Ron Moore, the ABW, and Race

As I said before, I spent the weekend hanging out with the SFWA crowd and attending the Nebula Awards. Standing in a room full of the most amazing writers on the planet is a heady experience, let me tell you. And it never becomes less fabulous the more I do it.

Jim and Ron

Ron D. Moore (executive producer of Battlestar Galactica – the dude on the left) was the Toastmaster and he gave an excellent speech. I spotted him at the reception beforehand and, after much gathering of courage, went over and introduced myself. Then I said: “I just have one thing to say to you about BSG: More black people in the background. Please.”

Let me break here to mention that lately I’ve become more and more aware that there are two reactions I’m likely to get when bringing up issues of diversity or the lack thereof. The reaction from people who don’t want to think about diversity or are against diversity (but don’t admit it) is generally hostile or dismissive. The reaction from people who are already thinking about diversity and may even be working to correct a lack of diversity is generally thoughtful and constructive. I didn’t know which kind of person Mr. Moore was when I walked up to him. I was prepared for anything but expected, well, not much.

Ron Moore turned out to be an awesome guy.

His response was: “That’s a fair criticism.”

His further response I can only paraphrase, but basically he said that it was true, there weren’t a lot of black folks beyond the main cast. He did say, “It doesn’t help that we shoot in Vancouver,” but owned that this wasn’t a good excuse. He also told me he sometimes notices this as well. We talked a little bit about the lack of background diversity on SF shows but I didn’t keep him long. I ended the conversation by telling him that he’s awesome. Because, he is.

Trolls and fools take note – Ron Moore can own up to the flaws in his creative endeavor. Therefore, so can you.

You may also take note that Ron is both white and male, and yet I like him. I know, shocking.

I’m reconsidering my ban on Battlestar Galactica, but I have a lot of thinking to do. Sure, the lack of brown people in the background was/is an issue, but there’s still that rape thing. So, we’ll see.

But hey, Ron Moore and the ABW talkin’ race without bloodshed! Now we just have to make him take back that bit about BSG not being SF.

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18 comments to Ron Moore, the ABW, and Race

  • wow, i hate to be toothist but yikes.

  • LOL a toothist…

    Is there any aspect of the anatomy we *can’t* be an ‘ist’ about? I’m a mouthist myself. A person can have a great body and beautiful eyes, nose, hair, etc. But if the mouth isn’t right, I can’t deal. This is why I can’t stand Angelina Jolie. She’s a lovely woman, but her lips are completely out of proportion with her face. I can’t do it.

  • Why in the background? I don’t think they’ve got enough in the foreground. There’s Dualla, and… uh, that’s it. Every other black character in the show has been a walk-on.

  • Well, for main cast I tend to count PoC and not just black people. We have Duala and then Boomer and Adama and there’s another, wossname… I dunno, i don’t watch the show. But I feel like PoC are fairly well represented in the main cast if you take them all together. It’s when I notice that these seem to be the ONLY PoC in the universe that I get mad.

  • megganj

    wow, awesome that you said this to him. how often do i wish that i could “have a word” with producers of t.v. shows about this sort of thing! as for BSG, i love the premise and the characters (especially starbuck & the prez), but you are right – it is by no means feminist or race friendly.

  • cylonsheep

    I’m really impressed that RDM acknowledged this! In relative terms Battlestar is actually pretty good for the number of POC it has compared to other sci-fi shows – in fact shows in general. However that’s not good enough as it could be and should be better. Reading about RDM’s response has made me more positive about the future of Battlestar though.

    I remember watching a particular episode of star trek: TNG as a teenager and there was this Indian character – a Lt Singh. I nearly fell out my chair! (Of course he died fairly quickly…) but I was just happy to see that there were other Indians in the future.

  • Thanks, once AGAIN, for bringing an awareness to my world that I neglected to see because of my color. So blown away was I by this, I blogged about it myself!


  • littlem

    “Ron Moore turned out to be an awesome guy.”

    He is also fine. (Maybe it’s the tux.*)

    I want to be an extra on the show.

    I will travel to Vancouver. I have friends there I can stay with for the length of the shoot.


    *Now, ABW who is his friend on the right with whom you decided he should be photographed? The contrast in … um … attire is … um … striking.

  • Yes, Ron is not at all bad to look at. I realized that later, after the nervousness wore off.

    The other guy in the picture is Jim Fruend who hosts “The Hour of the Wolf” on WBAI. Jim was the official interviewer for the Nebula weekend and he’s a super dedicated SF fan. I was actually on my way to say hi to Jim when I noticed Mr. Moore’s nametag. And then I knew I needed to have a pic.

  • Let’s see if Mr. Moore, “Walks the Talk.”

    As for his friend, obviously the teeth haven’t hindered his career. LOL!

  • Delux

    Did you ever see the footage of him being asked about portrayals of Black folks in BSG at Comicon, last year?

  • Sophie J

    I think you should reconsider the ban on BSG but i’m basing my opinion on the 1st series and the first half of the second series.

    Cos in some ways i think BSG is ALL about how those in the cultural majority don’t think to question why they deserve to be so. The whole “We never questioned whether we had the right to survive” and the boomer response “mabye you don’t”. I think it’s a BEAUTIFUL analogy for terrorism and for colonialism and the further you get into the serie the less your allowed to feel sorry for the humans and the more your made to question your opinion of the cylons as the agressors. Yet at the same time you can’t help find yourself rooting for these people sitting out their at the edge and refusing to say die.

    It’s brilliant and conflicting and I wish i had time and an american capable dvd player to watch the second half of the 2nd series.

  • Amy

    While the show lacks diversity- with the exception of Edward James Olmos’ Adama Sr. and maybe Grace Parks’ Boomer/Athena – the writers do not know what to do with any of the PoC (like Dualla and Gaeta) on the show. In short, they are just there to recite techno-babble, serve as the resident pimp, or used as a prop for one of the main characters. I do hope that Moore “walks the talk” but I want real independent characters not tokenism. ***However, given that this is the last season my expectations are very low.

  • Oh, and there’s also Rekha Sharma as Tory… she started out as a minor character but the season finale made it clear that she’s now a major character.

    It’s cool that Moore took your criticisms so well– good on you! I hope he listens.

    BSG is some of the better political sci-fi I’ve seen… last season was such a devastating critique of the Iraq war. I hope you reconsider your ban (mostly for selfish reasons, because I hope you’ll post about it).

  • RonMooresCigar

    what a pack of whiny babies.

    the new battlestar galactica is a phenomenal show with a very rich and ethnically diverse cast.

    please get off your high horses and enjoy the show for what it is and stop bashing it for what YOU think it should be…

  • Juan

    RonMooresCigar–Thank you for not getting off your high horse and whining about what YOU think we should do while not bothering to understand what the person who is smoking you called “a fair criticism.”

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