And the Progress of Blacks in Hollywood Continues Apace By Roderick on June 22, 2008 12 Wow, it must be exciting for this guy … … to play a Cylon on Battlestar Galactica every week. Antiracism, Science Fiction
Is that Gunn from Angel?
Nope, that was August Richards; this is Rick Worthy.
You know, I was wondering where the heck that guy has been for a long time. What happened to him?!
My question exactly. All the other Cylons get fun stuff to do except Simon, who lately shows up only in the occasional background. (Well, okay, white male Doral hasn’t gotten much either — though still a bit more than Simon over the course of the series.)
Ok, let’s agree that Ron Moore can redeem his lefty credentials by reviving Simon as a flamboyantly gay Cylon who Anders falls in love with after fulling accepting his Cylon nature. If they pound it away for a few episodes in ’09, will all be forgiven?
You know, this post got me to thinking of that final episode of Firefly, “Objects in Space.” Having the dangerous, unstable, brutal, bounty hunter (who happens to be a large black man by the way) threaten a scared, innocent, white girl with rape, must have been an awkward moment in production. The show that was quite libertarian and progressive, dipping into a little subdued white fear annoyed me. Just a mite. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the episode. It was well acted (especially on the part of Jubal), and written, and it had all of those story/plot development techniques that I came to love about Firefly, it’s just… I wonder if that episode helped to make white folks more afraid of me and other men who happen to look like me? Did it set things back a bit, even if it was just a tiny bit?
Or am I looking at this the wrong way? Perhaps I’m so caught up on feeling a certain way about race relations in America (or by Americans) at times that I’m not seeing this as progress? I’ve been told by people that I should just lighten up about the whole race thing (and I already feel lighter than most… not in skin tone though, and the pun was not intended) and stop looking for bogeymen where there are none. That by seeing things through that paradigm I’m merely perpetuating the existence of the vice I’m trying to eliminate. Maybe I should be seeing the Jubal character as an example of such advanced progress, that he should be viewed merely as a character. Interchangeable with any other of any race. And that his characterization as a mother-centric, violent, disturbed, and probable rapist can simply be divorced from coincidental historical roots characterizing all men who look somewhat like he does in the same way. But I don’t think I’m able to. At least not yet.
I had a similar worry about the Firefly episode, and feel the same conflict in general re whether acting as though we’re already living in the future we want is helpful or harmful.
As comrade Lennon has said, “…I’m not the only one…” 😉
Who was it that said, “He who fights for the future lives in it”? Whoever said it, I tend to believe it. If not because it’s true, at least because it makes the life of advocacy of wildly unpopular positions livable.
I don’t like to think that I’m holding back the bright future that I advocate in the process of advocating it, and refuting things I view as discordant with that grand vision. But sometimes I can’t help it.
Times like that I usually stop, and try to avoid that end. Evasive? Yes, admittedly so, but I also don’t think I have time to delve into each of those little instances. Then again I might be subconsciously limiting my time in order to avoid a conclusion I won’t like. Does consciously knowing that I might be doing that lead to some kind of answer, or hint at one?
If I had to make up my mind I’d say I’ll view Jubal for now as a symbol of progress with the potential to be a negative. I can’t say I’ve gauged any general reactions to the character/episode so I can’t judge the effects. Ah well… thanks for reading my ramble Roderick.
Who was it that said, “He who fights for the future lives in it”?
Ayn Rand, as it happens!
Don’t we all wish for a future where dangerous, unstable, brutal black male bounty hunters can threaten scared innocent white girls with rape and not have it be about race? Ha, we can dream…
The thing that bothered me the most about that episode was how all of the living quarters could get locked from the outside. What was up with that?
I didn’t see that episode that way at all. It was Joss Whedon’s words and Richard Brooks’ acting that made Early menacing. Him being black had as little to do with it as the color of his spacesuit.
Still, there needs more Number Fours.