The Racialicious Roundtable For ‘Star Trek’

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

And back we are, with the new hotness! Our table meets up once again to discuss:

* Our least-favorite guest-star
* Where the revamped series should go from here
* Why Uhura Matters, regardless of timeline

And much more!

Arturo: so, everybody catch the review thread?
Andrea: yaaaay!@
Mahsino: yup
Diana: yep
Andrea: ya did good, arturo!
Arturo: What amused me were the comments that went like, “Great review! This movie still sucked!”
Andrea: I suspect those critiques came from the Star Wars contingent
Mahsino: “admiral madea” killed me
Arturo: I know it killed Andrea. Ha. Well, at least Perry did.
Diana: I was like, the Matrix movies had Cornel West. Star Wars had Sam Jackson. The new Star Trek? Tyler Perry? WTF
Mahsino: Me and my brother had a huge silent wtf in the theater. Who did he pay off for that one?
Andrea: for real.
Diana: yeah
Arturo: Like I told Andrea, if the guy’s a fanboy, I can’t blame him for wanting in on it.
Andrea: I can. He just doesn’t get that he’s not as cool as whoopi.
Arturo: Hell, N’Sync wanted to play Jedi.
Diana: Was no one else available?
Diana: He can’t act without a dress
Andrea: he can’t act with a dress
Mahsino: Was Keith David not available for the “cool black guy” role?
Mahsino: The suit was Steve Harvey bad

In light of the reaction to Perry’s appearance, we present:
Eight POC Men The Table Wants To See Instead Of TP In The Sequel:
1.Sendhil Ramamurthy,
2.Forrest Whitaker,
3.Billy Dee Williams (to piss off the Lucas fans)
4.James Earl Jones (to really piss off the Lucas fans)
5.Michael Eric Dyson
6.Colin Powell (’cause Starfleet is the military, after all)
7.Charles Ogletree
8.Michael Steele

During the editing process, I noticed a glaring disparity, so allow me to add:
Five POC Women Arturo Wants To See:
1.Gina F’ing Torres
2.Michelle Yeoh
3.Minissha Lamba
4.Freema Agyeman
5.Irene Bedard

spobamaOur discussion, though, did lead us to this suggestion:
Andrea: f-ck it. Barack Obama
Mahsino: why not? He can’t be worse than perry
Diana:Obama, I’m wit it. Michele too
Arturo: Y’know, the “Barack=Spock” media meme is making me leery. it’s anti-intellectual.
Mahsino: I hate the comparison. It’s as if Spock is the new “mulatto.”
Arturo: well, to the other Vulcans, apparently he *was*
Diana: half-breed, that was a big slur on Spock
Andrea: yep.
Mahsino: what, we aren’t post-species-ist in the future? I half expected Bones to bust out with “some of my best friend are Vulcan” they way his tone was going
Andrea: no, that wouldn’t have been Bones, though
Diana: And Star Trek is supposed to be positive about the future
Arturo: It’s *positive*, but it was never pollyannaish. There’s been eps centered around racial issues throughout canon
Andrea: The kicker is, people feel they’re being complimentary with the Spock comparison, i.e. the Greenwald piece from salon.
Mahsino: The Spock/Obama composite pics make me bust out the side-eye
Arturo: Like I said on the thread, though, Bones’ remarks weren’t presented as being as virulent as the sh-t Spock heard back home
Andrea: but to your comment about race not seeming illogical, arturo….it doesn’t surprise that the vulcans came out their mouths the way they did.
Diana: Bones’ beef with Spock was more understandable. The little vulcans were just mean
Arturo: Kids are f’d up, on any world.
Andrea: racism has its own logic.
Arturo: until Spocky opened up the can of whoop-ass
Mahsino: Spock was awesome
Diana: And the grown ups weren’t much better, referring to his “disability”
Andrea: but they felt justified—and therefore logical–for saying and acting upon it.
Mahsino: And thus I type a phrase that I never thought I’d utter: how bout that Spock, pretty easy on the eyes right ladies?
Diana: Spock was sexy sexy. And JTK did not get the girl
Mahsino: Yay? I mean Yay!

