Sonequa Martin-Green Responds To Racist Criticism of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Sonequa Martin-Green of Star Trek: Discovery

When the Star Trek: Discovery casting announcements started to hit, and then the trailer dropped, there was one thing everyone agreed on: the newest entry in the Star Trek franchise is embracing diversity in a big way, including having its very first African-American female lead. Some particularly vocal critics have accused CBS of bowing to “political correctness” in their casting choices. The press pounced on the story, and Discovery‘s star, Sonequa Martin-Green, told Entertainment Weekly what she’d say to these so-called fans who have issues with what they’re seeing.

“Well, I would encourage them to key into the essence and spirit of Star Trek that has made it the legacy it is — and that’s looking across the way to the person sitting in front of you and realizing you are the same, that they are not separate from you, and we are all one. That’s something Star Trek has always upheld and I completely believe that is why it’s been a mainstay in society in the hearts of so many people for so many decades. I would encourage them to look past their opinions and social conditioning and key into what we’re doing here — which is telling a story about humanity that will hopefully bring us all together.”

Diversity is part of Star Trek

Of course, anyone who’s been following Star Trek from the beginning (or even anyone who picked it up along the way) knows that diversity is at its core and is part of Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future. From the early 60s when it was revolutionary to show bridge officers who were African-American, Asian, and even Russian to the crews of the Deep Space Nine space station and the starship Voyager in particular, representation has always been baked into Star Trek’s DNA. These points were made effectively last month by George Takei in an appearance on MSNBC.

Star Trek’s diversity is plain to see

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

 

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139 Comments on "Sonequa Martin-Green Responds To Racist Criticism of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’"

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No argument there, she said it perfectly. And this is coming from a 50 year old white guy. People need to get over these age-old prejudices and stereotypes.

Agreed.

This is something that, no matter your race, age, or political affiliation, we can all agree on.

If you cant, then this is your stop. It’s time to get off.

Double-Agreed. This type of thinking should be shamed.

Like the Litter!

DON’T LITTER!

Precisely. And same here! The whole biological races thing is nonsense anyway. The concept is rejected by scientists. It’s sad & unfortunate that so many don’t know or understand that. We are collectively the human race…and we come in a variety of sizes, shapes & colors. It’s all the same pigment, no matter where you’re from or what you look like. It’s simply a matter of how much of it each of us happens to have.

Sorry, but those who are beating the ‘political correctness’ drum are also the ones defending the Caucasian male status quo. If that bothers you, you’d better look into the mirror before labeling diversity racism.

I also had kind of a problem with the word ‘racism’ used in the title, but I was trying to keep it light. That buzz word is getting so old, and is being used so widely, it barely means anything to me any more.

“Racism” isn’t a buzzword, and calling it such is just another example in action. Racism is an ingrained social institution relevant to pretty much everyone in America and many people across the world. Failing to acknowledge racism is just another form of racism, and these people making these comments are being racist. They should be called out for it.

If it wasn’t racism, what was it?

Some people are just unapologetic racists and bigots. Many others dont even realise they are. Those are the ones whining about “social justice warriors” or the “gay agenda” or “shoving it down our throats”.

Really disgusting, especially as Trek fans.

Uhura wasn’t African American, whatever that means. She was African.

Anyway, considering that the majority of Star Trek audience consists of white people, I’d wager a guess that Star Trek is loved despite its diversity, not because of it. If anything, Star Trek’s diversity was tolerated by the mainstream audience because of its’ well-written, thought-provoking stories.

I’d argue you can’t see past your own nose because you’re a white man. Ask any minority demographic if diversity is an appeal of Trek and you’ll likely hear a resounding “yes.”.

Besides, the “hopeful vision of the future” is at the core of what most classic Trekkies see as it’s appeal, and the equality of sexes, races, nationalities and sexualities is part and parcel to that.

No, she IS American. Dropping that distinction furthers the “melting pot” ideal that this country is really all about. Trying to categorize into “sub-systems” is really how racism is encouraged and furthered.

I thought Uhura was actually African, not an American. Nichols of course is an American, and I agree about dropping the distinction. I always felt that the term African American is demeaning since it implies you are something less than a real American, which simply isn’t the case.

By the 23rd century is there really a distinct difference between African and African-American? At this point, aren’t they all just Terrans?

For 20th century human viewers, though, she was simply “black” or “a person of color” in a key supporting role. which is what was important in the eyes of civil rights in the 1960s.

^Torchwood’s right, although Uhura might think of herself in a certain way, just as Chekov was so Russian and Scotty so Scottish.

Yes, of course. I was not distinguishing between the character and the actress.

As Torchwood stated, in the 23rd Century, there is not this “sub-system” distinction between Asian, African, Arab etc etc. Everyone is HUMAN.

I apologize for misunderstanding the original statement.

Nichelle Nichols is an American. Uhura was supposed to be from the 23rd century Bantu nation of United Africa, per the official TOS Writer’s Guide.

