Racial and gender stereotypes
Racial integration and tolerance
Purpose Statement: An examination of Star Trek TV series will reveal how it changed stereotypical perceptions of gender and race.
Characters from minority races were represented. The show had two characters from minority races i.e. Lieutenant Uhura was an African American and Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu was an Asian American.
There was a lady pilot and lieutenant in star trek. At the time the women were not considered capable of handling high positions in the military. Lieutenant Uhura played a high role in the military while in the Star Trek’s pilot episode “The Cage” another woman played second in command.
The characters from the various racial groups showed tolerance and accommodation as they all worked together towards the same mission.
It broke through the social standards of both gender and race. For example, globalization, colonialism, women rights, racial diversity and class.
One might observe that the series broke the existing racial and gender stereotypes by using the two lead characters. The show was the most racially diverse at the time.
In Star Trek, “Plato Stepchildren” episode showed Captain James T. Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura kiss.
That was the first ever interracial kiss on television.
There was hesitance from Captain James T. Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura to take this step as they did not know the repercussions from their fellow colleagues watching them.
This kiss represented racial freedom, women rights and racial tolerance and equality.
Interracial marriage was prohibited until 1967 and was unheard of hence this was considered a big milestone towards fighting that stereotype.
One might observe that the racial separations and stereotypes against sexual relations with people of other races was broken.
In Star Trek, “Deep Space Nine” and “Voyager,” the stereotypes against the races and gender were further broken.
In Star Trek, “Deep Space Nine,” an African American actor playing Benjamin Sisko was not only another black actor on the series but was also a commanding officer.
In Star Trek, “Voyager,” Captain Katheryn Janeway was the first lady to head a franchise when she played the role of commanding office.
The two scenes also show other more African Americans working for with the teams as well.
There is also evidence of co-operation in the war and their daily activities and the races worked together towards a common goal.
One might observe that as the series progressed the examples of cases having racial and gender stereotyping were frequently broken. This shows that the society was slowly accommodating each other and increased racial tolerance and increased women rights cases were observed.
The series shows that people of all races can work together, live together harmoniously and have similar capabilities. Racial integration and tolerance in inevitable in a globalized society.
Gender equality is another aspect ‘Star Trek’ aims at addressing. It showed that all genders can handle similar roles and responsibilities
Racial and gender stereotypes are ideally a huge determinant of the societal relations during the 1960s. The series aimed at addressing some of the social injustices existing at the time.
One might observe that the racial and gender stereotypes are unfounded and should be fought using any available means. There should be racial tolerance and gender equality in any modern society.
StarTrek.Dir. Gene Roddenberry, CBS Paramount International Television, 2004.22 DVDs.