Reviews of science fiction movies, television series, books, and computer games. ..... plus technology news.

Custom Search

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Aliens Aren't Amerindians (or Europeans).

From the Vulcans and Klingons of Star Trek to the myriad aliens of Star Wars, to the Mimbari, Centauri, and Narns of Babylon 5, extraterrestrial non-humans, and human reactions to them, have been used to address racism toward racial minorities in the West, primarily the United States. Although borne of good intent, this tactic for combating racism is neither ideal nor the smartest option.

Firstly, the aliens with their corresponding 'race:'

Amerindians and Europeans
From Star Trek, the Romulans, although distant cousins of the Vulcans (itself suggestive of the mildly racist idea that Europeans and Asians have much more in common than they do with Africans), have an empire obviously based on the Roman Empire. They are run be a proconsul, a Senate, and their planet is named Romulus, which also happens to be the name of the mythological founder of Rome (there is also a Remus for the Romulans). The Romulans are passionate and driven to conquest. There House system roughly approximates the noble houses in European post-Roman history.

In Star Wars, including the so-called Expanded Universe, there are the Yuuzhan Vong, who--while also representing aspects of the Hindu caste system and Islamism--share a fair amount in common with the Maya and other Mesoamerican peoples, in their ritual mutilation of themselves and others, their considering human sacrifice an honor, in their religion, and with their 'oneness' and great skill with nature.

In Babylon 5, almost uniquely for science fiction, Europeans are given their own race apart from humans, the Centauri. Along with humans, the major species in Babylon 5 are the Mimbari (Asians), the Narn (Africans), and the Vorlons (who don't correspond to a human 'race'). The Centauri used to have a great empire and many subject races, one of whom were the Narn. They have since fallen into decline. They are the most similar in appearance to humans (Americans). They are an epicurean species who are prideful and artistic.

Amerindians and Europeans are the 'races' least represented by extraterrestrial aliens in science fiction. Amerindians because they are few in number, and relatively little has been uncovered about their pre-Spanish (or other European) cultures and ways of life. Europeans because they are often treated the same as 'white' Americans, who usually are represented by humans. Babylon 5 is a notable exception to this tendency.

[This is the third part of a four part series, concluding with an article on how these 'racial aliens' are used to address the concept of racism; this article is primarily to set-up how aliens are linked to human 'races,' while the last in the series will actually address the racism part. The next article will be the conclusion, discussing how science fiction is used to address 'racial' bigotry, and how it falls short.]

Found this article interesting? Check out:
The Vegetarian Diaries.

The Roadmap to the Future.
The Roadmap to the Future--Africa.
The Roadmap to the Future--Asia.
The Roadmap to the Future--Europe.
The Roadmap to the Future--Latin America.

Tag this post with:
Delicious Logo Delicious Digg Logo Digg Technorati Logo Technorati reddit Logo reddit Facebook Logo Facebook Stumble Upon Toolbar StumbleUpon Furl Logo Furl Digg Logo blinklist

Found this article interesting? Check out:
History: The Roadmap to the Future.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Africa.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Asia.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Europe.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Latin America.

The Science Fiction Channel + Technorium.
The Vegetarian Diaries + Biologeel.

No comments: