Why Is Diversity Focused Only On Race & Species?

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Knight Templar, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^I said "tried" because I was referring to VGR in the same sentence as DS9. I agree that DS9 succeeded, but VGR's attempt to achieve the same goal, as I said, was squandered due to network pressure.
     
  2. Spock/Uhura Fan

    Spock/Uhura Fan Captain Captain

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    ^ Fair enough, then. Thank you for the clarification.
     
  3. Cmdr Ji Qi Ren

    Cmdr Ji Qi Ren Ensign Red Shirt

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    Knight, what you are talking about isn't personality. Personality is about how people perceive the world and make decisions. E.g Spock = logic, McCoy = feelings etc.

    You mean characters with different motivations. E.g. you could have a Vulcan who uses the same though processes as Spock, but uses them for a different purpose. E.g. the *evil* Spock in the mirror universe uses the same kind of logic as Spock, yet his aims are slightly different.
     
  4. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As I understand it Christopher, you legally can discriminate when hiring actors, and when hiring models. In terms of age, gender, appearance, disabilities, changing weight, etc.

    I like your idea, and will sign your petition.


    :)
     
  5. IndyJones

    IndyJones Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Link.
     
  6. Cmdr Ji Qi Ren

    Cmdr Ji Qi Ren Ensign Red Shirt

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    Doesn't Starfleet have a rigorous screening process to make sure people only train for the 'right' reasons. I guess that would exclude avenging their family, religious pilgrimage etc. If you want to see such characters, they'd have to be civilians or damn good at concealing their true motivations.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But why would you want to? If you're casting a Star Trek series, a show set in a future where Earth is a globally unified civilization, what possible reason could you have for not seeking to assemble an ethnically diverse cast? (If anything, ST has never gone far enough on that front, considering that the majority of the human race is Asian, whereas the majority of humans in Trek are overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon by name and culture even if not by ethnicity.)

    I think the problem is that some people still unthinkingly assume that an all-white cast is the default situation and that it would take a conscious effort to produce a more mixed one. What I'm saying is that, both in terms of real-world demographics and the premise of the Trek universe, it's the other way around: the default scenario is an ethnically diverse group, and the only way you'd get a non-diverse group is if a particular effort at exclusion were made. And I see no reason why such an effort should ever be desirable, unless you're casting a historical drama set in a monoracial culture.
     
  8. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Only one reason: ratings.

    In particular, producers and studios are concerned about appeal most in the markets where the show will yield the most revenue.

    Yeah, I know, obvious answer is obvious.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I disagree. White people aren't the only ones who buy advertisers' products. TV networks figured that out half a century ago. The reason the original Star Trek had an ethnically diverse cast wasn't because Roddenberry was some great liberal innovator who pushed for it; it's because studies a few years earlier had shown that minority viewers had money too and used it to buy the products they saw advertised on TV, so that catering to minorities by including them in TV shows would help boost networks' and advertisers' profits. (Roddenberry actually failed to deliver his promise of a multiethnic cast in "The Cage;" the closest thing to ethnic diversity in that bunch, aside from the pointy-eared alien played by a Ukrainian Jew, was a guy who was named "Jose" but played by a very, very Caucasian actor with blond hair. We only got Sulu and Uhura because the network insisted on a more diverse cast the second time around.)

    Really, I can't think of many shows today without ethnically diverse casts. I'm going over the shows I watch regularly... I guess Covert Affairs is a bit lacking in diversity since they dropped Sendhil Ramamurthy, but they had him for two years. Really, though, that's the only one I can think of. Well, Doctor Who doesn't have any nonwhite regulars at the moment, but it had Freema Agyeman for a year and has plenty of diversity in its guest casting.

