It looks like I got an infraction today by one of the moderators – who goes by the online name Mutai Sho-Rin – for speaking out against some racists (and some misinformed individuals) on the Trektoday BBS. Here is the conversation that took place:
You have received an infraction at The Trek BBS.
Not that I agree or disagree, you just jerked the thread off its intended path and are trying to get other posters to debate a broad racism claim here. “Drumline” for God’s sake?!
This infraction is worth 1 point(s) and may result in restricted access until it expires. Serious infractions will never expire.
Thank you for your email.
You mind if I post this infraction on my blog?
I’m actually going to create a Youtube video or separate blog – separate from Trek BBS of course – expanding on my pov as an African American Trek fan and the episode ‘Code of Honor.’
Mutai Sho-Rin’s reply:
I believe you are free to quote the message outside the board although I’m not sure as to what end. I must admit my surprise at your reaction though; I fully expected some anger from you due to your defensive sensitivity regarding racial issues.
As a 68 year old guy. born and raised in Kentucky, I was unfortunately awash in racism, sexism and homophobia from the moment I was born. I have stories. As I matured, I was fortunate enough to learn and experience the utter wrongness of all of those hateful beliefs and attitudes, the homophobia being the last domino to fall. Both my wife and I are activists in the equality battles, both here in Orange County and in our other home in Louisville. We have alienated family members and lost friends because of our vocal expressions, but have found many more friends across gender, racial/ethnic and GLBTQ segments of the world as a result.
I just wanted you to know where I was coming from, both in the thread and in real life.
And, my reply:
Thanks again for email Mutai Sho-Rin:
Indeed, I am upset, but – as a man who is nearly 40 years old and has significant life experiences of his own – I usually try to be diplomatic.
I’ve dealt with my share of racial experiences from the police, at schools, at work…and, as you see, I’m just as vocal about it online. (I do have a few Youtube videos that I’ve used in complaints against schools; complaints currently with the Department of Education).
I don’t want to feel that I’m hindered from speaking out as a bisexual man or an African American. There are a few on the Trek BBS who either don’t know their racist, or they do and they don’t mind trolling. And, while Trek has made a few strides here and there, judging from conversations on the boards and the many depictions that have spawned those conversations, we still have a long ways to go.
I do find the disclaimer interesting. He doesn’t ‘agree or disagree,’ but he feels the need to give me an infraction. Moreover, the fact that he has ‘something’ against the film “Drumline” (which was used to make a point in the thread I was posting in, whether or not someone likes it and whether or not it is deemed a quality film or not) which also went into his decision for the infraction.
It was also interesting in his disclaimer that he felt a need, albeit a random need, to give me a brief history of his personal activism. To which asked myself, “To what end?” (Of course, he would ask the same when I asked, out of courtesy, to put our conversation on my blog; the answer should have been obvious given what my blog is focusing on).
Of course, I’m seeing how this particular moderator acts in relation to other posters. As stated in my initial entry for this blog, some moderators don’t come off as open-minded or treat posters as fairly as they should. Like Mutai Sho-Rin (I always want to say “Mushu Pork” or “Murasaki”) I had dealing with a moderator named Karen Archer in the Enterprise boards (i.e. boards that focused on the show “Star Trek: Enterprise”) and she too basically was upset when I commented on another poster and his comments about black people. Not too mention, I almost expected Mutai Sho-Rin – that name! – to tell me the old cliche that he had ‘black friends.’
With this infraction, I was commenting on an episode where I felt it was a bold move to cast mainly black people. However, mainly white fans feel the episode is ‘racist’ because it has one of the aliens kidnap a ‘white’ officer, and it has one of the aliens infatuated with said officer, and it has the white female officer in love with the dark-skinned alien. (Yeah, I can see how racist that episode might be! Maybe for the KKK!) You also have some white fans saying that the aliens are tribal and that the depiction in ‘Code of Honor’ – the TNG episode that was being debated on – is something from 1940s.
It’s interesting how some whites watch a Trek episode then deem themselves experts on black individuals and the black experience. :) And, with this much debated episode from Season 1 “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” it’s mainly white who complain about this episode…or project their own racism in berating this episode. It’s further interesting to note: We never saw a predominately dark-skinned planet ever again in the series.
I saw nothing ‘tribal’ in the episode, nor was it said in the episode these dark-skinned folk were tribal. Apparently, banging on a drum makes dark-skinned folks ‘tribal.’ (Cue my example of the film “Drumline”!) Too, it’s interesting – I keep on using ‘interesting’ – how these white fans act like individuals being in a tribe is something bad. You have Native Americans, Africans, Asians, South Americans still in tribes today. (Talk about ‘white supremacy’ and racism!)
Too, with all the racism claims, we never hear about things that ‘challenge’ white supremacy’ in “Star Trek.” For instance, you don’t hear much about the blue-skinned aliens called the Andorians referring to humans as ‘pinkskins’ (saying that humans are basically ‘white’) or that all Asian women are automatically paired up with a white male, or that the black characters in Trek are usually made to ‘stay with their kind.’