarily white audience. Are you going to argue that having a show that statistically appeals more to white people than black people is racist in and of itself? I don't know why black publications didn't report on it, but maybe a three episode old show in a genre disproportionately watched by white people that was seen as a nostalgia show not expected to last half a season wasn't on their radar.

    The episode is 'Rapey' because a woman is kidnapped with the explicit intent of forcefully having sex with her.

    Why don't you think Michael Dorn's opinion counts though?

    As for Jake Sisko:
    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Mardah

    Although he is given a dark skinned Bajoran wife in an alternate future.

    Not every casting decision is a political statement. Most forehead alien races have the same distribution of skin tone as the general population of Hollywood extras.
     
  4. AustNerevar

    AustNerevar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I wouldn't take OP seriously, if I were you.
     
  5. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Wasn't on 'their' radar?

    What the fuck do you think we watch?;)

    Black people know of Star Trek and sci-fi. We were in the audience watching TNG like the rest of world. When this show premiered it was a big deal especially since LeVar Burton was one of the characters. (And, yes, I knew of Michael Dorn from CHIPS, so I actually was interested in seeing his 'Klingon' character which was supposed to be a 'Starfleet' officer).

    And, the black publications are huge as well. If something - for lack of a better term - 'huge' went down with this new TNG show (at the time) that was actually racist, it would have been called out.

    Nothing of the sort happened, because - as continually aforementioned - Code of Honor was entertaining and progressive episode rather than the opposite.

    And, my 'argument' is that the whites who feel that Code of Honor is the ONLY racist aspect of Trek can't really speak on authority on racial relations. There is obviously more to it that than watching one episode of a fictional sci-fi show and believing they know what's right in terms of race.

    Too many of those folks are speaking from 'white privilige.'
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/michaelblackmon/17-harrowing-examples-of-white-privilege-9hu9

    (Pay attention to #7 and #17).

    The interesting thing is when a person of color like myself does bring out racism in Trek, it's the classic 'you'll find anywhere if you really look for it.' (As if something isn't racist unless whites declare it racism).

    So, yeah, as I mentioned in my previous post (which you seemed to have glossed over) there needs to be more people behind the scenes to bring even a more diverse crowd so the faux pas of the past can be a bit more diversified.

    Meh, we don't know that. A black man liking a white female is not suddenly 'rapey.'

    Too, I noticed that you even made the comment that ALL the Ligonians enamored with Tasha Yar because of her whiteness.

    That's obviously not true And, if you believe that....you didn't watch the episode or you're just hanging onto a falsehood to fuel your opinion that the episode is racist for whatever reason.

    That's like me saying all the Asian females on the show want to be white because they are always paired with only white men. Never paired black men, never Asian men.

    If you actually watched Code of Honor, you would have known that:

    1. Yareena disliked Yar because Lutan wanted the Enterprise lieutenant. And, Lutan's right hand - I forget his name - turned out to love Yareena.

    2. Lutan is the ONLY one who is enamored with Yar. No one else in the episode noticed her. So, your comment about EVERYONE on the planet liking her is false and exaggerated and silly.

    Is everyone on Earth enamored with Angelina Jolie? No. Partly because not everyone knows who she is, or even cares....or even think she's someone to be enamored with!

    I already answered that above.

    A rare exception!

    That's why Code of Honor is such an excellent episode. With the Ligonians, it's shows us there are different shades of people in the universe, with different cultures...and outlooks.

    You have some people - mainly white individuals - probably putting their own racial hangups on this particular episode.

    Very good post.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  6. ichab

    ichab Commodore Commodore

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    Agreed. At first I thought this was a parody thread or something and was surprised to find it was serious. No other show pushed harder in the 60s for equality than Star Trek did. Even Martin Luther King himself loved the show. And through each incarnation of the show you saw them pushing the boundaries of social acceptance whether it was a blind man as a chief engineer, a black man as a captain, a black Vulcan, or a woman in charge of voyager. You have to really be looking for racism around every corner to consider Star Trek racist. You also have to be very ignorant of what the television competition was airing.
     
  7. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "You have to really be looking for racism around every corner to consider Star Trek racist."

    That seems to be a common/favorite saying.;)

    For me, it's not Star Trek as a whole, but certain aspects of it that are questionable.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  8. Salinga

    Salinga Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Star Trek is racist against blacks as long as there are more white people than blacks. And after that has changed it is of course racist against whites.

    So we come to the conclusion: Star Trek is always racist. For ever.
     
  9. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is exactly the sort of thing that led me to cancelling my cable tv...

