Thursday, May 07, 2009

I knew there was something missing in the new/old Star Trek.

Black to the Future, by Danielle Belton, The Black Snob.


1. Segregation. Most of us are working the elevator lifts and have other shitty jobs no one else wants.

2. New DNA technology allows us to be "bred" out making, white skin a dominate gene trait.

3. Still too broke for space!

4. New technology allows people the choice on whether to be born black or not. God. Was that a story in "Faces At the Bottom of the Well" because that sounds scary as shit.

5. Hey! That AIDS finally worked. Wait. What?

OK. I've officially scared myself with all these oddly plausible scenarios. Anyone else got a theory on how we got left behind?

I counted two black people in the Star Trek trailer, and one of them was also playing the role of "the girl." Then there was the beloved John Cho, who had approximately 4 seconds of screen time. I will hypothesize that all the colorful people, along with and including all the women, found a peaceful planet, and left the paler gentlemen to play their reindeer games.



Leslie said...

Not just a peaceful planet. A better planet. And we're not telling the rest of the trekkie squad where it is.

Asian Americanist said...

So Captain Sisko doesn't matter? So the Star Trek show that had the main character be black and a captain, and have a black son and a black father who both appeared on a semi-regular basis mean nothing? I don't recall anybody having Captain Sisko working elevator lifts and "shitty" jobs.

Not to mention Tuvok or Geordi La Forge. Is chief engineer of the flagship of Starfleet considered a "shitty" job? Not to mention his sideline teaching kids about reading.

Also, the new movie is based on the original crew, and despite the time shenanigans, aren't going to change race because of Nero. However, the cast is at least kinda diverse either in nationality and/or ethnicity. John Cho, Korean-American. Anton Yelchin, Russian-Jewish-American. Zoe Saldana, African-American. Simon Pegg, English. Eric Bana, Australian. Karl Urban, New Zealander. Also, Clifton Collins Jr., who descends from Spanish and Mexican grandparents.

Oh, and Tyler Perry, African-American, who plays Admiral Richard Barnett, is the head of Starfleet Academy. That's also not a job where he's working the elevator I would imagine.

And that would be three blacks in the movie. Not to mention the number of blacks in the third trailer which shows some of the Starfleet class.

I'd be more convinced if "Black to the Future" actually acknowledged when blacks did appear, other than marginalize them by just listing a few and seeming to pretend that the rest don't exist. I don't see Teal'C on that list too. Or Dr. Franklin from Babylon 5, DL from Heroes, Barnes from Terminator Salvation, and I'm sure I'm forgetting others.

Bianca Reagan said...

Nerd alert! I'm mean. :)

I was just going by the trailer, which in itself is an influential form of media, like all other commercials. However, the problem with your argument is that you can count the nonwhite people because they stand out. If you started counting white people in TV and movie science fiction, you would run out of fingers and toes and other appendages. I look forward to a day when finding a black person in a TV show or movie isn't something to be applauded; it's just another day, in 2009. We did have that once: it was called UPN.

Asian Americanist said...

Actually I couldn't count the black people either. The crowd goes up pretty far so I couldn't do it for any particular race. The aliens stand out far more than the black people. Which is very species-ist of Starfleet, but them's the breaks. I could go into why this may be realistic, but you're mean already. :)

The trailer played into the main cast and so it was weighted towards white, because that's what the movie is about. The coming together of the main cast, so I don't think it is particularly bad that that's what the trailer focused on. We barely see Starfleet Academy at all in the trailer, but it's in the movie.

Demographically what are you looking for? Blacks are there and as leads in Star Trek shows, if you choose to look. How is the concept of "enough blacks in Sci-Fi" supposed to be achieved? Are there enough black people wanting to be extras to become a large percentage in that Starfleet class crowd for the one scene? They could have just been duplicating thirty people by computer, but it still requires thirty extras. Also, is that worse than the African planet, which also didn't get a mention, from TNG? Even if that played into negative stereotypes of Africans? But that's a significant number of black actors for that episode. There hasn't been a ST show about an Asian captain, but there have been Asians in signficant roles in Star Trek.

I can watch a series and note that there are white and black characters. Boomer was black in the original Battlestar Galactica, but his being black wasn't exactly a big deal in the show as far as I can recall. He was recast as an Asian female for the new BSG, but that isn't so much a big deal either in regards to her race. The article you linked to also equated Uhura with Dualla from the new BSG. Yeah, Dualla was the comm. officer of the Galactica, but she was promoted to XO of the Pegasus. I mean, sure you could say that she was a fairly minor character, but she served as the second in command, so how is that simply being the same as Uhura in terms of job function? The show's main strength is also Edward James Olmos, who isn't particularly white. There are probably more signficant roles for blacks in Science Fiction television, than for Asians I would say. Is that more of an issue than the number of blacks or other specific minorities in Sci-Fi?

Science fiction as a genre is very much about people and current issues. And touches on racial issues a great deal as plot/character/theme. I would also say that it hasn't held back in casting as much as I would say that mainstream television has.

You can find a number of black characters on Heroes. Broyles on Fringe is black. Greer is going to be played by a black actor in Stargate Universe. Ellis is black in Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles. And I could do that off the top of my head. How is that not another day in 2009?