NICHELLE NICHOLS is American, but UHURA is African. The Writer’s Guide for TOS states quite clearly that Uhura was born in “the United States of AFRICA.”

pretty much this. I’m unsure how calling Uhura African is categorizing into ‘sub-systems’ when the character is, in fact, supposed to be African (from Kenya, the United States Of Africa). In this case, African is her ethnicity and nationality, which really is no different than calling characters ‘American’. The fact that original Uhura was portrayed by an afro-american woman has nothing to do with the ehtnicity of the fictional character. In fact, the kelvin timeline version of her is potrayed by an afro-latina woman with american nationality. Tl dr: both white people and people of color can have different nationalities and ethnicities (and usually the latter aren’t a requirement in castings, so yeah, the fact both Zoe and Nichelle don’t share the character’s nationality should be no more an issue than a british white person playing an american, or white americans playing french and italian people)

That’s not the impression I got when I attended Roddenberry’s college lectures (admittedly, a million years ago). He would always conclude by stating his opinion that what drew people to the show wasn’t anything special about it per se, but rather the hunger for human brotherhood. The audience would then give him a standing ovation. That doesn’t sound like “despite its diversity” to me.

I’m white, and I love Star Trek partly because of its diversity. TOS gave me the opportunity to “meet” an intelligent alien, and one who had quite pointed comments about humanity. After taking Spock to my heart, differences in skin color seem trivial to me. The importance of our mutual humanity is one of the things Star Trek taught me, and I’ll always be grateful to it for that.

@Paul — seriously you should be banned for being racist, and a bigot, and possibly a misogynist. I’d love to see the proof of your assertion that “the majority of Star Trek audience consists of white people”. Until you can produce that, you’re also a liar.

Why should a white audience only tolerate diversity? It’s the same silly argument that white people won’t watch something with more than one minority of the same race, or that boys won’t read books about girls. Minorities and women are expected to consume media about straight white men, so why shouldn’t white men consume media about people who aren’t white men?

You’re 100% wrong. I’m a white guy, and the primary appeal of Star Trek is, and always has been, the optimism in the world. The idea that we could get along; and that gender, race, even species made no difference to the value of a person. That is Star Trek. Everything else is window dressing.

The optimism of the world is what makes Star Trek special. It elevates even the bad episodes, of which there are many, because even in a bad story, I’d still rather be there, in that world, with those people who practice inclusiveness, respect and compassion, than here, decades later, still dealing with the absurdly self-absorbed insecurity and xenophobia of people like you.

Don’t presume to speak for me.

Well said, Michael Harrison.

Our friend Paul here loves using his power of internet speech to spread misleading and inflammatory messages. I’m not sure if he’s trolling us on this one or not, but those “well-written, thought-provoking stories” he goes on about generally end with the same message: diversity is an essential good, and only through tolerance can we achieve greatness. The Federation’s diversity WAS its strength. That’s why Trek is *celebrated* for its diversity. Maybe Paul needs to go rewatch those “thought-provoking” stories and put some thought into them this time.

I’m pretty sure there’s more fuss from fans about the production design, costumes, makeup design than the casting

I sometimes think the “racist tweeters” are paid by retained PR companies who then commission articles about them in major magazines like EW. There was Ghostbusters, Star Wars, and now Star Trek. While in the end, nothing could save Ghostbusters from its mediocre story, even references to said tweets in scenes re-shot late in production, these “racists” are used to give the shows a positive spin which will bring potential new and diverse viewers on board. Criticizing Trek for diversity is like criticizing a forest for having trees. Diversity has been dominant in the show’s DNA since it started. I could be absolutely wrong, in which case we wish they’d just watch and learn something.

The idea that movies and TV shows need to generate PR through false flag racist comment campaigns ignores the rampant sludge that composes most comments sections on the Internet.

So true.

Sadly they’re just — wait for it — actual racists. Nobody has to pay them anything to spew hate speech. They do it all on their own.

Trek was not specifically about diversity. It just was because as we live with each other more and more as opposed to the past where we lived in our own segregated community, we care less and less about our differences. To many people like to preach and sometimes force diversity in trek instead of just creating good thought provoking (on both sides of a point of view) stories. Regarding forced diversity, how many people here have been clamoring for a gay character simply because they are gay. That is forced. We should want good characters regardless. And I love the people here insulting others because of their valid opinion which is not racist at all but people have to be racist by assuming they are white and even insulting them for that. Sounds a little racist on their side. By the way Sonequa’s response was good.

Here’s a question: do you think that Nichelle Nichols and George Takei were cast only after an exhaustive search which conclusively proved that they could play those roles better than any of their white colleagues possibly could? Or was it because Roddenberry actually wanted to depict a ship crewed by peoples from all over the world, and even an alien?

Go ahead and think about it. I’ll wait.

+1. Well put.

*smile* Well said.

As I said, the more people live together the less they care about their physical differences especially race and to portray a crew of s ship representing an entire planet much farther into the future would be ridiculous and even more unrealistic than flying through space on a ship like the enterprise. It’s getting to the point with each show that the first thing they think about what color and sex and now sexual orientation the captain or any other character is. Soon there will be a gender fluid character. Should we see a crew of different races? Of course but it shouldn’t be the main point of the show. The stories should be thought provoking about life in it’s many facets. If the first thing the writers are thinking about is we need a black star cause we already had a white one or we need a gay star cause we already had a straight one or now we need a black woman because we haven’t had one or maybe a gay,hispanic, woman cause that would be different, instead of writing good stories to show the differences of people then we are going to end up with a bad show. I loved Janeway but could care less if she was a woman. She was a good captain and that’s what mattered. You don’t think making Sulu gay wasn’t forced and how did that work out. Takei didn’t even like it.Oh and yes I think they did search hard for… Read more »

@G66 — well you didn’t answer @Michael Hall’s question did you.

