In 1978 Carl Sagan told Johnny Carson the big problem with Star Wars: “They’re all white”

It may have been a race thing, but that voice! How could you choose anyone else?


I think the problem is that the reactionaries are just the loudest faction of fandom… So they get all the attention. The people who do things because they just want a better world don’t often get heard as much as the ones pitching fits because a movie franchise becomes too diverse.


Real talk; fandoms can be incredibly diverse and span many demographics - just assuming that the loudest, most toxic segments are the majority is pure folly.


Perry Rhodan has the distinct advantage of not being an American franchise and therefore not being able to engage in America’s favorite blind spot: assuming that everyone speaks English and that if any country outside America ever matters, it must be one of the other English-speaking countries (or China, but that’s a new trend).
So they had a multi-national cast of characters from the beginning, because a German-only group of heroes that doesn’t interact with people from any other countries wouldn’t have been believable.

In Star Wars, everyone speaks English, but as has been pointed out, this could just be Translation Convention.
But Star Trek… oh boy. It’s always trying hard to be progressive, so it clearly sends the message that in the future, all Americans* are equal. There seem to be twice as many non-human characters serving on Starfleet vessels than there are characters who weren’t raised by English-speaking parents.
And the whole ‘translation convention’ breaks down when the aliens, after speaking to each other in English for a while, start some religious ritual and begin chanting ‘in their own language’. It’s as if they were colonized by some English-speaking nation and only now trying to restore their ancestral language, which has fallen out of use in everyday usage…

* All Americans? Well except for foreign adoption children from the Klingon empire. They are apparently met with so much speciesism that they end up looking for their ‘heritage’ in a culture that they haven’t lived in since their early childhood.

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Anvar played one of the most central characters. Then he was outed as a sexual predator and his character died. I watched the whole available show the last weeks and it is wonderfully diverse, addresses a lot of societal problems … so after I watched everything and looked on youtube for videos made on it I was very surprised to find that it has a very right leaning fan base. So much, in fact, that I stopped watching any such videos.


I’d enjoyed the show but never read anything about it or got into the fandom, so this has been news to me. He’s a real slimeball. I had thought his character dying was just part of the story.

I’m as surprised as you that it attracts a right-wing fanbase. I guess they’re attracted to the realpolitik? But who would they identify with? Maybe Mars at first although that dream’s been revealed to be rotten. Certainly not welfare state Earth or Belter revolutionaries…?

Still, it’s not as weird to me as right-wing Star Trek fans. I know they’re not the majority but I don’t understand why there should be any


I know, right? Maybe they’re just in it for the pew-pew-pew and such, but a closer look at the plotlines ought to show an obvious liberal/left mindset. I don’t understand how someone can watch Trek and come up with the exact opposite of what the show stood for.

But yes, they exist. A while back, several members gentlemen of such a group decided to harass a mutual (she follows me, I follow her) in a loose collective of Trekkies who lean left and queer-positive. This is one of the groups the members offenders belonged to:

I have no idea if they still exist; I spent several nights on a report/block spree, and while Twitter doesn’t seem to do much self-policing, considering the content involved, at least some of them had to get banned.

Please believe me, the noisy, disgusting, hateful minority are not representative of all Trekkies (or sci-fi fandom in general.) Many of us took “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations” to heart-- and we’ll fight for it, too.


Thanks, I enjoyed that! I can’t believe Ted Cruz likes Trek, but of course he’d idolize Kirk.

And now I’m gonna nitpick: do Cardassians really have darker skin than white humans? Aren’t they noticeably pale, and doesn’t that have something to do with their preference for darkness, or at least dimmer lighting?

Anyway that’s not to detract from the general message and most points made, which I agreed with.

Imperial space navy spreads “democracy” at the barrel of a gun? Right up their alley.

Former subjects who talk funny launch a sneak terrorist attack on earth. It’s practically their wet dream, it’s 24 all over again. And as you say the realpolitik, it has factional politics dealing with issues of how much can one compromise (both within one’s “side” as well as with the other) without giving up what’s important, when does that calculus call for violence, etc.

Also, one person’s peace-loving freedom fighter is another’s terrorist.


