We all know that the representation of people of different genders and races is imbalanced in popular media, but sometimes putting it into visual form can help make the imbalance clear. This is the first of a series breaking down, in basic terms, who’s represented and who isn’t.
Here’s Star Trek. I’ve included the credited main cast from all the live-action television series.
- Star Trek: Kirk, Spock, Scotty, McCoy, Checkov, Uhura, Sulu
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Picard, Riker, Data, Wesley, Troi, Yar, Crusher, Pulaski, Worf, La Forge
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: O’Brien, Bashir, Odo, Quark, Kira, Dax, Sisko, Jake
- Star Trek: Voyager: Paris, Doctor, Neelix, Janeway, Torres, Kes, Seven, Tuvok, Kim, Chakotay
- Star Trek: Enterprise: Archer, Reed, Tucker, Phlox, T’Pol, Mayweather, Sato
- Star Trek: Discovery: Saru, Tyler, Stamets, Lorca, Tilly, Burnham
Corrections and suggestions welcome.
In the interests of clarity, here’s the rules I’m following for who to include and where to place them:
- I only count characters portrayed by an actor who appears in person on screen in more or less recognizable form (i.e. performances that are entirely CG, prosthetic, puppet, or voice do not count).
- For human characters that can be reasonably clearly identified, I use the race and gender of the character.
- For non-human characters or characters whose identity cannot be clearly determined, I use the race and gender of the actor.
- I use four simplified categories for race and two for gender. Because human variety is much more complicated and diverse than this, there will inevitably be examples that don’t fit. I put such cases where they seem least inappropriate, or, if no existing option is adequate, give them their own separate categories.
- “White” and “Black” are as conventionally defined in modern Western society. “Asian” means East or South Asian. “Indigenous” encompasses Native Americans, Polynesians, Indigenous Australians, and other indigenous peoples from around the world.
- There are many ethnic and gender categories that are relevant to questions of representation that are not covered here. There are also other kinds of diversity, including sexuality, language, disability, etc. that are equally important for representation that are not covered here. A schematic view like this can never be perfect, but it is a place to start.
Messing with numbers is messy.
If the GOP keeps cutting back on investment in the future, the only reason people in space will use English is because so many Asians and Europeans learn it in school.
I have the feeling we’re living through the beginning of the end of English’s time as the de facto international language. Of course, the future is always unpredictable. Two thousand years ago, no one in Europe would have guessed that Latin would eventually give way to the language of axe-wielding barbarians from the North Sea coast. Maybe five hundred years from now our descendants traveling the stars will be speaking to each other in Basque, Xhosa, or Quechua.
Still, English has a solid defensive position as a language. Vast amounts of educational infrastructure for learning English, and almost all the top universities teach in English. The top ten universities in the world are in America and England. Meanwhile, the Asian countries are disinclined to accept other Asian countries’ languages as the new universal language. If we picked a language for being easy to learn, having a proud literary tradition, and already being wide spread, that would be Spanish.
True, there is a lot of built-in inertia.
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