Roddenberry specifically sought to put an Asian male in the role of Sulu, etc. He specifically sought to cast a woman as Number One in THE CAGE Pilot, etc. Nothing has changed with DISCOVERY’s decisions.

No, he really didn’t answer it, did he? But give him credit, the man can dance.

“G66,” you might want to check out any of the endless interviews Takei and Nichols have given regarding the reasons for their being hired. I’m sorry to disillusion you, but yes, they were “diversity hires” (just as Grace Lee Whitney was a “cheesecake hire” and Walter Koenig was a “Tiger Beat hire,” so you can check those boxes off as well). That’s no insult to their ability to do their jobs, which they did splendidly–it’s just acknowledging the reality of what happened. That Lloyd Haines preceded Nichols as Communications Officer might have been a hint to you, even if you don’t know the history.

At this point in time no one outside of the production staff and possibly the network knows what “the main point” of Discovery is, assuming it has even has one. I doubt very much, though, that it has anything at all to do with the ethnicity of the main character, let alone the sexual preference of a supporting one. That’s all just in your overheated imagination. Why not wait to see the series air before making such judgements?

Of course they are diversity hires. How the hell do you show different nationalities and races from a planet without hiring a diverse cast. I’m sure Roddenbery had some additional motives to be diverse other than being realistic but he wasn’t preachy like so many today. Obviously you are incapable of broadening you understanding and just like to keep hurling insults. How does one have a conversation with someone like you that doesn’t try or can’t understand a different point of view or perspective. I know you probably see the opposite of what I see when you watched TOS episodes so this back and forth is pointless. Just a quick example, in Let that be your last battlefield episode, the crew didn’t take sides to lecture whether the black on right side was right or the white on the right side was right. The point was that racism didn’t make sense. Only a clear racist would have been offended. Today the episode would likely lecture and demean one side over the other in favor of critical thought for both views right or wrong.

Of course Kirk lectured Bele on the absurdity of his position. The reason he didn’t side with Loki was because the character was calling for returning hate for hate, which in the view of the Enterprise crew was not constructive. I agree. (But here’s a tip: if you’re going to argue that Roddenberry wasn’t “preachy” on the subject of race–unlike us horrible SJWs of today–citing LTBYLB as an example probably isn’t the way to go.)

As for having no problem with DSC having a diverse cast–well, pardon, but you could’ve fooled me. I mean, if that isn’t your problem, then what is? Did Bryan Fuller or any of the other producers ever state that having a series of racial and gender boxes checked-off was their singular priority–acting talent, production values and storytelling be damned? No? In that case, why would you bring it up at all, since having a diverse cast is the baseline we would expect from any Trek series, no less than primary hulls, warp drive and photon torpedoes? Seems that someone has a political agenda, all right, and it ain’t us SJW types, who would only have everyone cool their jets until September and then judge the show strictly on its merits as science fiction and drama, regardless of how inclusive its cast is.

I’m not complaining about Discover cast. I’m just commenting on the assumptions of many towards other valid opinions. And yes I did answer it. Try reading what I said about representing an entire planet and how unrealistic it would be to not have many different races and nationalities on the same ship/crew. Do I have to spell it out?

So to clarify: diversity in the past was good, but now they’re doing it wrong?

Maybe the issue is that you’re just more aware of it now, so diversity just seems more artificial to you.

But here’s the thing: it’s all artificial. It’s a work of fiction. If people don’t make affirmative decisions, nothing gets made.

Actually G66 it’s your entire approach to the situation that reveals your true fears about this show. You see, the writers didn’t make it their first priority to have minority representation in the show — it’s 2017 and this is Star Trek; they simply take that as a given. It is YOU who believes that because the show is diverse that it MUST have been the writers’ primary intention. That isn’t it at all; it’s just your fear telling you that the diversity is somehow an issue when it isn’t. You shouldn’t care that the crew is diverse at all. All that you, and anyone else on the internet, should care about is if the stories are good. And guess what, the only way you’ll know is if you see them. So all this noise about the diversity being an issue — guess what, it has nothing to do with the quality of the writing, and all the people butthurt about it are just demonstrating yet again that if diversity in television is something that bothers you, you’re just plain racist.

Obviously you are unable to read and comprehend what I have said. I have NO problems with the cast and have NEVER expressed anything bad about the cast. In fact I am glad Sonequa has been cast. I have just been defending opinions of others. What is wrong with that? Just becasue I don’t share their concern with the cast doesn’t mean I can’t see their point. Aren’t we supposed to be diverse of opinion too. It’s amazing how much ignorance and lack of understanding there is with many here. Can’t people have a differing opinion that can be valid even if you don’t agree or WANT to agree with it. Jeesh. I started this thread with a simple opinion about the diversity aspect of Trek and then the so called tolerant (which clearly are not) take every syllable I say to task. I hope I didn’t spell anything wrong or else. So much for spirited debate that all can learn from. Not very Trek like.

Yeah I see their point too — and it’s racist. It’s bigoted. Anyone who is complaining about the cast has a shameful opinion and are being openly hateful about it. That isn’t behavior that deserves to be defended.

