Why is the Universe full of White people?
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For those of you out there reading this (all 6 of you) who don’t know who I am, I’ll poke my toe out of the closet a bit and reveal that I’m a science fiction and fantasy fan. I love the genre down to the core of my being. I love writing SF, reading SF, and watching SF television. I used to love watching SF television a lot more. now I’m just left wondering why the universe is so fucking full of white people.~Major case in point: Battlestar Galactica. I’m speaking of the new show here, not the old one. If you look at that show for about 10 minutes (any 10 minutes will do) you might notice that there is a major lack of people of color. It’s not a trick, that’s just how the whole show is. I don’t watch this show. I have watched some episodes and I have heard a lot about it, but I missed the mini-series and thus couldn’t get into it at first.
Here’s the story as I understand it: BG takes place in the present, but in a system far, far away where there are 12 colonies/planets of humans who are technologically advanced. They have lots of spaceships. Not just the military, but everyone. They built these robots called Cylons, but the Cylons were allowed to watch movies like Terminator and 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Matrix and got it into their heads that they would be happier if they blew up all the humans. So they blew up the 12 colonies and a bunch of the ships and decimated the human race until there were only like 50,000 of them left or something. All of the humans who were left piled on board this big ship called Galactica and the remaining civilian ships and ran the hell away from the Cylons. Now you’re caught up.
12 colonies or planets filled with humans. So far I have seen exactly 2 black people (one was killed 42 minutes after he showed up on the screen), one Asian person (who isn’t even human, she’s a Cylon in disguise), one Latino person (whose son, for some crazy reason, is played by a white dude), and that’s it. The rest of the people are all white. White people everywhere. This is stupid. If you have billions of humans on 12 planets I refuse to believe that only the white people would survive. Statistics say so. Unless there weren’t many black people on the colonies to begin with.
I think the backstory is that Earth was the home colony that people flew away from millennia ago. Apparently only white people were smart enough to build spaceships to fly away from earth and took along a few darkies so that they could create some ‘exotic’ babies every now and then. Or maybe SciFi channel just sucks ass. I think that might be the case.
What else can you say about a network that allowed the guy who made the Earthsea movie turn all of the people white except for that one guy? On Stargate the black people are all slaves, but the white people might be slaves or they might be rulers or they might be accountants. On Atlantis they gathered together scientists and military folks from countries all over the world, and yet the only person of color from Earth is the one military guy. All of the other black folks come from another galaxy. From backwards, tribal planets no less. Oh, except for that one Asian chick in that one episode.
Don’t get me started on Andromeda.
I’m not the only one who noticed this. A guy named Max wrote a letter to SciFi Channel’s Science Fiction Weekly called Atlantis and Battlestar Dis Diversity saying pretty much what I’ve said here. This, of course, brought privileged white people out of their dark caves to make ignorant-ass statements like:
If Max’s logic is to be followed, then it is apparently impossible for anyone to enjoy, sympathize with or understand any on-screen actors, storylines or characters which are not explicitly of the same gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity as the viewer.
Is this what results from so-called diversity consciousness? Thinking which has become so narrow, and empathy which has become so shrunken, that we’re now more isolated as human beings than ever before?
I am amazed that anyone who consumes fantasy or science fiction can still play the racial bean-counting game. Hell, half the time, fantasy and science-fiction heroes aren’t even human, to say nothing of foolish quibbling over skin color.
from Racial Bean-Counting Is Bogus by Brad R. Torgersen
Brad is clueless on so many levels, I don’t even know where to start. But the language he uses reveals his not-so-hidden prejudices:
When Ripley was battling the horrible aliens, I didn’t have any problem getting behind her, even if she was a woman. When Morpheus went to war with the artificial world of The Matrix, I cheered, even though he was black. Adama, as the leader of the refugee Colonial fleet, is a very sympathetic figure, even if he is Hispanic. Angela Bassett’s character Mace, from the under-rated movie Strange Days, was my favorite in that film, even though she was both female and African-American.
Good to know that even if someone is so unlucky as to be Black, Hispanic, Female, or any combination of those, it’s still okay to cheer for and like them. Even. If.
The current letters page has a thoughtful response to Brad’s little rant (see Race Will Always Be With Us on March 10). My own response is that it’s very easy for those who don’t have to think about race (read: white men) to say that ethnic minorities should stop counting how many ethnic minorities are represented in the media they watch (not to mention how they are represented) and just enjoy the fact that there are some. That’s just ignorant, people. Ignorant.
White, heterosexual men have the luxury of being able to turn to 99% of the channels beamed into their TVs and see themselves portrayed in a manner that makes them comfortable and happy. Most white women, do, too. Minorities of most any stripe do not have that luxury. This is especially true of ethnic minorities. Why do we ‘bean count’? Because we can. That’s not flippancy, that’s a fact. I can look at my TV and count the number of black people I see because there are so few of them and they tend to stand out in the sea of whiteness. I’m getting sick of it, myself. How about the rest of you?
At this point, I refuse to watch any more telelvision where the universe is full of white people. Battlestar Galactica might be a fine show. Well-written, interesting science fiction is hard to come by on TV. Well-written, interesting SF with an accurately representative number of minorities is about as hard to come by as diamonds in horse shit. It’s not acceptable any more. Television is On Notice as of now. If I don’t see more black people and other persons of color on my TV not acting like fools and niggers I will start a fatwa. And no one wants that.