    [​IMG]

    It's just so condescending, it drives me up a wall. Also, can't someone win a Mayoral election, be appointed to some important position, or what have you, without being called out as "the first African-American" or "the first woman" or "first Latino" to have done so? :rolleyes:

    These people on television are always subdividing people by income level, too. You know, "Those who earn less than 50,000 a year" kind of thing. Always generalizing everyone...and it's been my experience that when you try to speak for everyone, you end up speaking for no one.
     
  10. AustNerevar

    AustNerevar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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  11. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Kirk told it like it is to Stiles: "Leave any bigotry in your quarters. There's no room for it on the bridge." :techman:
     
  12. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    True...true...;)

     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  13. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Star Trek has ever been quite US-centric, but not enough to consider TNG as White America in space (The Omega Glory yes, of course :rommie:).

    As I arealdy said in another topic, STIV was more plurastic than former movies: the Saratoga's Captain (of course), the Yorktown's Captain (a stong "exotic" and real accent), a lot of alien extras.

    Perhaps the most stretchy analysis about ethno-raciality in Star Trek is the emphazis on fact some people shown on screen are all blonde and blue eyes (the Edos or the Hill people from Neural). It' really close to Godwin.
     
  14. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My thoughts as well, they should have had more "black planets," also arab planets, east asian planets, india planets, latin planets ...

    You've completely misunderstood the episode.

    Lutan wanted Yar to fight and kill his wife Yareena, Lutan had absolutely no personal or sexual interest in Yar. Any interest Lutan showed toward Yar was a pretense to insight Yareena's jealousy, so that she would challenge Yar to a duel.

    By dialog, Lutan had tried this before, but Yareena kept killing her opponents.

    This (the duel) was the only way in their society that Lutan could directly gain his wife's power and wealth.

    I noticed this with Ben Sisko, both his wives were black, and alien romances too (but he did screw mirror Dax).

    Racial composition of Los Angeles in 1990 was about 53% white, that isn't what we saw on the show in terms of promanate guest stars.

    :)
     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^
    Do you mean "prominent"? "Promanate" is an Italian verb for "issue, spread, distribute". :)
     
  16. martok2112

    martok2112 Commodore Commodore

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    Star Trek is far from racist, and in one particular TOS ep, even used a bit of dialogue to show that racism (at least on Earth) had been eliminated.

    In "The Savage Curtain" the persona of Abraham Lincoln meets Uhura, and refers to her, quite gently, and without intention of offense as "a charming negress". He then apologizes to her, stating that he realized that such a phrase often meant something offensive to her and her people. Uhura simply smiles and says something to the effect of "Why should I be offended, sir? It is not a misnomer.". (as I said....words to that effect).

    However, as it is shown in later series, racism has not been eliminated when it comes to interstellar relations. Some Starfleet officers had epithets for Cardassians....spoonheads, I believe.
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, that was the problem, the show wasn't "issued" enough yellow, brown and black people.

    Those requisition forms could be a bitch.

    :)
     
  18. HIjol

    HIjol Admiral and Consummate Peacemaker Premium Member

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    Definition of racism (n)

    Bing Dictionary
    ra·cism
    [ ráy sìzzəm ]


    1. animosity toward other races: prejudice or animosity against people who belong to other races
    2. belief in racial superiority: the belief that people of different races have different qualities and abilities, and that some races are inherently superior or inferior
    ...only examples of the above definitions I can think of in Star Trek were exhibited by the extra-terrestrials...

    ...and it seems to me we forgot about the OP about 300 pages ago...good thing

    ...and I am still proud and impressed with you Posters and this Board...Huzzah to you all...especially all you Purps (Purple People)

    :)
     
  19. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Coming in at the end, with no time to read 11 pages of probably very entertaining posts, but my immediate reaction to the OP was - how the hell is Khan a "white guy?" A Mexican actor playing an Indian character is a white guy?
     
  20. Yanks

    Yanks Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The only time I personally felt Star Trek was "racist" (or more accurately was "WTF"...) was TNG's episode Code of Honour.

    Uhura took part in many firsts in TV abeit she didn't get alot of meat with that part, but that's 60's TV, not trek in my opinion.

    Geordi was another major position, Chief Engineer is nothing to spit at. I do think they would have given him "more" but his acting didn't quite allow that.

    Sisko - first black Commanding Officer to anchor a series.

    Travis in Enterprise, another smaller part but positionally important. Like Uhura, he just wasn't part of the "big three".

    Don't agree with much of anything in OP, but this should always be an open topic.

    Don't forget trek also gave us the first woman Commanding Officer to anchor a series.

    Trek has done lots of thing right, some wrong, but to say it is inherently racist is nuts if you ask me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014