Oh, for Pete’s sake. Some “fans” get their panties in a bunch after viewing a trailer because, well, peecee and quotas and some such–and your first impulse is to defend them by stating that Trek isn’t about diversity, an absurd claim given its creator’s public statements and the central role diversity plays in one of its most potent and enduring symbols. Well, what did you expect, a cookie and a pat on the head? Note that I’ve never called you a racist or even stupid–but if you take advantage of your right to air inflammatory views you need to be ready to take the heat for them without whining about how intolerant your critics are. That’s just how freedom works, in any society, even in the 23rd century.

How does adding all these newly diverse characters inhibit good story telling? I think diversity, even ‘forced,’ diversity makes more more compelling and dramatic relationships.

Janeway’s gender was absolutely integral to why she was a good captain, and, more importantly for the show as a work of fiction, it was integral to why she was a good character. As was Sisko’s blackness.

This type of diversity has always been one of the main points of Trek.

Also, if given the opportunity to search for ‘the best actor for the role, regardless of race/gender/sexual orientation,’ white guys (who,are usually making these decisions) will default to other white guys.

Also, the shows always progress in ways reflective of what the next important representational step is. In our era, that’s sexual orientation and gender rationality.

Roddenberry was in military. He traveled a lot, worked with a plethora of different ethnic groups and kinds of people. This is what informed Trek more than anything.

Roddenberry himself “forced” diversity in his conception of the Starship Enterprise. He specifically designed the bridge crew for the regular series to have characters represent different parts of the world, as he saw the ship as a Spaceship Earth that symbolized the entire planet. He was only limited by network and studio heads, and by the 1960s perspective on which underrepresented peoples even occurred to people in charge of TV shows like him.

Also, a lot of great Trek stories were/are driven by the diverse nature of the crew.

All the development of the Klingon Kulture we got in the Worf-centric TNG episodes was a direct result of the crew’s diversity. And you can’t tell me that Michael Dorn’s race had nothing to do with those character choices.

Also, IDIC.

Yes, which is why I think idiotic when one of these racists try to use TOS as an example of how Trek wasn’t trying to be PC lol. Its so bizarre.

Roddenberry literally created a cast that could be plucked out of the UN. Every character represented a major part of the world at that time: Obviously Kirk represented the USA; Chekhov was the Soviet bloc; Sulu was Asia or the far east; Scotty was western Europe and Uhura was the African continent. The only major world blocs missing were the Latin and middle eastern regions.

When TNG came around the world was just very different. The cold war was still in play but no where like it was in the 60s. And yes diversity was just more common in general with segregation and Jim Crow a thing of the past. The cast was still very diverse but they weren’t created around nationality like before. In fact for the human characters I think all of them were just Americans minus Picard. Roddenberry wasn’t trying to make it as symbolic as TOS but diversity was clearly still very important to him.

But I would argue its really TOS where diversity was forced more than any other show, especially because it was during a time you didn’t see a lot of it. He WAS making a point, back then, a big one. And it was lost on no one.

ST was not preachy? Did you ever watch TNG and one of Picards little speeches?

TOS was not preachy. All others definitely had their moments that made you question the the reasoning of what was happening. Although it is a natural thing to do, it’s funny how many people only see what they want to see and miss the point of some episodes from all the shows. Although there were some really dopey episodes from TOS, it was still the best because of the non or say much less preachy storytelling.

LOL TOS wasn’t preachy? What show were you watching?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGO-SldLrNA

I mean, seriously? Mind you the guy is talking to a group of people on another planet lol. Who do you think that speech was REALLY aimed for? Most of Kirk’s speeches, the guy might as well just look directly in the camera and say, “I’m talking to you.”

Its funny you say people only see what they want. This definitely applies to you chief.

Yeah. I love TOS best of all, but that was pretty hysterical.

Dont have a problem with it but I bet If they would have featured Jason Issac in the trailer the criticism probably would’nt have started! but when you step back and look at the trailer it can look as if the show is trying to tick every political correctness box and your always going to get people that see that.

Sorry, the term “political correctness box” really is for people who confuse counting the ceiling tiles for actually being able to build a roof.

Honestly, as a Trek fan, it didn’t even occur to me that there wasn’t a white male lead in the trailer until someone pointed it out to me. That’s where we should be, and could be, thanks to programs like Star Trek, who seek to normalize diversity.

It also wasn’t until I started examining past Trek crews that I realized, for example, that O’Brien was the only white male character on DS9. Think about that for a second: a show in 1993 with an African American lead Commander, a female first officer, a female lt. commander, an Indian chief medical officer, two aliens, and one white male (non American) chief engineer. A majority minority cast in 1993 was incredibly progressive and very little was made of it beyond the casting of the African American captain.

You’re quite correct. I think the biggest differences are A) Less attention was paid to a show that was largely a spin-off of TNG, still on the air at the time — no long gap between series; B) The Internet was still in embryonic form in ’93. The haters were out there, but there were fewer places for posting one’s anonymous spleen; and C) Sadly, our current political climate has made it safer for people to trot out their hate under the guise of patriotism and “free speech.”

Alex Siddig is Sudanese.

It didnt occur to me too. I dont care. But its sad that so many Trek fans see “black woman” or “Asian woman” or “gay!”. Who cares?