    Of course, my viewing habits aren't typical. Let's look at the top-rated shows of the past season. Leaving out the reality stuff, focusing only on scripted shows:

    Modern Family: The leading lady is Sofia Vergara and a Latino actor plays her son.
    The Big Bang Theory: Has Kunal Nayyar.
    Two and a Half Men: Hmm, is Conchata Ferrell Latina?
    2 Broke Girls: Has Garrett Morris and Matthew Moy.
    Grey's Anatomy: Has a fairly diverse cast, and I believe is known for its color-blind casting practices.
    New Girl: Has Lemorne Morris.
    How I Met Your Mother: Hmm, main cast seems all-white, but they've had recurring guests like Kal Penn and Naznanin Boniadi.
    Once Upon a Time: Also a bit lacking, but has Giancarlo Esposito and is adding Jamie Chung as Mulan.
    NCIS: Has Rocky Carroll and Cote de Pablo.
    Family Guy: Has, or had, the Cleveland character, although he's played by a white voice artist.
    Mike & Molly: Has Reno Wilson, Nyambi Nyambi, and Cleo King.
    Criminal Minds: Has Shemar Moore.
    Glee: Has a pretty diverse cast, so I gather, though they tend to be stereotyped characters.
    Terra Nova: Had Shelley Conn, Christine Adams, Naomi Scott, and Alana Mansour.
    Desperate Housewives: Has Eva Longoria and Ricardo Chavira.

    Okay, so there's less diversity than I thought in the top-rated shows, particularly the sitcoms and the ABC melodramas, but there doesn't seem to be any inverse correlation between diversity and ratings.
     
  10. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    For the record, I never said, "and therefore they will cast white people." What I said was that engineering appeal to maximize revenue would be the only reason to skew ethnicity. If appeal is the same no matter the ethnic makeup of the cast, then that implies no skewing, which is perfectly consistent with what I said.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^But it's also consistent with what I said. If there's no ratings benefit to skewing the cast's ethnic makeup, then "Why would you want to?"
     
  12. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    You wouldn't, of course. It's the only possible consideration, though. And it's worth mentioning because it has been practiced and heavily.
     
  13. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What would be your ideas on a 'diverse' crew then? Who would be you Captain, First Officer, etc? What would drive them? Why are they in Starfleet? What beliefs do they hold dear?

    Some character blurbs would be handy to emphasise the point you are trying to make.
     
  14. NrobbieC

    NrobbieC Commander Red Shirt

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    But there are diverse morals, ethics, personalties etc, I don't know what hole you're talking out of.

    Sexuality however...
     
  15. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

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    One possibility would be to have a gruff captain, and crew that don't get along with each one pursuing his or her own agendas sort of like Battlestar Galactica.
     
  16. NrobbieC

    NrobbieC Commander Red Shirt

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    So, Terran Empire then
     
  17. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    There are other concepts.

    1) A Sipowitz style captain (NYPD Blue). Basically a stand up good guy but often rude, crude, clumsy socially, and abrasive.

    2) A Vic Mackey style captain (The Shield). A very dangerous and deeply flawed man who is ultimately trying to do good things (take bad guys off the streets) but is willing to use the absolute most evil techniques possible to do so.
     
  18. NrobbieC

    NrobbieC Commander Red Shirt

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    I've never heard them but sounds a bit like

    1) Season 1 Picard

    2) Captain Ransom
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    NYPD Blue? The Shield? You're asking for Star Trek to become something it fundamentally isn't and never should be. There are already fifty zillion dark and cynical shows on TV and five hundred gajillion dark, dystopian science-fiction futures in both fiction and literature. What makes Star Trek special is its optimism, its inspirational nature. It's important that there be at least some fictional franchises out there that try to do something different than the same old cliched negativity.

    True, there have been times when ST has pushed its heroes to darker places -- Sisko in the Dominion War, Janeway in "Equinox," Archer in the Xindi arc. But there have always been limits, and those have been the exceptions, not the rule. If what you want to see are protagonists that are always that dark, or even worse, then you do not want Star Trek. And there's no shortage of cynical, ugly, negative franchises out there to give you what you want.
     
  20. NrobbieC

    NrobbieC Commander Red Shirt

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    Ah, In the Pale Moonlight, what an excellent episode.