Thursday, June 1, 2017

George Takei schools racist trolls vs. the new Star Trek TV series

Critics didn't like having women of color in command of a starship in the new TV series Star Trek: Discovery. Above, we have a new alien share the bridge with the starship's First Officer and Captain.

IT APPEARS that Trumpsters have invaded the Star Trek universe. It just goes to show that racism can take many forms and can pop up in every segment of society.

People who are uneasy about the growing diversity of the U.S. are also apoplectic that  Gene Roddenberry's famous franchise's return to television this fall will feature minorities in prominent roles as ranking officers in the Star Trek Discovery series.

The trolls were busy on the internet last weekend, calling the latest casting of women in color on the TV series as "white genocide in space."

These are the same people who unsuccessfully tried to launch a boycott of the movie, Star Wars: Rogue One, because no white males were playing the lead roles. The crew of Rogue One was a woman, a Latino and three Asians.

If they were truly fans of Star Trek, they would know that the cult classic has always been about diversity.

That's what George Takei said in response to trolls who didn't like the casting of Michelle Yeoh as a Starship captain and African/American Shonequa Martin-Green, as the First Officer.

“Well you know — today, in this society, we have alien life-forms that we call trolls,” Takei said to MSNBC host Joy Reid.

“And these trolls carry on without knowing what they’re talking about and knowing even less about the history of what they’re talking about. And some of these trolls go on to be presidents of nations.” said Takei, who played helmsman Hiraku Sulu in the original Starship Enterprise crew. Not only was Sulu Asian, but he was also gay!

As you might figure out, Takei, who is gay in real life, is not a fan of the current president and the bigots who believe that Donald Trump's election victory has given them free reign to be ... well, racist. If you have any doubt, Takei concluded his interview with this, "I think that Donald Trump is as foolish, as uninformed and as ignorant as these trolls are."

George Takei and Joy Reid sign off after their interview with the Vulcan signal of "Live long and prosper."

Takei went on to explain creator Gene Roddenberry's approach to the sci-fi story:
"We had a guiding acronym – IDIC – which stood for 'infinite diversity in infinite combinations.' And we boldly went where we hadn’t gone before because we were curious about what is out there. And when you go out into space you are going to have even greater diversity. Now these so-called trolls haven’t seen a single episode of the new series, because it hasn’t even aired…and they don’t know the history of Star Trek … Gene Roddenberry created this with the idea of finding strength in our diversity. And the delight of life in diversity. So they don’t know what they are talking about."
Roddenberry used Star Trek to address issues of the day, and diversity and racism is a theme that he repeatedly addressed.

One of the most famous episodes of the original Star Trek was "Let That Be Your Last Battlefied," featuring comedian Frank Gorshin.

In that episode, the USS Enterprise ends up in the middle of an old conflict when an alien fugitive requests political asylum from an officer who is perusing him. The two aliens from Charon are differentiated due to one being black on the left side and white on the right and the other being the opposite. While members of the enlightened 23rd century crew find this to be inconsequential, the aliens see it as reason enough to (as it turns out in the end) destroy their entire planet.

Nichelle Nichols, the African/American actress who played the communications officer Lt. Uhuru on the USS Enterprise, shared TV's first interracial kiss when she and Captain Kirk got into it. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, she said:
“Gene’s whole vision was that minorities weren’t on set because we were minorities, we were on set because in the future our diverse world would all be working together as equals,” Nichols said. “I understand that everyone needs to see role models that can inspire them and talk to them and represent them, but I believe we need to move to a future that transcends race, gender, or anything else. We’re all people.”
If there is any doubt about the intentions of Star Trek creator, the late Gene Roddenberry, let's let him have the last word: