Star Trek Fans Decry Discovery's Diversity, Revealing They Know Nothing About Star Trek

When original Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Bryan Fuller and executive producer Heather Kadin were developing the series, they were both adamant about making sure that the show stayed true to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's vision of social progressiveness and inclusion. But for a vocal contingent of racist "fans", Discovery's emphasis on diversity is tantamount to "white genocide".

There's nothing particularly new about fandoms hating any sort of deviation from classic franchises, which were historically dominated by white, cisgender heterosexual men. Racist fans take it a step further, by claiming any attempt to rectify unequal representation attacks white men like themselves — for example, the recent Ghostbusters reboot, Star Wars, basically everything.

What sets this breed of intolerant Trekkies apart from other types of internet loudmouths, though, is how deeply incorrect their understandings of their beloved franchise's core concepts are. Star Trek is quite literally about an organisation of interstellar explorers who could not do what they do, were it not for the fact that their society is based on interplanetary cooperation and acceptance of one another.

From the very beginning, Star Trek has tried to champion onscreen diversity in ways that other shows like it haven't. The original series that ran from 1966-1969 was noted for its inclusion of a black woman and a Japanese man, both of whom played substantial roles that didn't play up to racial stereotypes of the time.

Later series like The Next Generation and Deep Space 9 carried on in this tradition by featuring black and female ship captains leading ethnically diverse crews. On the whole, Star Trek hasn't always succeeded as much as it could have with regards to representation, but over the decades the series has steadily improved.

When Discovery was first announced, Fuller promised the show would feature a diverse crew composed of people with different ethnic backgrounds, sexualities and genders, all reflective of the myriad cultures that contribute to Starfleet. The show seems to be fulfilling that promise: Of the seven main leads, four of them are men and women of colour. It's also great that the show's first trailer features First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) so prominently.

For many longtime fans of the Star Trek, Burnham and Georgiou's introduction was the fulfilment of Roddenberry's promise that the franchise would literally and narratively boldly go where other television shows had never gone before.

But even beyond mere casting, Star Trek was focused on fostering tolerance and understanding. When you look back at original Star Trek episodes about the crew's encounters with hostile aliens from another planet, the day was almost invariably saved by Kirk and company figuring out how to see things from their enemy's perspective, and ultimately trying to work with them instead of against them. Where fists and phasers failed to solve a problem, understanding and diplomacy prevailed.

Star Trek has always argued that being able to see past one's differences from another is the single greatest ability that a person can have — one that could lead to the creation of a truly fantastic society. Star Trek hasn't always lived up to that message itself (see: Preponderance of white guy captains in the franchise's history), but Discovery is attempting to make sure that it does.

There will always be those people who tell you that they miss the good old days when women, people of colour and queer people simply weren't a part of sci-fi fandoms. Those good old days are a myth. We've always been here. The only thing that's changed is that shows like Star Trek: Discovery aren't trying to ignore that truth any more.

And those people who hate Discovery for its inclusivity are too small-minded to realise what they hate is what Star Trek stands for. One of the main reasons the franchise has been so beloved and so successful is because it's ignored these sorts of cries for intolerance all these years.


Comments

    As much as I want to be on your side, both sides use so much shitty pigeonholing terminology. "Cis-gendered heterosexual" like, jesus christ it's just a guy. I'm not speaking for either side because I want more diversity and unfortunately the earlier standard bearers are always going to be tarred but that's what happens when you want to branch out into (unfortunately) unfavourable. However for the most part I'm willing to bet the majority of people don't give half of a shit and this is just selecting a few remarks from a vocal minority that we should be ignoring instead of glorifying with an article/attention.

      It's a pretty standard descriptor. Not sure why you are so wound up about the choice of words. The point of the article is still the same.
      My only issue is giving these jerk-offs any press. They should be shunned and ignored so they go back to wherever they emerged from. Losers.

        Its pretty standard in your world, but where I live I have never heard it used face to face. It is that thing people say in cringe videos or on their tumblr (I kid about that last part).

        But seriously, I know plenty of lefties in the NT, have never heard one of them say that term with a straight face.

          Man, I'm a lefty. I've seen it only used in articles that look like they were written so their gender studies lecturer would approve. Never outside of that. I had to look it up when I saw it used not that long ago, and I'd have to look it up again now to tell you the exact meaning because I see it used so seldom.

          As for Star Trek ... Star Trek has alwaaaays championed diversity. First mixed race kiss on tv! A russian on the crew during an era of cold war paranoia. Next Generation even had Riker boldly sleazing where no man has sleazed before by falling in love with an androgyne. Always light years ahead. Always espousing secular humanist values. That's why I love it. Occasionally it's pontificating, but the air waves aren't exactly full of tv shows that are both interesting and so righteous.

          To quote Quark:

          Quark: I want you to try something for me. Take a sip of this.
          Garak: What is it?
          Quark: A human drink. It's called root beer.
          Garak: I don't know.
          { Garak scowls/snears }
          Quark: Come on. Aren't you just a little bit curious?
          { Garak sighs, and cautiously drinks... }
          Quark: What do you think?
          Garak: It's vile.
          Quark: I know. It's so bubbly and cloying and happy.
          { Garak smiles slowly as Quark speaks }
          Garak: Just like the Federation.
          Quark: But you know what's really frightening?
          If you drink enough of it, you begin to like it.
          Garak: It's insidious.
          Quark: Just like the Federation.

            I hate to be that guy, but there is actually no such thing as a lefty or a righty.
            They are a blanket term for for over eighty seperate groups across the political spectrum.

            The only reason that there is such a focus on Left vs Right rhetoric is to stagnate any real political and economic reform.

            Any left leaning individual is instantly absorbed in to a greater body that has become known by its negative aspects.
            Same with conservatives who are being lumped in with racists and other whackjobs.

            What we need to is figure out if these extremes speak for the greater populations or if they mearly yell louder than everyone else.

              No kidding, but it's easier to write "I'm a lefty" than write, "I'm economically socialist, socially libertarian, and support green environmental alternatives, support gay rights and believe multiculturalism is in the long term a good idea and, sure, also euthanasia" pleased to meet ya.

                hah... so in your world no people on the right support green stuff or gay rights or multiculturalism? thats why the world is doomed currently. this ridiculous pigeon-holing. People who use terms like Right or Left etc really arent worth listening too on either side, they are moronic fake terms used by people for shorthand. I cant speak for you but I am pretty sure even in your beliefs you arent trapped in a little close-minded box of either Left or Right. I know I'm not. that's why I refuse to use them, because they no better or as correct as stereotypes, they are used by lazy people who want to believe life is easy and peoople who dont agree with them are wrong

                  I don't disagree with you,. I just said it was shorthand.

                  Real people do say, "The Guardian is a predominantly left wing rag" and know what the hell they're talking about. Or, "Andrew Bolt is a right wing columnist" and that means something. Of course people don't fall into one of two camps on all issues, but whether you like it or not, we live in a society that uses those terms and often have historically fallen into these groups because they're arguments about where government money should or shouldn't be spent.

                  As I was responding to someone actually using the word" lefty" I was saying I support traditionally left wing positions on most issues. It's how language is supposed to work, as descriptive, not proscriptive. I understood myself, and the person I responded to understood himself and understood me. It doesn't really have to be more complicated than that.

                  As far as being why the world is doomed, no, it's not because of intellectual rigueur over the use of a word. It's a symptom, not a cause.

                  Last edited 26/05/17 9:17 am

                  This is fundamentally true, and people need to understand that if you call yourself a liberal/conservative/leftist/rightist/major-political-party as a means of defining yourself, you're effectively calling yourself an idiot who follows the crowd.

                  Socrates 101, when push comes to shove, every single one of these people's beliefs can be shown to be founded on nothing more than "because someone else told me that was right."

                  http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160627-i-am-gay-but-i-wasnt-born-this-way
                  Or summarized: "I'm gay, I support LGBT rights, I don't support the LGBT Agenda"

                  Standing up and saying that, publishing it even... it takes an enormous amount of courage. People can appeal to authority and appeal to novelty all they want, but the fact is the people who try making statements like this, who TRY being DIVERSE, end up with enormous amounts of backlash and even claims like "you're not gay, you're a homophobic bigot".

                  So yes, by labeling yourself and letting you be defined by meaningless labels, you're effectively showing just how little you actually know. The world is not black and white, but it isn't gray either... it's a myriad of colours and people... NONE of which are so utterly similar that they can be summarized up with a few choice words.

                "I'm economically socialist, socially libertarian, and support green environmental alternatives, support gay rights and believe multiculturalism is in the long term a good idea and, sure, also euthanasia"

                doktor_molotov;
                Can we be friends?

        I would argue that it is not a "standard descriptor" going back 10 years, you never would have heard it said in anything other than the LGBT, etc, etc community and even then, only between themselves. Heck, I did Sex and Gender at uni 6 years ago (biggest waste of time to be quite honest) and even then, not once did that term come up in anything we did.

        It's only becoming a thing now because some people in the transgender community don't want to be labelled as such, so now we must differentiate between male/female identifiers, and those who are male/female, instead of those who are male/female and those who identify as such.

        Cis is just another one of those silly SJW things that no normal, reasonable, logical person would consider uesing, as it is used by SJWs in such a derogatory way. 'Your just a Cis male, you don't know anything'. Its the equivalent of me saying a black person is lower class, even if they are doing better than me. Its just a REALLY dumb thing to say.

          I concur, "CIS" has so much negativity associated to it thanks to the tumblr/sjw crowd that it automatically sets a lot of people on the defensive as soon as it's used regardless of the intent. I have trouble believing that a journalist is ignorant of how language can impact, and so can only assume that it's use was calculated to provoke a reaction (or have a stab...)

        tldr;
        Progress comes by being so invisible that no one even notices that you're different.

        I want to make something known here:

        If I say a person robbed the store, what is the important information I told you? That someone robbed the store.

        Now let's make this racist.

        A BLACK person robbed the store. Am I filing a police report? What is the purpose of that additional descriptor?

        Let's make it sexist.

        A BLACK MAN robbed the store.

        Let's make it prejudice against homosexuals

        A BLACK HOMOSEXUAL MAN robbed the store.

        Let's make it prejudice against transgenders

        A BLACK HOMOSEXUAL TRANSMAN robbed the store.

        Let's make it ageist (because why not)

        A BLACK HOMOSEXUAL TRANSMAN of 14 years of age... robbed the store.

        Star Trek's universe wouldn't even be bothering with descriptors like these. There are no "men" or "women", no "blacks" or "whites", no "cis" or "trans"... there's only PEOPLE.

        But we have a divisionist culture that promotes intentionally looking at pointless features such as race, ethnicity, culture... and then using THAT to cast roles. Instead of making these differences disappear, we're making them bigger and more important than ever before. You MUST have X number of minorities or else you will be looked down upon, and we've come up with the percentages you need at least.

        That is the opposite of Gene's world, and it's obvious that the writer of this article doesn't understand progress in the slightest. Progress does not come by passing laws, vocally protesting, or otherwise making yourself visible for all to see. Progress comes by being so invisible that no one even notices that you're different.

          So, when someone really robs a bank, try to find him or her (may I use these pronouns?) using the description "Ther's a robbery in progress, a people did it.".

      My shit simmers when people differentiate between the external iliac, common femoral, superficial femoral, and popliteal arteries instead of just calling them leg arteries; it only gets tepid when people distinguish arteries from veins - they're all just blood vessels.

        Except those terms are used by clinicians in the clinical setting - technical language for a technical audience.