A Slightly Embarrassing Revelation
Arturo: Ok, quick poll: How many times did each of us do the “Sylar thing” during the movie?
Diana: The eyebrows?
Mahsino: I detached that mess from this movie
Arturo: the little wave Sylar does when he’s cutting somebody
Diana: He was not Sylar to me
Andrea: i agree, diana
Arturo: Really? I was the only one? (I did it like 6 times)

Andrea: This may sound odd but, i almost thought Kirk was … let me say it this way: if it wasn’t for the ST canon, the story would have been more interesting without him.
Arturo: I’m starting to sense a resemblance between this Kirk and Danny Ocean. He’s more like the conduit between the other team members
Andrea: ooooh, intriguing, arturo.
Diana: Maybe that’s good, because it will force future movies to rely on the ensemble.
Arturo:that had to be part of the plan, I’m thinking, Diana.
Mahsino: I cared more about spock, uhura, and sulu than him. hell i cared about Chekov more.
Andrea: and scotty
Arturo: meanwhile, Kirk moved everybody along
Diana: I liked chekov, such a baby. and that little alien dude. he’s like Tortoise
Mahsino: the danny ocean comparison holds water though
Arturo: [iKirk] (eventually) earned Spock and Uhura’s trust. He got Scotty onboard. and Sulu and Chekov seem down for whatever, anyway
Mahsino: scotty acually annoyed me. And I like Simon Pegg.
Andrea: actually, i sorta liked scotty. he was the comic relief
Mahsino: Kirk didn’t earn enough trust for Uhura to tell him her first name
Arturo: well, yeah, she had Spock right there.
Andrea: kissing on him…..and he on her. yaaaay on that one.
Arturo: And Kirk hooked up with her roomie. I thought that was against the code.
Mahsino: it was, but to not even get a first name?
Diana: Sulu was badass. he’s got that on lock
Arturo: I saw the sword pop up and thought, ‘Hell yeah!’
Andrea: agreed, diana.

Love For A Fallen Captain
Diana: I liked the first captain who died. I wish he could have stuck around
Mahsino: he was nice
Andrea: The kelvin captain was effin smokin
Mahsino: andrea, yeah he was
Arturo: and he was a good captain, just outgunned. I thought that first scene was rather well-done.
Andrea: i almost screamed for him to not go on nero’s ship. just ’cause the hawt factor dropped
Mahsino: i like that he knew he was facing a certain death, but faced it with a quiet dignity
Diana: it was well done. It fit the story, so I can’t be mad
Andrea: diana, i’m always mad when the hawt factor drops in a film. ::blush::
Diana: Andrea–it keeps you wanting for more cause you can’t have it
Andrea: :pouts:

Nothin’ but love to our friends in the Bay Area, promise!
Andrea: not every creature needs full prosthesis to indicate “i hark from another race”
arturo: Having met Raiders fans, I can attest to that.

uhura1Arturo: ok, switching gears: Uhura.
Andrea: heelllz yeah
Mahsino: better than expected
Diana: Liked her. She has good taste in men
Mahsino: I had low expectations- like, halle berry-low expectations
Arturo: I actually cheered when I saw she wasn’t the one getting with Kirk in the dorm
Andrea: i think the feministing crew got her wrong and that she dissed kirk
Diana: She did not have to fight. Letting the men knock themselves silly was smart
Arturo: it’s not like she asked “Cupcake” to defend her
Andrea: exactly
Mahsino: and she did push him away when he accidentally copped a feel
Diana: It was a bar fight, not a battle for the galaxy
Andrea: kissing spock … definite priority
Mahsino: seconded
Diana: HIGH priority
Andrea: esp. in front of kirk. Sh-t, it nearly made me wanna kiss spock

Arturo: I did appreciate the explanation of her job duties
Andrea: i agree.
Diana: Yes. Having that language skills is important
Arturo:You know what she reminded me of? A sonar person on a sub. And nobody disses *that* person
Andrea: right….but nichelle nichols didn’t play uhura as a phone operator, either
Diana: Honestly, I did not know what Uhura did in the original
Andrea: so i’m a bit put off by the “phone operator” meme
Mahsino: I thought she was a secretary or something, sort of like i never got what Counselor Troi’s job was until i actually thought about it. (i thought Counselor was her first name as a kid)
Diana: I think it was the headset and sitting at the controls
Arturo: it’s an oversimplification borne out of lack of emphasis on the character
Andrea: good point.
Arturo: Here we at least learned not only why [Uhura’s] job is important, but she was presented as being a top cadet.
Diana: Her image was important though. She was not a sexless mammy
Andrea: but, i think the critique also fails ’cause it doesn’t catch the impact of what nichols being on the show meant. which is what latoya’s Kirking Out post pointed to.
Mahsino: but her impact wouldn’t translate well now at all
Diana: But then it was important just to be seen
Andrea: and because of that, we have mae jamison
Arturo: My jaw dropped when I read [Nichelle Nichols’] Wiki – apparently Dr. King asked her to stay on the show
Andrea: exactly. Diana, it was more than just being seen, i think
Diana: AJ–just meant there were not many black people on tv. So anyone on tv was important
Andrea: i get what you’re saying, but at the time when black folks were seen, they weren’t in space and certainly not translating languages. that’s what king understood, and why he begged nichols to stay.