I hope all those people have children who grow up to marry same-sex visible minorities…lol

And it’s not that I didn’t notice that the actress was black, or that the captain was asian. It just didn’t really occur to me that there were no white men, and the races and sexes weren’t important enough for me to take conscious notice and start counting the diversity.

And critics say things like “well they’re mandating diversity, why not just pick the best actors for the parts, no matter their race/gender/sexual preference/etc?

But the fact is, this isn’t a documentary, it’s a fictional program, meaning they have to CAST people, so if they want the cast to reflect a tolerant society, they need to PICK and CHOOSE things like race, nationality, and sexual preference. Otherwise, there’d also be no aliens.

If they went on talent alone, and wound up with 100% minorities, how would you feel? If they would up with 100% white men, but wanted a romance, they’d have to make them gay– and an all white male cast would also give the impression that the society in this future isn’t very diverse, which is opposite of the message they’re trying to send.

They’re mandating and casting diverse because they want to send a hopeful message that the future is tolerant and accepting of everyone, and the only way to do that is to show different races, genders, sexual preferences, all working together as equals.

I don’t see anynproblem even if that’s exactly what they were doing. Hell, they probably were. They need to pull a younger, more diverse and less racist demographic if they want this to succeed.

For politically correct, just substitute correct and we’ll be so much better off.

I’m person, my very existence and reflection in media devoid of whiteness isn’t “politically correct”. It’s simply a reflection.

Diversity always has been a part of Star Trek casting, but there IS such a thing as bowing to political correctness, and there is a lot of “checking the box” in Hollywood. It doesn’t bother me as much if the characters are original though and it’s appropriate to the story.

Agreed. Well put.

The problem with the idea that the show is “bowing to political correctness” at the expense of quality television is two-fold:

* It’s an impossible argument to defend or refute without seeing the final product.
* The greater the diversity on both sides of the camera, the more likely unique points of view, interesting stories, and original characters have a chance to shine. Even if the motive is to “bow to political correctness” the result is more likely than not to be stories being told that would otherwise not be.

“The greater the diversity on both sides of the camera, the more likely unique points of view, interesting stories, and original characters have a chance to shine.”

So you’re of the opinion that only white people are capable of writing about white characters and black people are only capable of writing about black characters? Good writers lead to interesting stories, not quotas.

I think there’s a little more straw in the rear corner, if you’re still looking.

Again this whole idea of “quotas” filling the casting and writing of this show is an argument way off the mark. Your entire point is that it doesn’t MATTER what color the writers or actors are. Anyone with the right skills can pull it off. If people are worried that these roles haven’t been picked based on merit, and more based on a diversity quota, then they’re just racist for thinking that because someone is a minority it means that they might not be the “best” or “right” choice for the role, as opposed to, ya know, a white person. Because only white people can act, or something.

Agreed! All these people who say the race of the characters shouldn’t matter are verrrrry focused on the races (genders, etc.) of these characters.

They might be capable of it, but they’re less likely to try. Why do you think there have always been mostly straight whiteys in main rolls on the tv machine?

I meant roles…

Isnt the first rule of writing to “write what you know”. I think writing for a while male is pretty easy. But what does a white male know about being a black female, growing up and subjected to racism etc?

There are so very fine writes who can capture that.

Im a Y&R fan (or used to be) and one of the former actresses on the show is essentially blackballed because she, as a black female, accused the show of racism for not letting her write. I dont agree with her.

But like all facets of American industry, we’re talking about creating a level playing field. Only whites seem to think losing their overwhelming power majority a little is an unlevel field for them.

I work for a big company that has been pretty male dominated at higher positions and even when there have been women, there is still a “old boys club” mentality among some people. I want to see more women advanced through the ranks. Do I want qualified and good men to lose? No. But when the game has been juiced for 500 years, making a stronger effort to recognize those who have been stepped on is not a bad thing./

Its about a level, fair playing field. Only whites want the status quo of them on top.

+1

Answer me this, when and who are you to determine that someone with the same race as me isn’t “appropriate”. That the very presence of someone with the same skin color as myself is “forced”?

If you don’t feel that way about white men too, then racism is informing your decisions, point blank. And quite frankly, it hurts. I exist and nothing about that is political.

Humanity’s existence is not political and seeing it’s multitude being human in various narratives isn’t something that should be offensive to anyone.

@gingerly it’s funny to see how people will bend over backwards to try to rationalize the fact they are annoyed white dudes aren’t the default.

It’s great to see that Martin-Green GETS that about Star Trek!

That all of this should even have to be said is an indictment of our present moment in general, and an apparently sizable segment of Trek fandom in particular. Whatever his own failings, I’m glad Gene Roddenberry isn’t around to see it.

I suspect that, regardless of the ethnicity of the lead, some people would have made an issue of that person’s ethnicity. If it were an Asian, people would have said CBS was too chicken to cast a black person. If it had been an Anglo, people would have started a “star trek so white” movement. I’m sure it’s a matter of time before we see criticism of Captain Lorca being white.

I doubt CBS said “we need a black actor for this role”, I suspect they said “we need the best available actor for this role”. And with Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh , and Jason Isaacs, they got it. Who cares what their ethnicity is?

If anything, this Star Trek is less “diverse” than some shows on TV now. I just want to see a good show. But I do think it’s not possible to reproduce how revolutionary Star Trek’s (TOS) diversity was in 1966. If they’re going to promote the show because she’s in it, that’s fine. But they have to make her a good, strong character, too. It’s ironic there’s this controversy about fictional people in a time where none of this matters.

