Discuss Star Trek: Discovery

I post this here because of the smart politcal posters . I have noticed at least 3 shows on network Tv that apears to be doing some politcal propaganda. Salvation - CBS, Timeless, Designated Survivor All 3 of these shows have a "Elon Musk" charcter and in all 3 they are non white. After Robert Downy gets to old to be Tony Stark we can have Cedric the entertainer play him. Comments..............

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Of the shows you list I've only seen Timeless and the first seasons of Designated Survivor where I don't remember a non-white "Elon Musk" character so I can't comment on that.

Simply looking at it from a creative perspective, I think they're doing it to play against type. Rufus in Timeless is a good example. Black dudes on shows like that would typically be the big strong quiet/serious guy we've seen in shows like TNG with Worf or Stargate with Teal'C. And non-white female characters were either totally absent or were usually seen as exotic oversexed "Jezebels" lacking in any true human characteristics.

Having the black/non-white character be "the nerd" is kind of a new development because in the past the "smartest character in the room" was almost never a non-white character. It's kinda like how we started seeing women play more tough action characters starting in the 80s, because before that they were always damsels always needing saving. Having them be fighters was a nice twist.

Personally I don't think it's "propaganda", as a writer myself, I see it as trying to play against an established type. For example, if I were doing a wedding episode I'd probably have the guy be the one planning everything and obsessing over the details while the woman has second thoughts because that's the opposite of what we usually see, but if I did that someone on YouTube would complain the guy in that scenario is a "beta cuck" because "manly men" don't want to get married or plan weddings and they would say it's ant-white male (if the guy character happened to be white).

A LOT of people in the United States (and probably outside of it too) are unwilling to give up traditional gender/race roles either in life or in fiction. Men should be with women, blacks with blacks, whites with whites, men bring home the bread and women have the babies, etc. Any reality that contradicts those traditional beliefs is met with hostility and malice and is seen as "indoctrination" or "leftist propaganda".

This of course trickles down into race roles. Media has always depicted white people as the bravest, smartest, most attractive people in all of existence, because for a long time trying to show anything contradictory was forbidden. So now that writers have the freedom to show anyone as the hero or the smartest character and do something different, naturally it's being met with anger and resentment.

Now of course the drawback is that if a show or movie tries to play against established character types it needs to be good, otherwise people will say it sucked because of the change (Ghostbusters, for example).

Soooo, yeah, that was a long-winded response but I so rarely get to have thoughtful conversations about subjects like this without someone yelling "SJW! PC!" and then blocking me on social media when I try to explain how it's more complicated than that lol

Nice to hear a thoughtful reply without someone threating to rape my dog. FYI the black Elon Musk on Designated Survivor was just intoduced this season. Some more race news in the movies for you. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine in the movie about a run away train based on a true story, Denzel plays the charcter who in real life is white. A "Dolphins Tail" The vet is played by Morgan Freeman again the real person is white.

@Raymondoz2007 said:

Nice to hear a thoughtful reply without someone threating to rape my dog. FYI the black Elon Musk on Designated Survivor was just intoduced this season.

Ah. I wasn't really that into the first season and mainly only watched it because I was a huge 24 fan and wanted to see "Jack Bauer as president" but it got so hockey and convoluted and I was really only interested in Maggie Q's character since she was the actual Jack Bauer of the show.

Some more race news in the movies for you. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine in the movie about a run away train based on a true story, Denzel plays the charcter who in real life is white. A "Dolphins Tail" The vet is played by Morgan Freeman again the real person is white.

Well Denzel and Morgan Freeman are big names, studios are always willing to gender and race swap if it means getting a bigger name. That's the other side of this discussion I didn't mention: the studios.

They want to get as many eyeballs on the screen (or as many butts in seats when it comes to movies) as possible. They know women and people of color also watch TV so they have to make an attempt to court those viewers and widen their audience. Some times it makes sense and sometimes it doesn't.

Getting Denzel in your movie makes sense. Casting Scarlett Johansson as a Japanese anime character to appeal to a greater audience also makes sense. Although in most instances these choices backfire (casting Johnny Depp as Tonto).

I think last year's Ghostbusters reboot is a great teaching example because that could have worked and been good, but it made the mistake of pissing off the original's fans while completely ignoring the continuity of the series and the traits that made it good (sound familiar, Star Trek Discovery)?

Unstoppable and Dolphin Tale didn't have a built in audience so they could get away with it. They couldn't, for example, cast Denzel in the Sully movie because people know that person. Joseph Fiennes was cast as Michael Jackson and got a huge backlash.

