The TOS Bridge is populated, intentionally, with a representation of the human race, unified and strong. For its time, it was an articulate subversion of the racial framework that existed in much of the modern world.
One of Star Trek’s goals, from its inception, was to envision a world where racism and racial segregation had been relegated to the dustbin of history.
For its time, TOS (though nowhere near perfect) was groundbreaking and set the stage for its franchise progeny to boldly go, exploring topics of race and racism. Today, seeing the diversity on any of the bridges is commonplace. Yet here we are, 54 years along, and the systemic and brutal effects of white supremacy affect innocent people every day. What does that mean for us as Trek fans? Is a segregated world truly fit to explore the stars?
To engage with the imagined reality of a world that has undone the systems of oppression is to stand against those very oppressions in our time. As fanciful as some of the things depicted in our beloved franchise are, we truly have the “technology” to stand up against injustice. To engage in opposition to the injustices apparent in our society is difficult but necessary work and we all have a part to play.
Black lives matter. The undeniable brutality of police violence against people standing up and standing in solidarity for black rights should underscore who is at fault; what needs to change.
If we truly feel we deserve the stars, how do we reconcile a justice system without justice? To stand up in solidarity for black rights involves risk to ourselves, but is not risk our business? If first contact is on our horizon, what will our first impression be?
Black Lives Matter.
–Barry DeFord, PoliTreks.
As of June 1, 2020, the Trek Geeks Podcast Network will make an annual contribution to Black Lives Matter and work to incorporate more voices from people of color in our content. This fandom is infinite in its diversity and our content should reflect that. We urge and encourage all other Star Trek podcasts and networks to do the same.
— Bill Smith and Dan Davidson, Co-Founders
The 24 Year Old Trekkie, Who Is Trek?
Think of the times when you watched episodes like TOS’s “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”, or TNG’s “The Outcast”. DS9’s “Far Beyond the Stars”, or Voyager’s “Remember”. ENT’s “North Star”, and the array of other Star Trek episodes that deal with racism and intolerance.
Did you find yourself watching— thinking how terrible/painful it would be if you were in those fictional characters’ shoes?
Let me tell you: it is happening right now before our very eyes. I’m not talking about fictional characters, I’m talking about REAL PEOPLE. BLACK PEOPLE.
If, like me, you dream of someday achieving a Star Trek future, now is the time to act. While I believe Star Trek provides us with so many lessons on humanity—who would we be if we didn’t carry out and defend those lessons in our lives?
We cannot stay silent.
Five Year Mission
We know that all lives matter but that’s just a bullshit dog whistle and you KNOW it’s bullshit. The movement of BLM is about bringing attention to the systemic racism and classism in the judicial system. No one ever said (no one credible, anyway) that your life or your friends’ lives don’t matter. This is a movement. If people seriously thought that all lives matter, we wouldn’t have issues at the border, we wouldn’t have veterans suffering needlessly, we wouldn’t have a vast homeless population, etc. This is our focus for now. Should all those other issues be tackled? Yes. Have we attempted in the past? Yes. Has it worked? No. Real change cannot happen until we can chip away at the inherent racism and classism in our American system. Look how your local representatives vote and vote with your heart, not along party lines.
Co-Founder, Trek Geeks Podcast Network
As I have watched the events of the past couple of weeks unfold across cities throughout the United States, I have felt a complete spectrum of emotion. From utter sorrow watching an unarmed and detained African American man brutally murdered to absolute contempt, disgust and revulsion at the men who committed this reprehensible crime, knowing they were people who swore an oath to protect the very citizens they were killing. I started to question whether or not we would ever be bold enough to steer humanity to be that which we see in the world of Star Trek where everyone human is considered equal and never looked at differently because of race, color, religious beliefs or sexual preference.
I then watched with great pride and admiration as people of all backgrounds began protesting peacefully all across the country to stand up for George Floyd and to demand change to the injustices that the minorities of this country continue to suffer. I started asking myself – “Is this the time that we will finally start to make a change and see real progress?” For 400 years black citizens have had to deal with two kinds of justice in America. Theirs and that of white America. Over the past 60 years we have had countless instances of police brutality and social injustice poison our nation. I don’t know if people were asking the same question about it being time for change during any of those instances, but I have to believe we have come to a point, today in 2020, where we MUST make that change. While I have questioned whether humanity will ever do what is right, I HAVE to believe we are at a crossroads.
I am concerned that there will always be those who will stand in the way of what is right and what is humane. Over the past 10 days of protests, when the worlds spotlight has been on law enforcement all across this nation, we are still seeing police officers use their power of authority to do harm, whether it be against the elderly as we saw in Buffalo NY or against minorities where people are arrested for literally just looking at an officer. This must stop. But I feel it will be harder to overcome these difficulties as long as we have an administration in place that is led by a racist, homophobic, bigoted narcissist. Evil spawns evil, and absolute power corrupts, absolutely. Pretending to care for change to social injustice and then showing contempt for it in policy and actions shows the ignorance we still have to deal with in America. But I call on everyone to do what hundreds of thousands of people have been doing. Take a stand. Demand change. Put an end to racism. Love one another. Only together can we quash the specter of bigotry and racism. Don’t hide from it. Don’t just say you are against it. Make a difference.
I fully support and believe in Black Lives Matter. I will until my dying breath. I ache for a day when we realize we have become as understanding and inclusive as those in the Star Trek Universe we love so much. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination has never been as important as it is right now, and we MUST make sure that this moment in history is the one that begins the change.
Co-Founder, Trek Geeks Podcast Network
This isn’t a political issue; it’s a humanitarian one.
Growing up in the 1970s, my mother took great care and time to make sure I understood and believed that all people were equal. She believed very seriously in the words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that a person should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. I was always grateful to her for having taught me those lessons because it prepared me to be a decent human being.
My Mom did an amazing job–and she did the right thing. However, now I know that wasn’t enough. I thought I was done learning, and I was wrong.
I thought I was a good ally, but I was silent and, in my silence, I was complicit. I never meant to or wanted to be, but I was and our friends and neighbors deserve better. Our African American brothers and sisters deserve better.
We all have a duty and responsibility to help them and we can no longer remain silent. We must call out the systemic racism that occurs and hold the governing powers accountable. We must change and we must bring that change ourselves because we can not rely on the system to bring it for us, especially since it has failed black America at every opportunity. Instead of real, substantive change, we’ve nothing more than lip service over the last sixty years and that is no longer acceptable.
There can be no more George Floyds. No more Ahmaud Arberys. No more Breonna Taylors or Trayvon Martins. We need to commit not only to do better, but to actually BE better.
There is no other choice.