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It was a sort of “Casablanca” in space, with characters from all races and worlds and cultures mingling, not always harmoniously, on a lonely outpost.Benjamin Sisko, the station’s commanding officer, was a black man and a single father.In its fifty-year history, “Star Trek” has cornered the market on tolerance and cosmopolitanism.Even those who have never watched the original series, which aired in the late nineteen-sixties, likely know that it featured the first interracial kiss on network television—between William Shatner’s Captain Kirk and Nichelle Nichols’s Lieutenant Uhura.The United Federation of Planets, despite its vaunted tolerance and inclusiveness, is mostly led by older white men.The explorers’ motives are represented as pure, unencumbered by cultural chauvinism, yet their science always prevails over aliens’ indigenous superstitions.In effect, they are pining for the least appealing aspects of “Star Trek,” those that arise from unconscious slips and lingering prejudices, despite the writers’ best intentions.
(That erasure was repaired, but only in passing, in the last movie, “Star Trek Beyond.”)Indeed, “Star Trek” can often be seen as patronizing, if not conveniently delusional.
By a strange and circuitous logic, the trolls who scream, “White genocide!
” have espoused this very argument against the show.
It opens with a conversation between the two lead characters, a starship captain and her first officer, played by Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green, both women of color.
Very quickly, the comments section was filled with garden-variety Trekkie gripes—the Klingons looked weird, there was too much lens flare, the dialogue was hammy, the uniforms were non-canonical.