Another Open Letter to the Star Trek Community

To the Star Trek Community,

We need to talk. Again.

There have been goings on within our community that threaten to destroy the very foundation of the fandom. This very real and present threat exists in more places than previously believed, and as such, needs to be addressed. Again.

Earlier this year, Miranda Deebrah crafted An Open Letter to the Star Trek Community, imploring those within it to do the hard work of deconstructing harmful narratives and practices against BIPOC. This open letter not only recounted the author’s own painful experiences in the fandom, but implored folks who hold positions of power to be actively anti-racist in everything that they do going forward.

This should be a no-brainer for Trekkers. The whole entire point of Gene Roddenberry envisioning humanity in the future, was to explore the full potential of what we can achieve and learn how those actions can serve to better us as a species. Many doors have been opened and boundaries shattered in the wake of Star Trek’s influence, but there seems to be a collective of individuals who refuse to adapt alongside the evolution of our society. This group has lost its domineering visibility within the Trek universe, and is reacting to such with vehemence that frankly, has no place here.

Yes: Discovery is decidedly void of cisgender, heterosexual, Caucasian men this season. Cis het white men are both seen and featured in most other forms of media, so why are so many getting so bent out of shape that other groups (finally) have the spotlight? The privileged will always, always feel oppressed when others gain access to that privilege. In fact, equality often feels like oppression to someone who has benefited from the oppression of others. But what this collection of people and their bruised egos fail to realize, is that this sort of change is absolutely crucial to the development of humanity here and now. There is no guaranteed future for humanity, especially if we can’t bring ourselves to do the hard work of self-reflection in the present.

It brings to mind a quote from everyone’s favorite Vulcan, Ambassador Spock: “Change is the essential process of all existence.” Famed astrophysicist Carl Sagan went on to accentuate the sentiment in a much more ominous manner: “Extinction is the rule, survival is the exception.” If we cannot bring ourselves to change the way we treat others and/or the way we view ourselves and our roles in this society, how can we definitively ensure the longevity of our existence?

Yes: Discovery, Picard, and Lower Decks are not your grandmother’s Trek. Depending on your age bracket, those shows aren’t even your mother’s Trek. But guess what? They were never supposed to be. The world has changed and everyone has changed with it, so why should a fictional construct like Star Trek remain the same as well? Instead of yearning for the homogeneity of yesteryear, why not adapt and adjust to the multi-faceted, radiant, and sparkling jewel of the present?

Deconditioning will always be difficult work. It can be messy, ugly at times, and forces us to confront ideals that we may have been harboring for any number of reasons. But whatever the reasons bigotry and prejudice were instilled in us, it is our responsibility as human beings to do the work to combat the wretchedness of xenophobia. It is also our unspoken duty as Star Trek fans to set the example. Otherwise, how dare we call ourselves followers of this Roddenberrian philosophy? How can we claim to be fans of this groundbreaking work of art if we do not embody its principles?

We emphasize and reiterate Miranda Deebrah’s call for “ALL white members of the Star Trek Community — creators, platform curators, prominent fans and figures, including and especially Star Trek cast members, past and present — who believe in the underlying mission and vision of Star Trek to formally denounce all forms of racism and bigotry and those who uphold such abhorrent beliefs; I call on you to condemn the actions of those who have harmed Black and Indigenous people, and all People of Colour (BIPOC); and I call on you to strive to do more and do better for the sake of BIPOC in both the Star Trek community and in your own lives who have been subjected to racism. Finally, I encourage you to urge your supporters in this community to do the same, particularly those who are now finally waking up to the injustices perpetrated against BIPOC.”

The crew of Women at Warp believe in and continue to uphold the importance of the philosophy “Intersectional Diversity in Infinite Combinations.” Members of marginalized communities will not fade silently into the wings once the pandemic is over. You may be uncomfortable, but we implore you all, as fans and as humans, to do the work. It’s sloppy, and painful, but it will always, always be worth it.

  9 comments for “Another Open Letter to the Star Trek Community

  1. I have to say I don’t see these issues I m looking for good stories, good acting and with Star Trek something which should be in the credo. My criticisms of Star Trek would be about being to formulaic which limits what you can do with character. Crews are nearly always to large.

    That Burnham is played by S M-G who happens to be whatever is not important. The question is, is the idea of the lead not being the Captain imaginative and fresh Yes. it gave us some lovely twists. I am not really a fan of her performance but then neither am of Mary Wisemen or the other bridge crew.

    Doug, Anthony and Wilson gave superb performances this season. I think David came in and hit the ground running and going forwarding in time was an excellent idea. Thats how I look at the show not what was anyones ethnicity gender or anything else, it makes no odds. Scripts are good or bad, ideas are good or bad, actors and their characters are good or bad,

    Oh and the antagonist Osyraa felt like a girl at the office with an attitude kind of performance I never believed she was really threatening.

    On the whole the ideas and stories of Discovery are much better than the performances for me.

  2. The ‘Roddenberrian’ philosophy is INFINITE Diversity in Infinite Combinations. Not ‘intersectional’. Makes it sound like a chesterfield.

    Other than that little nitpick, spot-on.

    • Thanks Scott. Just to clarify – “Intersectional diversity in Infinite combinations” is a spin on the original that we use for our podcast tagline. You can learn more about that here.

  3. Hear hear. My mother’s Trek was a bunch of white guys with a vague nod to minorities tooling around in a spaceship made of imperialist power fantasy and colonial racism. It belongs in the past. IDIC!

  4. I love Trek… ALL of it,..TNG, DS9, and Voyager was my generation of Trek, but I still love everything from TOS to lower decks and still watching Discovery every week,. And I love it..i am against racism and discrimination absolutely but honestly I never cared about the characters sexuality ir gender identification ..i enjoy the characters

  5. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations—yes, it is past the time that this scourge be put to death. Until it dies in man’s heart, it will only continue to resurface.

  6. I’m a 61 year old straight white male, who grew up on the Original Series. And I’d like to say this article is spot on. I agree 100%. If you don’t live and breathe Roddenberry’s original vision, you simply don’t get it. People, think back to Spock’s original Vulcan IDIC – Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. It’s beautiful. Kennedy Allen–keep trekkin’!

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