        They're not used in common speech, unlike people trying to force 'cisgender heterosexual' through general audience targeted articles when 'straight white male' does just fine. "Cisgender heterosexual" isn't special nor is it uncommon.

          You got really close to not missing the point, almost made it yourself. Have another crack.

    When I see articles like this I just laugh. The trailer was created in order to stir up this kind of outrage so news sites will pick it up and run articles like this creating more "buzz" and "hype" for the movie, as well as a ton of free publicity.

    While diversity in movies, video games, creation of entertainment mediums, etc are all well and good, and more so welcome and encouraged in their space; things like this are nothing more than the new age of marketing stunts. Ghostbusters did this to cover up a bad movie, Beauty and the Beast did it to help push ticket sales on an average movie, and now this is doing it so people will see the third probably average Star Trek movie reboot in this decade.

      The trailer was created in order to stir up this kind of outrage Marketing execs sat flustered for literally minutes deciding whether they really needed to create an advertisement for an upcoming product and if it was absolutely necessary to showcase the main characters.

      They boldly went with "sure, I guess we'll just do the industry standard".

      sorry to break your cynical heart but you see here in the modern times, a mixed race cast, a mixed sexual orientation cast is the norm. To most of us we dont even notice it. Its the social norm now. While yes Disney did to get some free media, the thing itself was present in the cartoon all those years ago, the stage show had it as well. it wasnt created for the movie. Likewise Ghostbuster didnt use it cover up a bad movie, online trolls and gamer gaters had their absolutely laughable and predictable reaction and Ghostbusters predicted (its really not hard to outwit them) capitalised on it, and hilarious results let those losers advertise their film for them.

      as for this trailer using the cast to cause a stir is frankly laughable. Trailers are used to advertising the story, visuals and the cast. That's all they did here. Trolls once again did their advertising for them. Because they are fools like that. See to most adults or mature people wouldnt even had noticed the races of the people in the trailer, they just saw people. I know I didnt. Especially in a Star Trek thing.

        So this show is as good as Ghostbusters 2016?

    I'm of the opinion: Why are we this dumpster fire any amount of oxygen?

    They say this crap to get attention knowing journalists like Charles will post something. It fuels them.

    Do the opposite, focus on the diversity without drawing attention to the detractors.

      Because everyone has a narrative to push.

      It has been a while since we have seen such a garbage article aiming to broad brush people, a quick look on twitter shows that it is actually not that many people complaining at all.

        Did the author screw up when they said "a vocal contingent of racist 'fans'" when they clearly meant to say "everyone on Twitter"?

          Because its so insignificant I am sure everyone could have gone on with their lives and never needed to even know about some dick heads whose opinion isn't really taken into account for anything anyway?

          I don't get why people say to ignore terrorism because not taking it in your stride means they win, but at the same time give a relatively small group (from the perspective of all twitter users) more attention than they are worth. I don't understand it at all, I am not even taking the piss, I am genuinely confused why the priorities of people seem to be so... odd; at least to me.

          That doesn't mean I am anti muslim as a general rule, just super confused why people mourn for a couple of days and then act like shit never happened until the next tragedy, but dick-hole "egg" mcgee on twitter deserves our undivided attention because he used his 140 characters to be mean to someone he will likely never meet.

          Last edited 26/05/17 12:11 am

            Conversely, for people who are perturbed by this kind of behaviour an article showing support and solidarity can go a long way. Still doesn't address the issue of why you think this article doesn't have a targeted subject and audience.

            That non-sequitur by way of demonstrating your claim that everyone has a narrative to push veered into odd territory but maybe, just maybe, an entertainment enthusiast website isn't the best source for constant updates and commemorations on whatever subject you think is more important or deserving of your time.

              I am following you fine for the first part, but am super confused by "Still doesn't address the issue of why you think this article doesn't have a targeted subject and audience.". I didn't say that there was not a demographic for this kind of article, just that these kinds of articles have a narrative to push and make us feel like schmucks for giving said article way more clicks than it deserves, as we back and go back and forth in the comments section.