Arturo: I think we’ll get to see her do more next time — her character is going to be that well-received
Diana: I think they all will do more
Arturo: well, they’ll probably get to do *different* [things]. Uhura will go with the away team, for instance
Diana: I like Zoe Saldana
Mahsino: I just don’t want her diminished to Spock’s girlfriend. Which, let’s face it, is what probably is going to happen- as is the nature of women in Hollywood action films. See Fox, Megan
Arturo: For what it’s worth, Abrams put Alias out there. So the idea of a strong woman doesn’t seem to repel him.
Diana: I like the fact Uhura was using more brain power than brawn
Mahsino: But brawn would be nice, no?
Diana: A balance would be good
Arturo: Oh, I think she’ll get in on a brawl or two next time.

Roundtable Member EricaChecks In:
Was I the only one hoping Spock would saw the top of Kirk’s head off? Or at least nerve pinch him a few more times?

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. The cast, while not perfect, was a decent resemblance to the original crew. My biggest complaint is that George Takei didn’t need funky camera shots and CG animation to help him be a fencing bad-ass; he simply kicked ass. However,
I blame that on a director overly in love with gratuitous special effects, not John Cho.

I love the fact that Uhura has picked Spock over never-deserved-her-anyway Kirk (OH that transporter room scene!), but I’m also troubled. Will the next film bring us a sub-plot in which Spock must betray his love for a human in order to perpetuate the species? Since they’ve rebooted and are telling the story from scratch, we are at some point going to be put through Pon Farr again (maybe this time Kirk will be killed for real! …

And one comment that isn’t necessarily Racialicious-oriented, but really peeved me: Why on earth did the ship have that classic “filmed in a warehouse” look? Star Trek ALWAYS managed to have plausible sets, without scenery that screamed “we filmed this in a brewery”. And a friggin’ water turbine? Come on …

Arturo: Here’s a question: would you prefer the new series revamp old villains, or try to create new ones?
Mahsino: a mix
Andrea: agreed
Arturo: I ask for two reasons:
1) *Somebody* is going to bitch — that much is for certain
2) Characters like Khan and the Klingons open a whole other set of questions
Diana: Like?
Arturo: I’ve heard the term “noble savages” thrown around the Klingons
Mahsino: really?
Arturo: yup
Andrea: i have too
Host’s Note: From the wiki: as the years rolled around,
The culture of the Klingons began to resemble revised western conceptions of “savages” such as the Zulu, Vikings and Native Americans—a proud, warlike and principled race.
Mahsino: Maybe they could negate the issue w/ white Klingons? Or multi-racial Klingons?
Arturo: Di: yeah, but I don’t think it was because of [Michael] Dorn
Andrea: the way he played the character served as a blueprint for the others, imo
Diana: True. I always thought Dorn was regal, not savage
Arturo: One thing that has been noted is that Klingons tended to be played by POC: Dorn, Tony Todd, even James Worthy
Mahsino: maybe it already happened in this alt-universe
Arturo: Maybe
Arturo: Worf was noble, but Klingons would make fun of him for being “too human.” Sound familiar?
Diana: Very. Can’t aliens just be themselves?

