Race in Space: A Question

I’ve recently been involved in a few discussions regarding race in science fiction. The majority of the science fiction I’ve read in my four plus decades almost always featured white, male protagonists. It’s only in more recent years that I’ve been able to find more diversity – women and characters of different races. My own science fiction writing reflects what, for many years, was a lack of what I was always looking for. Several of my main characters are of mixed race, reflecting my view that as the centuries pass humanity’s races will interbreed more and more until it will be unusual to find someone who isn’t of mixed race.

But the discussions I’ve been involved in recently have led me to question my point of view. The question I’m asking myself now is will humanity ever get over its entrenched racism? Even if everyone were of mixed race, would certain mixes discriminate against others? Would people with lighter skin colors discriminate against darker or vice versa? Is my viewpoint, that once everyone is of mixed race then race will cease to matter, just me looking at the future while wearing rose-colored glasses? I don’t know the answer? What do you think? Links to books, online discussions, etc, would be much appreciated.

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Diane Dooley is the author of Blue Galaxy and the forthcoming books, Mako’s Bounty and Blue Nebula.

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7 comments

  1. I think people are always going to discriminate against those who are different no matter what.

  2. I agree with pippajay. There will always be discrimination. It might be, as you said, light skin vs. dark skin, but even if we mix to the point of racial irrelevance, people will still come up with something to discriminate against. Rich vs poor. People with one spouse vs people in group marriages. Genetically-modified vs natural. In my novel Stellarnet Rebel, there’s a discrimination against children and people who have children because of overpopulation and other social issues. And of course discrimination against aliens — of the extraterrestrial kind!

  3. The value of fiction is that is will always have the potential to challenge dysfunctional/maladaptive attitudes and beliefs. Regardless of the nature of entrenched racism at any given time, fiction (especially SF) can invite readers to question their assumptions and view issues in a new light.

    I like to believe that as long as there is racism or discrimination of any kind, someone, somewhere will use the power of the written word to expose and question it.

  4. [...] post on race in science fiction is up at Contact – Infinite [...]

  5. I too believe it will take humanity a long time to get over discriminating against one another. Once we have evolved (if we get that far!) then maybe things will change.

  6. Racism is not just about color its also about acting the way you think you are supposed to act instead of acting like a compassionate human. In other words, if you have never seen your parents or adults being respectful to a person who is different. You are not being taught from an early age something very important, how to care about others no matter how they look.

    You will instead act white,or black or whoever. Because that is what you were taught. Interacting with and even thinking about people who are different races will never be for real to you. (Another reason why until recently there were so few non-whites in Sci-Fi).

    If you can not get beyond the fact that in being white or whatever, you must behave like your race to maintain your place within it. You will never have a real interaction let alone a friendship with anyone who is different and thus no real compassion or understanding. So how can you teach understanding to your own children? This is a kind of trans-generational madness. We need to find a way out of it and

    Thank God some people do get this craziness and do have the guts to live differently.

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