The Thing I Like About …

Star Trek:  everybody brought the “old country” with them.

In Star Trek, if someone’s distant ancestor is from Africa, why, then, that person still speaks that language and dresses in the traditional garb and remembers the traditional myths and stories.  If that person is from France, or Russia, or Japan, or Vulcan, then everything about that place – its culture, its people, its history – is embodied within them as though the conformity of the Star Trek world is the same as the conformity of their workaday uniform, and as easily removed.  Everyone gets along; if they don’t, it’s because of the great social equalizers:  card games, love triangles, and arguments over their favourite physicist.  If groups in the shows/films are not getting along, then they are “the bad guys” – but their culture or dress or language or appearance is never judged.  They are judged solely on the basis of not being able to play well with others.

People from different planets marry one another and create offspring that can look completely bizarre but who are entirely accepted from birth to death.  Blue skin?  No problem.  Green blood?  No problem.  Giant head ridges and a predilection for living food?  Awesome.  Black, white, multi-limbed, psychic?  Fantastic.  Everyone is accepted, and no one “conforms” … in fact, Star Trek is a celebration of the preservation of culture and diversity.  And that’s in the military; the regular population must look like a giant tangled mass of skittles.  Yet there is peace.  There is honour and respect.  There is rational conflict resolution (except for card games, love triangles, and physicists).  Much importance is placed on each person representing his or her ancient cultural roots, even as they all come together to make a whole.  In fact, the worst “bad guys” in the show are the ones who want to assimilate everyone and take their uniqueness away.

I know it’s just a television show, but I see how much of it has come true: the cellphones and Kindles and medical scanning equipment; the growing acceptance of people of all colours, genders, and creeds.  They said in 1967 that the Communicator was science fiction, but I have one next to me on my writing desk.

I think if we can imagine it – this Star Trek world of diversity and acceptance, of peace and freedom – then we can build it.  If we can dream it, we can be it.

Who’s with me?


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