Game of Thrones didn't shoehorn any non-book diversity into the show and I never hear anyone complain that there's not enough non-white characters because the show is so good no one cares. If your show or movie is good no one will really care how many women or blacks or gays are or aren't in it. It's the sucky shows and movies that need to flaunt their diversity because they need SOMETHING to hook people in to make up for their lack of quality and compelling storytelling (sound familiar, Star Trek Discovery????)

Some good points and arguments, but there are some counter-points and counter-examples. For one thing, it's still often/usually a big deal - even/especially in Hollywood and on TV - if they take a real story that featured a POC (Person Of Color) and change the character to someone white. The mentioned Scarlett Johansson substitution for Ghost In The Shell is a semi-good example although it seemed to get less attention than others maybe because even the SJW types weren't as concerned about it when it came to women. Which probably makes them sexist, but oh well. Or maybe they don't think sci-fi is important enough to worry about. (And in the GITS series I saw, The Major didn't seem all that Asian-looking anyway.) The real hypocrisy though is that it only seems to go one way. As mentioned, you can have Denzel Washington (who I haven't really liked in anything since St Elsewhere but that's a different story) or Morgan Freeman play a character who was actually white, and it doesn't seem to raise a fuss. And it seems that if you do that, white audiences still show up to the movie, but if you leave the character white, black audiences are smaller. Which seems to mean black movie audiences are the racists, but that's also another issue. (Do black audiences want movies portraying black people as being more heroic than they really are?) But it's when you take a real-life character that is a POC and have them played by a white actor - or actress, but especially actor - that's where the commotion starts. If the real issue is quality of acting and/or audience popularity, it really shouldn't be any more controversial to have a black person played by a white actor, than the reverse. That it does still seem to be a problem, suggests a deeper issue or perhaps more than one.

One other thing I noticed was that nobody seemed very upset that two black characters from the original Battlestar Galactica series - Col Tighe and Boomer - were replaced in the "reboot" series by a white guy and an Asian chick. Maybe that's just because most people don't think sci-fi is significant enough to bother with?

@Raymondoz2007 said:

After Robert Downy gets to old to be Tony Stark we can have Cedric the entertainer play him. Comments..............

These days they might be more likely to go with Whoopi Goldberg.

@Knixon said:

The real hypocrisy though is that it only seems to go one way. As mentioned, you can have Denzel Washington (who I haven't really liked in anything since St Elsewhere but that's a different story) or Morgan Freeman play a character who was actually white, and it doesn't seem to raise a fuss. And it seems that if you do that, white audiences still show up to the movie, but if you leave the character white, black audiences are smaller. Which seems to mean black movie audiences are the racists, but that's also another issue. (Do black audiences want movies portraying black people as being more heroic than they really are?)

I disagree for the most part. Yes black audiences are smaller, but they still have spending power. You have to look at it like this. 90+% of all the movies and TV shows produced are deigned to appeal to white audiences, so if you're white you have a huge variety of choice. But if you're not white you have a much smaller amount of entertainment designed to appeal to you.

But Hollywood still wants those black dollars, so shoehoring in a black character is Hollywood's attempt to expand their market share. Casting a black person as Heimdall in Thor is a business move. And just like in Thor, the rest of the cast in these movies is usually filled with white actors so the white audience rarely cares that one small character was race or gender flipped, just so long as the main character is still white (usually).

Casting a white actor in a non-white role is much riskier because it usually means there's no other non-white roles in the movie and it's usually a major role. 21, for example, was based on a real life Asian American story and they recast all the main roles with white actors and gave the minor background roles to Asian actors.

And I'm not sure what you mean by "Do black audiences want movies portraying black people as being more heroic than they really are". ANYONE can be heroic. It's a movie. How many times do we see nerds getting the hottest girl in school in movies vs how often that happens in real life? I think everybody wants to see themselves as the main character in a movie at least once in a while, but like I said, 90% of movies are aimed at white audience, specifically males between 13-45, and women and non-white guys have very few options. I mean I'd like to think black people wouldn't pay to see Tyler Perry movies if they had slightly more variety.

But it's when you take a real-life character that is a POC and have them played by a white actor - or actress, but especially actor - that's where the commotion starts. If the real issue is quality of acting and/or audience popularity, it really shouldn't be any more controversial to have a black person played by a white actor, than the reverse. That it does still seem to be a problem, suggests a deeper issue or perhaps more than one.

Personally I do agree that anyone should be able to play anyone else, but again, the numbers aren't in a non-white actor's favor. The vast majority of leading/major roles are written and offered to white actors and non-white actors have little to no chance of landing those roles. The best black actor in the world doesn't have a chance at playing Hannibal Lector, Han Solo, James Bond, Batman, Norman Bates, Freddy Kruger, Vito Corleone, Travis Bickle, Katniss Everdeen, John McClane, Sarah Connor, Marty McFly etc. Imagine how much people complained that they cast female Ghostbusters and triple it, that's the kind of backlash we'd see if any of those characters were cast with non-white actors.

