Why not make Chakotay hispanic

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by Trekboy1993, Dec 18, 2017.

  1. Amaris

    Amaris Abiding Eos Premium Member

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    I like that they shot for the fences, it just didn't make it that far. They fell back on the old "Indian Medicine Man / Spirit Guide" trope. I don't think we learned which tribe Chakotay was from until much later in the series, probably because no one really thought to define it. As for Robert Beltran, I think he's Mexican with some Native American lineage, but the show made his Native American culture a core aspect of his identity. In essence, they found someone tangentially Native American, and made them the poster child for Native American culture in the show. So, yeah, for me it was two strikes, and the hit only made it to the pitcher's mound.

    There was no excuse for not finding Native American actors for Native American roles, even back in 1995.
     
  2. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The rubber trèe is native to South America... Therefore Chuckles is indigenous to South of the U.S. border... Just like Beltran.

    There's more to the continents of America than just 52 states.
     
  3. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    South America is south of Panama.
     
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  4. Stroudarian

    Stroudarian Lieutenant Commander Premium Member

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    I can never quite put my finger on it, but for some reason, I just do not like Chakotay. It has absolutely nothing to do with his Native American heritage or his being half Hispanic. I couldn't care less about a individual's race. I just cannot seem to figure out why I do not like the character. I felt the same way about Riker when I was younger, but eventually, the character of William T. Riker grew on me and I as matured, I found a new level of appreciation for the character. I wish I could figure out why I dislike Chakotay so much.
     
  5. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Because he's boring and his character is basically the same in Endgame as it is in Caretaker? Even Harry Kim had more character development and growth than that even if he did stay an Ensign all those years.
     
  6. Refuge

    Refuge Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I could imagine people feeling Chakotay was stiff. Maybe didn't click with his range of emotions but I rather liked the subtlety of his presence. He had the cutest moments of amusement. Never a good idea to reference 'Threshold' but Chakotay and Tuvok finding Janeway and Paris at the end :lol: He came into his own during the Equinox episodes, even Timeless. I'm scared to mention his spirituality but I like it.
     
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  7. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    They'd probably get Hispanics wrong too
     
  8. at Quark's

    at Quark's Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Don't worry. Bull running still exists in the 24th century, but they use replicated bulls now with a kinesthetic agent to give them a little oomph.

    As for Chakotay. The main problem imho is not his native American background -though that could have been portrayed a whole lot better and with more care-, but that there is apparently very little else to him -- save for a little Maquis backstory, perhaps. As a character, he seems almost exclusively defined by his heritage, which makes him very onedimensional. Such a character cannot work well.

    His case is very different from, for example, B'elanna, who is half-klingon and has a fair amount of struggle with that, but otherwise has a sharply marked identity of her own - her unconventional engineering genius, her resistance in letting people come near, and so on. She develops as a character. Similarly, they should have given Chakotay a set of traits unconnected to his heritage and developed them a little throughout the series -- for example, perhaps his ambivalent feelings towards becoming a father might have been explored further. Instead, what we got were one-time mentions of his interest in field x (archeology for example), when it suited the purposes of the episode, never to be revisited.
     
  9. Mareika

    Mareika Captain Captain

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    I think the main problem is that he is First Officer of a female captain, I`ve read somewhere that the writers wanted Janeway to be a very strong- willed and powerful person. A person, who knows everything and wants to do everything herself. In TNG Picard sent Riker and some other crewmembers to the new planets, other places (don`t know the word for "Außenmission" in English). Janeway does this often herself. Chakotay has no room to shine or to develop his personality. The other crewmembers aren`t so close to her. They are able to develop. Sorry for m< bad English.
     
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  10. cosmic mouse

    cosmic mouse Captain Captain

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    One of the best scenes when this occurs (imo) is during Blood Fever when Tom radios in that B'Elanna bit him.
     
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  11. Refuge

    Refuge Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh yes! Saw that a couple of nights ago :lol:
     
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  12. Prax

    Prax Commodore Commodore

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    He's more than that. He's not a noble savage, but was raised "on the reservation," hated it, and left the first chance he could. He wanted to live in the 24th century.

    When his Pa died, he felt guilt over his choices in life, and what his father wanted for him, and now seeks to learn about his heritage. He went out and got the tattoo. His dad doesn't have one. He's trying to "atone for his sins" in a way.

    Prior to his time on Voyager, he was rebellious, looking for a fight. That's why he joined Starfleet, and that's why he left Starfleet for the Marquis.

    I find these interesting characteristics of Chakotay. He's not "The Indian dude," but a "24th century dude," with a lot of regrets in life, trying to discover his heritage. He wants to honor his father in death, after failing to while he was alive.

    -my 2cents.
     
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  13. at Quark's

    at Quark's Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I in fact thought of this backstory when writing my earlier post, but in my head, I mainly filed it under him being native american. That's because it still has everything to do with the "conflict" between, well, western and native American heritage. Creating a backstory based on that is a good idea in itself but it could have been developed further. It seems Chakotay is fairly static over this the course of Voyager's run, his attitude in S7 doesn't seem much different from his attitude in, say S3.