Indeed, what was revolutionary at the time appeared to be rather stealthy. As it is said, the nails that stick out get hammered. I think the Great Bird had two faces – one to the network and another to his team.

They could have hired a white male to play Burnham. They hired a black female. So what?

I disagree. Star Trek wasn’t about ‘diversity;’ it was about inclusiveness. It built on that whole Martin Luther King thing about all breathing the same air.

‘Diversity’ emphasises differences and seeks to create division and victims and aggressors. In the first Star Trek everyone, be they white, black, Asian or green-blooded aliens born under the light of some other sun, stood together because they were individuals, not categorised by age, race, gender or species. The more ‘diversity’ is pushed with the new show, the more I feel it distances itself from the hopeful message of the 1960s show.

I just want strong individual characters I care about getting into interesting adventures, no more no less.

Diversity seeks to create division? You need to learn what these word means before you are allowed to comment here.

If you want to claim Fuller was seeking to create division with diversity that’s a debatable point (one I’d vigorously disagree with), but diversity as a concept does not.

@Dom — you’re conflating the fictitious 23rd Century with the current state of affairs. It is incontrovertible that Roddenberry fought the Network and Studio to have minority characters represented on screen, and women characters in roles of authority. This was a struggle precisely because the current worldview is not all-inclusive. In order for Trek to represent this inclusive vision of the 23rd Century, it’s necessary to continue the battle to include a diverse cast of characters today. The greater concern to me is that you don’t seem to see that Roddenberry’s struggle sadly continues 50 years later.

The more different the backgrounds of the characters in a show, the more likely the characters will actually be strongly individual those characters will be. They will bring unique points of view to the table, sometimes literally a conference room table, and it will create the dramatic tension of unique points of view clashing in philosophy, but united in goals. The less diverse the cast of characters are, the more likely that drama is deflated, and is simply a regurgitation of the same cliches. That’s why diversity, which is inseparable from the type of individuality you reference, is frankly important on both sides of the camera on a show like this.

Hear, Hear!

Please comment more, Mr. Cheung; your understanding of these issues is much more nuanced than most people’s.

Hi Eric. I broadly agree. But a character shouldn’t be defined by their race. Their race might have influenced aspects of who they are, but who they ultimately become is their own decision. The diversity agenda specifically rejects that in favour of a victim and oppressor view.

Your take of the “diversity agenda,” for sure.

You are mentally ill.

‘Clashing in philosophy, united in goals.’ I’m going to be stealing that.

How do you demonstrate ‘inclusiveness’ without showing it? If Martin-Green’s character ever makes an issue onscreen of her ethnic background, you would have a point. Otherwise, you’re just impugning the motives of people you don’t even know producing a show you haven’t seen, as an exercise in ideological and semantic hair-splitting.

Sorry you consider Mr Roddenberry a failure. I consider him to be one of the most successfully influential media people of the 20th century. He succeeded on a breathtaking level. The only thing holding people back now is their own weakness and the grievance industry.

Where did I ever say that Gene Roddenberry was a ‘failure’? Sheesh, now you’re just making stuff up.

How about just answering my question: how do you show how awesome ‘inclusiveness’ is–as opposed to the dreaded (i)DIVERSITY(ic), without being, well, inclusive?

If you revere him so much you should be singing a very different tune. Clearly you have zero respect for the man and all he believed in and fought for on Star Trek.

Well said. Being “color blind” is some social justice types detest because if they aren’t getting people to focus on what divides us then they aren’t getting money and attention. Social justice warriors would despise living in the world of the Federation where everything is based on merit and talent and not diversity quotas.

I’d be delighted to live in a society where people were judged solely by the content of their character. (Of course, it’s historical fact that MLK nevertheless was in favor of quotas, as at least a temporary measure, to compensate for centuries of slavery, lynchings, voter suppression, discrimination in housing, schooling, employment etc. etc. etc. You can look it up.) This in spite of the fact that my political leanings would almost certainly qualify me, at least by your standards as a “social justice warrior.” That’s perfectly okay, though. By my standards, you’re a moron.

Yes and those quotas and affirmative action etc, are important in helping to their feet those groups who had their throats stepped on for so many years.

You see a lot of white racists complain about this. “Why cant {insert group] stand on their own two feet and get ahead?” But after holding them down for so long, you think it’s an equal competition for happiness and success when it isnt.

Im pretty sure that the white males out there dont have to worry too much about jobs and opportunity because of the “quotas”.

Actually, being “color blind” is just another way of saying “I choose to ignore racism because I’m racist, even though I don’t want to be called that.” Ignoring racism is racism. Look around, redshirt. We live in a racist world. If you’re too “color blind” to see it, you haven’t even tried looking. That’s what Trek is all about — it’s about facing that unknown truth, what’s only temporarily hidden from view.

Who says that people who believe in equity want diversity quotas? Conservatives live in a total different world from the rest of us I swear.

+1

Disgusting remarks, Redshirt. And easily said by a while male. You perceive minority groups as having a leg up when the reality is nothing could be further from the truth. Study some history. Look at those minority groups and where they were in US history or Canadian history for that matter.

If you can spend years stepping on the throats of certain groups based on race or religion, then you can spend a few years reaching out and helping them back up. Not so they are beyond you, but so they are standing beside you.

