The portrayal of Blacks and minorities in Science Fiction or “Are Klingons Black?”

I ask the age old question "are Klingons Black?" and take a look at the portrayal of other ethics groups here at my Hugh-Cipher blog https://hucipher.wordpress.com

This is a question thought about a lot...asked about quite a bit but danced around by many

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Complicated question, but the short answer is, “No.”

 

In any TV show there are “reel world” considerations and “real world” considerations. During the Original Series, budget was always a problem and the Klingons were made “swarthy” with “Fu Manchu” facial hair and they were analogs for the Soviet Union/Russians (right up to the last TOS movie The Undiscovered Country). It was essentially white actors in blackface.

 

In the first TOS movie (Star Trek: The Motion Picture), with a bigger budget (“real” world) it was decided to give the Klingons a “makeover” and we started moving toward what we think the Klingons are “supposed” to look at. They were still played by white actors.

 

When The Next Generation debued, the Klingons got a second makeover and thanks to Michael Dorn’s casting as Worf, for the first time they were played by actors of color (among them Tony Todd and Ron Canada). Since the Klingons had always been “swarthy” (for whatever reason) the white actors were “melanated.”

 

With Star Trek: Discovery, the Klingons get a third makeover, this time played by actors of various ethnicity and that being reflected in the Kingons themselves. They are no longer “Russian surrogates.” (They’re now “Trump sympathizers?”) But they were never supposed to be “black.”

 

(In fact, in the history of the series, there has only been one specifically “black” alien species, in the Next Generation episode “Code of Honor,” an experience that was so bad the cast asked that it not be broadcast. But that’s another story…)

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