Here’s everyone favorite Cardassian Garak… since I can’t find a decently lighted shot that shows Gul Dukat’s skintone…


Garak rocks!


but here is a pic of Dukat, which is probably the best I could find that show his skin tone as the character…


For contrast, here is Gul Dukat as a Bajoran… meaning the actor has his natural skin tone rather than what you’d seen when he’s full-on Gul Dukat…

So a gray-green skintone vs. a pinkish skintone consistent with Caucasians from earth… The two look very different to me, with one seeming to be less “white” than the other.


They’re aliens, so…

Klingons are closer to having dark skin across the board, though…

star trek generations GIF

Here are the actors who played them:


Of course Worf was played by a Black actor… but his son Alexander was not…

Who apparently died a few years ago?


Yup, Jon Paul Steuer. He played Alexander the first time before Brian Bonsall took over the role on the rest of TNG. Klingon kids must grow quick. He aged pretty quick from the first time to how we then see him on DS9.

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The other computers of that generation were codenamed Piltdown Man and Cold Fusion, both scientific frauds. This was a reference to the PowerPC emulating the 680x0 CPU-- defrauding applications that were expecting the genuine article.

Illustrious Company for a respected astronomer…

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Imperial space navy spreads “democracy” at the barrel of a gun? Right up their alley.

But that’s not what Starfleet does, is it? Or are you just saying that’s the the sorta image-level identification they can make with it? It’s a very powerful thing the way the US military always being portrayed as the good guys can rub off in terms of how people view other things.

Former subjects who talk funny launch a sneak terrorist attack on earth. It’s practically their wet dream,

Belters as American colonists? Inaros and his folllowers as the 3 Percenters? Yeah, I guess…

To me the Cardassians in general tend to look noticeably pale, but as I do more Googling I see there was quite a bit of variation. And you’re right that Garak looks rather dark in that full outdoor-light gif you post.

But regardless the broader point still stands that the hostile aliens are coded as non-white, though I think Disco revised this nicely.


There are signs of this changing. Most notably Lovecraft Country, but there are some others which do better as well (Into the Badlands, The Expanse).

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Nubian God.

(What’s a Nubian?)

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Well, my response about his on Star Wars was the (IMO) reason so many humans running thing in the Star Wars universe is simply colonialism that turned into an Empire. The humans pushed themselves onto most worlds and ending up controlling them.

SW is not about samurai’s, whoever stated that (even Lucas himself) can say that all they like but really look at the Republic it is no different than what the UK did or America with our manifest destiny BS. The samurai thing just feels like, “oh we have light sabers so it’s a samurai thing.”

But my response to Sagan would have been, "you are exactly right. And the reason is because colonialism pushed humans out and into expansion creating colonies on other worlds that are less developed. Then at the height of the Republic it’s taken over by a fanatical dictator who is now pushing complete dominance. Which is easier after the centuries of colonialism and establish humans all over the galaxy.

I mean other than the final trilogy, the original and the prequel trilogies really kind of point to this. So, no Sagan isn’t wrong in his dislike of Star Wars. And he absolutely stating the reality that humans wouldn’t be so predominate.

Heck, even Star Trek went through a reckoning and created the founding of most bipedal species throughout the galaxy. It’s just Star Wars looks more like our current society than most people would want to imagine.

Sagan only said what I and others were thinking about all the early Star Wars films. I wondered if instead of working things out, the human race had at last via warfare, exterminated over 2/3 of it’s population, the Africans, Asians, Native Americans and Hindus, etc. I saw it as a wet dream, the subconcious wish fulfillment of it’s writers and producers. The universe would one day end up they way they saw or lived in their world, an “uncomplicated” place, where only their families and friends lived. And yet the film had a sidebar history of racism and discrimination in it, when for example Luke Skywalker and Han Solo walk into the first big bar scene, and only one kind of alien are musicians. They also encounter bullying as the looked down on humans who are only proven better. It’s the same old story of a bigot going into a bar or showroom while he stares down the black musicians. Only, he not even able to play an instrument, is in all his royal smugness, proven the lesser.

It’s actually fitting that Carl Sagan would argue for human diversity in space travel, and in the future. He would one day teach at the Bronx High School of Science in N.Y.C where he mentored the young African American student, Neil deGrasseTyson, currently an astrophycisist and author, and director of the Hayden Planetarium, in the Museum of Natural History, N.Y.

Carl was right about a lot of other things, for example that considering how diverse life is on earth, there would probably NEVER be humanoid upright walking creatures anything like humans. Yet all the aliens were humanoid.

One could argue that even Jabba was a cookie cutter example of whitness.

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