Once upon a time it was understood that Star Trek fans were progressive thinkers that realized Star Trek is all about inclusion. It’s too bad we have a few bad eggs in the mix now as Gene Roddenberry would have been turning over in his grave. Now I realize that Roddenberry liked women ( as a guy I unashamedly second the motion ) and there were some shall we say less than inclusive comments in the dialog of the show pertaining to women but for the most part he believed in promoting women as a very capable other half of humanity like they should be. It was the 60’s after all and I might remind you that his ” Let’s get the hell out of here ” comment in ” City on the Edge of Forever ” was a big deal the next day. That was the times we were in. But all in all Star Trek has always pushed inclusivity and progressive thought in it’s narrative.

Your parenthetical concerns me because it sounds like you know full well how sexist Gene could be yet you’re supporting his actions anyway

This social justice nonsense isn’t Star Trek and never was. Star Trek would never have people feel bad about the body or skin they were born with as social justice always does. Star Trek’s approach of being “color blind” and treating people according to their rank and abilities first before their skin color is frequently SMASHED by social justice zealots who demand special treatment for people they deem not in the majority.

What’s even more stupid about this controversy you’re pulling out of thin air is that it makes zero sense. Why would unnamed, faceless people care about minorities being in Star Trek now after so many years and so many shows featuring all of the things the Discovery cast and crew like to pretend they were the first to do? This is all one big excuse to hide the show from legitimate criticism about its flaws.

The article was about fans reacting negatively to the racial/gender diversity of DSC’s cast. That actually happened, like it or not, just as it happened with THE FORCE AWAKENS and ROGUE ONE. So who brought the subject of inclusiveness up, and which DSC producer or cast member claimed they were the “first” to do it? Not us SJW types, methinks.

Again you’re implying that the “legitimate criticism about its flaws” is people complaining about diversity, when, again, there’s a word for that — and it’s called “racism.”

@redshirt wrote “This social justice nonsense isn’t Star Trek and never was. Star Trek would never have people feel bad about the body or skin they were born with as social justice always does. Star Trek’s approach of being “color blind” and treating people according to their rank and abilities first before their skin color is frequently SMASHED by social justice zealots who demand special treatment for people they deem not in the majority.”

What are you even talking about? What does “feeling bad about the skin you were born into” have to do with social justice? Just treat other people with respect and listen when people tell you that they face different challenges than you because of their race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Can you cite examples of people demanding praise just for being a minority group?

You are partially right.

Star Trek was never about making people feeling bad about their body or skin.

Star Trek was always about making people feel GREAT about their body or skin. Star Trek has never been about being “color blind.”

I’m Asian, and for a while it was quite depressing to find any Asian actors that wasn’t portrayed as a ninja or a complete nerd. Sulu was the only few characters on TV that showed that Asians could be more than just those above (and if they fought, it could be with a saber instead of nun-chuks :) )

So yes, as a person of color I LOVE Star Trek not just for the sci fi and the warp nacelles but SPECIFICALLY because for its inclusivity for other people of color.

I would also point out MLK’s love for Star Trek specifically because there was a black woman working as part of the crew of the Enterprise.

Star Trek has always served as a strong commentary to society, and by extension has a strong component of social justice built within it. It is the key difference from other sci fi franchises, say Star Wars. To deny it is quite illogical.

To all of those who complain about political correctness, I think the best thing to remember here is just that we haven’t seen anything yet. We have a production side view of things. DS9 pulled off diversity extraordinarily well for the time by showing us these people as people and not as a type. That’s the point here, to move beyond squabbles over race, gender, sexuality, etc. and just get to the point where those are aspects of the people’s lives and are not in fact the defining characteristic of that individual.

And so far, we have no footage to go off of that says they’re anything but people. We haven’t seen anything like that acknowledged outside of a few production related statements (that were likely needed based on some of the comments they received).

Really, we have to wait and see how they handle it. Hopefully it’ll be done with a deft touch!

Asking for a few more white humans on the Discovery show I do not think is racism.

Is your goal to have a number of white people on the show in key roles roughly equal to the current US population? Do you frequently note when shows have TOO MANY white people and is that also a source of concern?

Caring about it is.

Pretty sure it is.

Its sad when people dont even know they’re racists.

I might be willing to entertain the notion that it’s not racism, provided you can explain to me why that would be important to you otherwise.

The comments on the EW site are absolutely horrifying. It’s a shame that our national dialogue has regressed so far that bigoted, hateful and ignorant comments like those ones can dominate a discussion, and the speakers aren’t ashamed of their reactionary views.

If anything, my issue is with Star Trek still being very US-centric, for a series that’s supposed to show us the future of humanity. Part of this bias is that on the diversity axis it often contents itself with having an African-American or an Asian-American character. I think it should really be taking things further and attempting an adequate representation of the world’s population. And for the purpose of empowerment, which I think is also an important role of Star Trek, I’d aim for showing female characters originating from cultures where in our times women struggle the most. I highly recommend watching the movie “Girl Rising” for context.

I agree, which is why I’m glad they hired Michelle Yeoh, an actual Chinese person portraying a Starfleet Captain as opposed to a Chinese-American. I think it lends more credibility to the idea that Starfleet is comprised of people representing all of humanity, not just the West. Plus, it makes the show that much richer. More of this, please.

“embracing diversity in a big way”

Please don’t exaggerate! The cast is again skewing extremely male. They have announced 18 actors so far and only 6 are women. So double as many male characters than female characters! Such a sexist cast doesn’t deserve the label of being diverse at all.

I’m certainly no liberal, but I don’t see the problem with the casting at all. The pandering I have an issue with has nothing to do with the color of the lead’s skin or her gender. I have no issues with her or her character (except the bizarre first name choice).

Let me guess, the pandering you have a problem with is the “gay” character…

I’m not a racist but keep the gays away…uh huh

You don’t deserve a cookie for that. That’s basic human logic. Especially that no one has seen the show yet.

As for the name, context has been hinted at being forthcoming after we see the show.

When I see people debating whether too much of people like myself is “pandering” “forced” or not natural. I see people repulsed by my existence and barely tolerating seeing people with brown skin in media.

I see people who only see white people as human.

I’ve watched, enjoyed, and been a fan of mostly white media for most of my life. I’m not the one used to being pandered to.

“Well, I would encourage them to key into the essence and spirit of Star Trek that has made it the legacy it is — and that’s looking across the way to the person sitting in front of you and realizing you are the same, that they are not separate from you, and we are all one,” Martin-Green said. “That’s something Star Trek has always upheld and I completely believe that is why it’s been a mainstay in society in the hearts of so many people for so many decades. I would encourage them to look past their opinions and social conditioning and key into what we’re doing here — which is telling a story about humanity that will hopefully bring us all together..

And it’s hard to understand and appreciate Star Trek if you don’t understand and appreciate that,” Martin-Green continued. “It’s one of the foundational principles of Star Trek and I feel if you miss that then you miss the legacy itself. I’m incredibly proud to be the lead of this show and be at the forefront of an iteration of Star Trek that’s from the eyes of a black woman that’s never been done before, though obviously there’s been other forms of diversity that have been innovated by Trek. I feel like we’re taking another step forward, which I think all stories should do. We should go boldly where nobody has gone before and stay true to that.” -Sonequa Martin-Green

Honestly, a good chunk of y’all don’t deserve her.

“Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms. […] If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.”

— Gene Roddenberry

She really couldn’t reply better than that. The fact she even has to reply to this is ridiculous but unfortunately this is the way it is. I wish I could say I was surprised that the trek fandom has people like that, but I’m not. anyway, I’m loving the hypocrisy of the people who preach ‘holier than you’ and ‘trek spirit’ to discovery’s racist and sexist haters NOW, when they are no better and actually had similar knee jerk reactions for other ‘treks’ themselves, often for much less (e.g., the hate the reboot gets for some ‘changes’, and the racist and mysoginistic stuff that is constantly said about Saldana for ‘replacing McCoy’). When trek fans accuse a new trek iteration of ‘political correctness’ it just means they are angry the white dudes status quo is challenged a bit because it’s their default; to them, trek isn’t ‘real trek’ if white men (plural) aren’t front and center. The difference with other fandoms is that they try to hide it behind ‘nostalgia’ because, clearly, in 2017 we must still make trek using the same conservative, limited, standards of the 60s and since we weren’t allowed to explore different stuff back then, it must mean we aren’t allowed to do it now. And stop pretending they aren’t trek fans too because they are and this is the problem, but also something we gotta accept because liking trek doesn’t make you a better, more open minded, progressive person than fans of other things (or… Read more »

Jemini,

With all due respect, are you really saying that because I don’t like the ‘Kelvin’ reboots I must be a racist. Because that’s just nuts.

If someone reads my comment and takes it as me saying that ‘everyone who doesn’t like the kelvin reboot is a racist’, they either have guilty conscience or serious reading comprehension issues. Btw, my comment wasn’t directed at a person called ‘Michael Hall’ and, in fact, it was rather generic so I dunno why you felt it was specifically directed at you.
I guess I hit a sore nerve, and if you felt so attacked and in need to make a silly straw man argument to derail the point, while others here who also dislike the reboot didn’t feel personally attacked, maybe you should ask yourself why.

tl dr: you said it, not me.

do you express your dislike for the reboot by making racist and mysoginistic comments about Zoe Saldana, and/or conservative comments about how trek isn’t real trek if it doesn’t exclusively focus on white male characters only? Do you see the importance of the cis white male characters being threatened by a female lead character getting screentime too, to the point you need her to get sidelined in order to give more screentime to the secondary male characters and restore the status quo as it was in the 60s?
– If the answer is no to all of this, your knee jerk reaction and straw man argument is utter nonsense.
If the answer is yes to even just one of those points from above, then it’s guilty conscience and yes, you are one of those problematic fans that make me feel ashamed to be a trek fan, and who have NO ROOM pretending they are better than the racist and mysoginistic people who criticize Discovery now.
If I wanted to make names, I wouldn’t make yours because I don’t know you. But there are people in this site who preach about ‘trek spirit’ when it comes to Discovery’s haters, but they are just blatant hypocrites who really are no better than the fans they are ‘calling out’ now (some are even worse actually because they disguise their intollerance and bias behind concern trolling)

This is a non-story

Glad to see Trekmovie has the guts to call this what it is: racism. Too bad other online Trek forums are providing a home for this trash. I’m looking at you, Trek Prop Zone.

All Lives Matter! :)

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