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Racism in Star Trek


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So I was watching this video:

and at the 1:10 mark, the creator (Steve Shives) addressed and issue that I have always had with Star Trek. There are so many species in Trek and the fact of the matter is that so many of the characters (who aren't human) are defined by their species: Vulcans are rational, Romulans are deceitful, Klingons are barbaric, and Ferengi are ultra-capitalist. The problem that I have with this, is that it reduces many species other humans to being nigh on one dimensional. While it is good that in creating other species, the developers were trying to diversify and make them different from humans, they should have tried to go about it in a different way. Just looking around the world, one can see that the diversity of people that belong to the human species quite clearly defies any single label. Furthermore, any characters who defy the single-word attribute given to a certain species, is considered to be an outlier. While the argument to be made for different species having simple attributes is that they are just different from humans, I challenge you to give humans a single word attribute that follows along the same vain as ones given to the other species listed above. I cannot and that is why I think that Trek is slightly racist (speciesist?)

Comments, question, concerns?

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Well, of course originally, many of the alien species in Trek, especially those used for only one episode, were defined by a certain characteristic because they were created for allegorical purposes, since Trek at its heart is about exploring questions about humanity, and one way to examine particular human traits is to push them to their extremes through these fictional species (so a species focused purely on profit and material wealth and another based purely on duty and honor).

However, of course while this might be all right for a morality play of an episode or two, if we revisit a species frequently, then it does come off one-note and have unintended and unfortunate logical consequences. Still, I would note that later Trek episodes have since reexamined old and familiar species and have shown that diversity does exist within them as well, whether it be the Ferengi boy who decides to join Starfleet, the Vulcan who applies logic to tactics and security while not contradicting his pacifist culture, or the Klingon who gains a sense of duty and honor by fighting in the court of law rather than on the battlefield.

If there's anything to be taken from this for simming purposes, it's to remember that characters need not be defined solely by their species-specific tropes.

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