And Hollywood has no interest in "creating" a non-white star. Denzel Washington, Will Smith and Jackie Chan are all old guys. There's no young actors lined up to take their place. That's not by accident. John Boyega is kind of the closest thing I can see but methinks if Pacific Rim 2 flops his leading man career will be over and he will not be given as many mulligans as Ryan Reynolds or Ben Affleck.

One other thing I noticed was that nobody seemed very upset that two black characters from the original Battlestar Galactica series - Col Tighe and Boomer - were replaced in the "reboot" series by a white guy and an Asian chick. Maybe that's just because most people don't think sci-fi is significant enough to bother with?

Maybe, but those characters weren't exactly beloved either.

But these days quotas are about counting faces and the color of their skin, not how important their roles are.

Many of you folks live in large citys so it may feel differant to you. Blacks are only 13% of the population and if you discount how blacks are in prison they only 10% of the paying population.

I've heard interviews with some non-actor-etc black people who, growing up where they did, thought that blacks were the majority everywhere. What a shock they were in for, later in life! Given their early experience though, you'd think they would have realized that the conditions they lived in were not imposed from outside. But that lesson/example didn't seem to sink in.

When I read comments like these, which unfortunately I do way too frequently on the internet, I am reminded of a very thoughtful quote from Anais Nin something along the lines of " We don't see things are they are we see things as we are"

"Some more race news in the movies for you. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine in the movie about a run away train based on a true story, Denzel plays the character who in real life is white. A "Dolphins Tail" The vet is played by Morgan Freeman again the real person is white."

Truth is in an ideal world this should not be "news" at all! First, this is the business that involves the "willing suspension of disbelief"...isn't it? In art it shouldn't matter at all who plays who. What should matter is what that presentation "means". Secondly, can we consider for a minute the many, many non white characters in history that have routinely been played by white actors without a thought in the world? This has happened with such regularity that sometimes art has attempted to altered history and these characters have erroneously 'become' white to many, many people. Jesus Christ being the prime example, but there are many others.

I think what Nin was getting at is that there is an innate bias that comes with the natural state of being. After all none of us have any other options but to have just 'our own perspective'...initially. Her quote also suggests perhaps more forcefully, that because of this innate bias we must be ever more aware that there are other, equally valid points of view. If more people accepted Nin's fundamental truth, there would be less friction and more progress on many levels in the world.

Unfortunately with the myopic conceit of the likes of Trump, the view that there is only ONE truth and that truth is MINE, mankind is doomed to hatred and conflict. Whereas, simply examining the possibility of other truths, something which art (film and theatre in this case) gives us an excellent opportunity to, might allow, even enable us to reach beyond our "small" selves and perhaps see more "things as they really are."

I'm not so sure, Oduntola. Do you think you could ever get multi-millionaire professional athletes to agree/concede that they are NOT being "held down by The Man?"

Persions are white, Latinos are white and so was Jesus.

Knixon, What the multi million dollar athletes are ready to concede has nothing to do with what I am saying. My point is a) it should not matter what race plays what race and b) it didn't seem to matter before when white actors played all other races, so much so that some seem to think the word "white" might expand to include people born in the Middle East, Central America and Africa (Cleopatra).

I was referring to the quote about " We don't see things are they are we see things as we are" and getting past that would require things like famous and wealthy "people of color" recognizing that if national oppression were really as they want to claim, they would be neither famous nor wealthy.

@Raymondoz2007 said:

Many of you folks live in large citys so it may feel differant to you. Blacks are only 13% of the population and if you discount how blacks are in prison they only 10% of the paying population.

There's money to be made in putting people in prison. The United States is something like 5% of the world's population but has 25% of the world's prisoners, and that's largely due to the war on drugs and Clinton's crime bill.

Even though blacks and whites consume drugs at about the same rate, drugs associated with blacks like crack, marijuana and heroin carried much harsher, longer penalties than drugs associated with whites like cocaine. Blacks are much more likely to be convicted because large swaths of Americans buy into the stereotypes that blacks and browns are evil, lazy, violent, moochers who don't deserve mercy.

And for the police it's much easier to arrest and prosecute poor black and brown people who have no financial power to fight back and rarely any help from the media, but if the police were to suddenly start arresting poor drug using whites in great numbers like during the current opioid epidemic which is ravaging white communities like the crack epidemic did to black neighborhoods, that would get bad media attention for the police.

But as for the argument that movie and tv representation should correlate to actual population size (13% black population), let's remember that women make up over 50% of the population and never make up 50% of most casts and make up far less than 50% of leading roles. And every single attempt to balance that scale is met with anger and resentment.

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