              I have stated before that I normally come here for Mark and Alex; I find their articles normally the least divisive and actually news worthy.

              These trolls soak this kind of article up; it is their own self validation.

                I can see why you're confused, it's evident throughout this entire chain. Even the premise was off-kilter.

                If you come here for articles you appreciate and you identify other articles as garbage, then why do you comment so frequently on the latter?

                  *cough*"and make us feel like schmucks for giving said article way more clicks than it deserves"

                  I am but a simple man that is baited way too easily.

      It's as @vaegrand says, everyone is pushing their own narrative.

      It's filling me with hope that people seem to be slowly rejecting the insane political proxy war where you have to belong to one of two ridiculous and nonexistent entities.

    the same laughable situation as people complaining that Doctor Who is a leftist, SJW plot blah blah. The very point of the show, like Star Trek was doing diversity and inclusion long before the morons who invented or use the moronic term SJW were even born. The Doctor has always accepted everyone, and everyone is worth saving. It is the very point of the shows.

    It's like some people have never seen Star Trek.

    frankly if any of the star trek shows were broadcast for the first time now you would get similar complaints from them about diversity

    I couldn't be happier to see two women running the ship but damn call me a racist but the look of those Klingons just irritates me: why are they ditching the Michael Westmore era designs for these abominations?

      i did raise an eyebrow when i saw the new designs for klingons.. showing my inner nerd but a;lot about the show seems off in regards to timeline and lore

    This title is doing my head in.
    'Star Trek Fans Decry Discovery's Diversity, Revealing They Know Nothing About Star Trek'
    If they know nothing about it, could they really be called fans?

      I thought it meant that the fan's outrage is shining a light on the fact that the show's producers know nothing about Star Trek.

    There are dozens of these people, DOZENS!

    As a Trek fan I'm more worried about the level of Abrams going on in this trailer.

    Uhara was the first black woman in space, way before that idea was socially acceptable, which helped a lot with some of the social issues at the time.

    I am only poorly parroting something I read a long time ago, but I think its neat. Good on original Star Trek.

      interesting tidbit of info.. she was thinking about leaving the show but martin luther king asked her to stay

    Not sure why everyone is so upset with the trailer - the visuals don't look that bad, there are a few nice references to past shows (We have engaged the Borg/Klingons). And the acting looks competent. This isn't like Ghostbusters where you know the movie was going to be crap from the trailer (which was then used as a horrifying excuse to go all racist and sexist).

    On Star Trek; Deep Space 9 was the most diverse so far.

    Black commander/captain, his son, alien first officer, arab doctor, changeling security officer, alien science officer and a host of Cardassians, Klingons and Ferengi. The only white human was O'Brien and he was married to a Japanese woman.

    The complaint that all the "white" actors are playing aliens was no more true with DS9 than it was with Discovery and no one whinged then. In fact it was expected back in the 1990s and not a point of horror.

    Similarly no one was horrified when Captain Janeway captained Voyager (and plenty of qualified female candidates had queued up for the part). Getting an actress like Michelle Yeoh on board is the sign of a healthy franchise - yet people hate on her in ways they didn't before. Shows how backwards we have gone in tolerance as a whole since 9-11 I guess.

    Its like how in the 90s Aladin had the sultan yelling "Praise Allah" about everything. People back then didnt bat an eye but now the pendulum has swung so hard back to being not "politically correct" that would never fly.

    I still see no Latino, Muslim, or openly homosexual cast members. We need to see homosexual muslims, blacks and latinos so that diversity can truly be seen.

    The sadder reality, in my mind, is how many of my fellow "lefties" feel the need to blatantly bash those less, insightful, with comments that they're ignorant or cannot accept others - can't you please look in the mirror and accept that we are committing the same acts we condemn them of committing. Learn to accept other opinions and embrace their validity, or you are doomed to the ignorance you condemn.

    Otherwise, sad to see "Sasha" on another show, but good for her!

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