June 20, 2006

Star Trek's multicultural fallacy

'Neutralising the Indian': Native American Stereotypes in Star Trek: VoyagerStar Trek’s effort to produce an environment of equality and pluralism in space fails because it uses the assimilationist model for the Federation—described as 'a homo sapiens only club' by the Klingon Ambassador’s daughter in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country [1991]. Any ‘alien’ that comes in contact with the organisation, or even the minority members of the cast, is made subordinate to a self-evident superiority. Newfield and Gordon (1996: 81) call this sort of assimilationism ‘assimilationist pluralism’ because it insists on conformity to the core even if it professes its belief in plurality. Henceforth Star Trek’s ‘IDIC’ ideology assumes then that everyone is equal in their diverse attributes but only if they are willing to accept the white dominated cultural control that the Federation symbolises. Star Trek’s multiculturalism is a fallacy and yet because it is assumed that Star Trek mediates a positive multicultural message, the thin layer of racial stereotyping and inequality is hidden.

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