    We see a similar element in B'elanna: the conflict between her human and her Klingon side. And it's a strong element too, from which a lot of her other characteristics derive - her fierce temper and her isolation in early Voyager, for example. But she gets backstories in which these elements are explored and she developes as a character-- she is very different in late Voyager. In Chakotay's case, it seems that his backstory was introduced gradually over the first 2-3 seasons or so and then pretty much left there, perhaps only referenced to again in the occasional odd episode. For that reason, I liked The Fight (an episode that usually doesn't get a lot of praise) because it finally introduced a new element to Chakotays backstory and hopes and fears again -- his fear of becoming a 'crazy old man' like his grandfather-- that could have been an opening to learn yet more about his background, but again, it was abandoned.

    But perhaps I'm all wrong in my approach and the main problem is he is too much in Kathryn's shadow, as another poster commented. Come to think of it - and I've read this in another thread too, don't remember where- perhaps there simply isn't enough to do for a First Officer to make him/her an interesting character, if that's all there is to the part. It's relatively easy to write stories in which a Chief Engineer actually has to do something, even if it is mainly shouting: 'captain, we can't infuse the transmuon particle emitters with hyperion radiation because that will misalign our warp initation temporal sequencing matrix and reinitializing that will cost me at least three hours!' and looking worried over some displays. But giving a first officer useful things to do is much harder, so in 'strong' first officer roles we see they do other stuff as well.

    Spock was first officer and science officer and functioned as Kirk's rational sidekick (and McCoy as his emotional one). Some say the Riker character was comparatively weak on board because all he mostly really did there was repeating (and perhaps specifying) Picard's orders to the troops- so they had to give him away missions and make him a ladies' man to give him some texture. The only times they actually capitalize on him being first officer is when he gets caught between his CO and the crew, or when he is faced with the task of replacing Picard and 'competing' with him, such as in Best of Both worlds. Kira is an example of a very strong character that gets a lot of action and A-stories in episodes, but if you come to think of it, almost nothing of that has actually to do with her being the first officer. Most of it derives from her being a link to the Bajoran culture and government, and her being a fierce character in her own right.

    So I still think they could have added a lot more to Chakotay's character. For example, he would have been the natural hub for (resolving) tensions between Starfleet and Maquis "culture" and learning 'his' crew to work together with the Starfleet crew- which is there for a bit in the beginning but dissipates all too quickly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
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  14. Jayson1

    Jayson1 Rear Admiral Commodore

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    I think my biggest problem was he was to much of a typical starfleet officer which seems to conflict with his background of also being a Marquis. I don't care how just the Maquis were I think it takes a certain mindset to be willing to go fight a war like a terrorist. Just being noble or being angry isn't enough of a motivation. Frankly we should have seen him more at odds with typical starfleet procedure and someone who was able to think outside of the starfleet box in how to solve problems. In fact that might have been something he was kind of doing while he use to be in Starfleet and he became more of that person when he left to go fight the Carddisians. His conflict with Janeway shouldn't have been over poltics of a situation that no longer impacts them while in the DQ but in how to operate the ship,carry out missions and rules that are worth bending to get back home.

    Jason
     
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  15. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    I like "The Fight" for the same reason. (I'm also partial to any show that deals with kids having to grow up with mentally ill adults. That's something you don't wish on your worst enemy.) Chakotay's fear of insanity is even fitting with previous episodes; he faces death like it's nothing, but the times when he really seems freaked out or angry are when his *mind* is being messed with ("Unity," "Waking Moments," "Memorial.") I really wish they'd taken the crazy gene story further. But I guess they figured they had to save the insanity storylines for Tuvok, who didn't have much else.
     
  16. Prax

    Prax Commodore Commodore

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    I...um...agree. :)
    I could say, that in an ensemble cast, there have to be some characters who have growth, and others who remain static, as sort of an anchor; usually the older characters. In a story with a single main protagonist, that protagonist goes through an arc, while the supporting characters usually remain somewhat static.

    Tuvok doesn't change much over the series, but he's one of my favorite characters. And he really shouldn't change much. He's a hundred year old Vulcan. His biggest changes are learning to trust people like Chakotay, becoming Neelix' friend, and improving on his dry humor.
     
  17. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    (Mexican Chakotay.)

    1. Chuckles in a Sombrero.

    2. Chuckles and a friend in a holodeck game as Santa Anna trying to take the Alamo, right after the episodes where Julian and Miles struggle to defend the Alamo... Hell, the two series would probably share extras playing NPCs defending and attacking the Alamo, since they are after all playing the same game.

    3. Taco Tuesdays.

    4. Replicated Tequlia.

    5. Did we ever see their wet weather gear? Considering how diverse life is, a rain poncho is very accommodating to the spectrum of less humanoid body types working in Star Fleet. Then we could have a Chekov moment where Chakotay takes credit for something ordinary.
     
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  18. Amaris

    Amaris Abiding Eos Premium Member

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    Indeed. Despite what I said above, I think Robert did as well as he could with what he had. I liked those moments where Chakotay would get amused by something Janeway would say. He just didn't get enough of those moments. For example, I just watched "Resolutions," and I loved the moments between Janeway and Chakotay, and I could see Robert pushing for all he was worth, and then Janeway was distracted by a monkey because... damn the writers really stuck their feet in it too often. :lol:
     
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  19. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think it was OK that they made him an Indian.
    However, they could have done a better job with that by giving him a proper tribe and avoided that "Rubber Tree people" and "Sky Spirits" crap.