Arturo: And Khan … hell’s bells, man, who is *ever* going to fill Montalban’s (alleged) chest plate? Suggestions?
Andrea: for chest-ness…hmmmmm
Mahsino: How did the Bajorans ever come into play? They built a space station and I never heard of them before. Maybe we could explore that next movie?
Arturo: that could be interesting — if the timeline [holds up], they’d still be under Cardassian control at this point in history.
Diana: AJ–I have hit a wall’
Mahsino: Me too
Andrea: ’cause khan was the chest
Diana: No chests are coming to mind
Arturo: I’ll throw a name out there: Benjamin Bratt
Mahsino: eh
Arturo: I dunno about the chest, but I think dude could pull off the role
Diana: Jimmy Smits
Andrea: good start
Mahsino: Bratt will be forever tainted by Law and Order and that horrid the cleaner, not to mention Miss Congeniality
Andrea: though bratt killed in pinero.
Arturo: Hey, quinto was in Heroes.
Andrea: boris kodjoe (sp)
Arturo: who?
Mahsino: But Boris isn’t a good actor. He was in a Tyler Perry film- which is def a black mark for me
Diana: Yeah, he’s just eye candy
Diana: Dare I say Will Smith? I think he could pull that kind of crazy off
Arturo: I couldn’t see it.
Mahsino: maybe, and this is out there- but he has shown commitment in the past, Johnny Depp?
Arturo: Khan’s gotta be a villain. I mean, the guy who punks out Kirk on a regular basis
Diana: I would say Bana–but he just did his bit as Nero
Andrea: i think we may need to keep khan where he is in the canon
Diana: Hugh Jackman as Khan. I know I’m supposed to have a POC
Andrea: he’s got the chest, that hugh
Arturo: and the muttonchops
Mahsino: i could see it
Arturo: and, presumably, the need to make a *good* movie
Mahsino: and he is pretty tan. I can’t believe i just typed that
Andrea: after wolverine….yeah. but was khan supposed to be latino?
Arturo: Not explicitly – His full name is Khan Noonien Singh
Mahsino: i didn’t really get that vibe
Diana: No, but I can’t get Ricardo out of my head.
Mahsino: but it’s post-racial earth, so we can interpret anything from the name
Diana: How about Mo?
Mahsino: Mo could be good. he has the chest
Andrea: diana … get out of my head
Arturo: Please, no more voice-overs
Diana: But the voice is the best part
Andrea: and quinto can vouch for him
Diana: AJ: LOL
Mahsino: in his defense, his voice-overs are sometimes the best part of the show
Andrea: second. but yeah … sendhil for khan! ::raises champagne glass::
Arturo: he’s about the right age
Andrea: and the right chest
Mahsino: we should start a campaign
Diana: Let’s
Andrea: yay!
Diana: And he’ll need a job soon, the way Heroes is going
Andrea: right?
Diana: i mean, Heroes can’t afford to lose another star, but they can’t afford to lose any more viewers either. and st def helped rededicate me to Heroes
Mahsino: if only to see more quinto

Quick notes about Nero’s Ship
Diana: Nero was okay. I was more impressed with his ship.
Arturo: that ride needed a visit from Xzibit
Andrea: I looooooved the ship
Arturo: It looked like Don King’s hair.
Diana: OMG. LOL
Diana: It looked sort of like a tricked out afro pick
Andrea: diana….*DEAD*

spock2Andrea: soooo….arturo, anything else you wanna talk about re: iTrek?
Arturo: oh, wait – Open Mic! (unless you’ve said all you came to)
Diana: Well, I was pleased with the reboot. I was ready for more.
Mahsino: We need to see the alt-universe where everyone’s evil – i always loved those episodes
Arturo: hahaha, Goatee SySpock!
Andrea: y’all ain’t right.
Diana: Now I have to go back and watch those old episodes
Mahsino: and can we outlaw the phrases “this changes everything” and “not your fathers…”
Arturo: and Slusho
Diana: At least it’s not Picard going Make it so No. 1
Mahsino: did i miss “beam me up scotty”?
Arturo: they had to save *something* for the next flick
Mahsino: i can’t believe they missed the opportunity to overdo that gem
Arturo: we got “I’m givin’ her all she’s got!”
Diana: yep the audience clapped at that, arturo
Andrea: I thought the reboot was fun to watch. I’m glad JJ Abrams and crew were able to restore the series to its original optimistic ideals
Arturo: Andrea: It wasn’t just that they were optimistic — this crew *wanted* to do right.
Quite the contrast from the Heroes bunch.
Andrea: but I also hope this is the very last reboot/re-imagining I’ll eever see of this franchise.
Arturo: Just wait ’til they reboot Star Wars again!
Andrea: chile…they tried, remember that anakin mess?
Arturo: no, no, I mean a whole new Ep IV, V, VI. I’m calling it — The Rock as Han Solo!
Diana: The Rock as Khan
Arturo: Rocka Khan? *ducking*
Diana: LOL
Mahsino: boo
Andrea: ::throws something:::
Arturo: thank you, I’m here all week
Andrea: i don’t get the trekkie/star wars debate/argument
Mahsino: 2 diff animals really
Arturo: it’s a simple turf war
Diana: can’t they just get along
Andrea: and do a musical, a la west side story?
Arturo: You’ve never lived ’til you’ve seen gangs of Klingons and Stormtroopers staring each other down at a Con. There is always one of those moments
Diana: Ewoks and jazz hands
Mahsino: i just realized how racist wss is this year
Andrea: “when you’re a sith, you’re always a sith”
Arturo: sounds like a post!
Mahsino: but yeah, a musical could be kick ass
Arturo: if Joss Whedon writes it

ST character bios and logos courtesy of Memory Alpha

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

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