Star Trek: Discovery’s Sonequa Martin-Green Addresses Racist Detractors

Lt. Michael Burnham presents as Vulcan

‘Star Trek’ Coming Back to Television

Star Trek Discovery, the latest series in the critically-acclaimed franchise, launches in September 2017.  It’s the first new Star Trek series to air on television since Enterprise finished its run in 2006.

As many fans agree, Star Trek is at its best when it’s on the small screen.  So you’d think that fans would all be excited about the upcoming Discovery series.  This turns out not to be the case, and for an unusual reasons coming from self-proclaimed fans.

Over the last month or so, the Internet has been ablaze surrounding Discovery‘s diversity.  We previously wrote in an opinion piece that we felt the series is not diverse enough.  That’s not what the talk was about; rather the opposite.  Some people feel that Star Trek Discovery is too diverse.  The phrase “white genocide” was even used in reference to the show’s minority crew members.

Of course this all completely flies in the face of what Star Trek is about once you peel back the thin veil of pretty starships and uniforms and pay attention to the actual plots of the episodes.  The new series has been decried as being made by SJWs (social justice warriors).  As if Star Trek: The Original Series wasn’t the original social justice warrior.

Star Trek Discovery Lead Speaks Up

In a recent interview with EW, Sonequa Martin-Green, leading star of the upcoming series, addresses these series critics.  There was much for her to say including dropping a dose of reality about the 51-year-running franchise.

What does Martin-Green have to say to the show’s racist detractors?  “Well, I would encourage them to key into the essence and spirit of Star Trek that has made it the legacy it is – and that’s looking across the way to the person sitting in front of you and realizing you are the same, that they are not separate from you, and we are all one.

Lieutenant Saru (Doug Jones), First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) - Star Trek: Discovery
Lieutenant Saru (Doug Jones), First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) – Star Trek: Discovery

Indeed this sentiment is one of the core tenants of Star Trek, and one that series-creator Gene Roddenberry held high.  Roddenberry believed that if humanity is ever to survive and thrive, we’d need to come together, settle our differences and embrace diversity.

That’s something Star Trek has always upheld and I completely believe that is why it’s been a mainstay in society in the hearts of so many people for so many decades. I would encourage them to look past their opinions and social conditioning and key into what we’re doing here – which is telling a story about humanity that will hopefully bring us all together… And it’s hard to understand and appreciate Star Trek if you don’t understand and appreciate that.

Martin-Green isn’t the first Star Trek Discovery actor to address the racist comments surrounding the show.  Co-star Anthony Rapp, who plays the show’s first openly-gay character, Lieutenant Stamets, also fought back on Twitter in his own non-direct way.  However Martin-Green is the first to speak at length about the issue.

Sonequa Martin-Green is the leading role on Star Trek Discovery
Sonequa Martin-Green is the leading role on Star Trek Discovery

Referring to inclusion, diversity, and understanding, she follows up by saying “it’s one of the foundational principles of Star Trek and I feel if you miss that then you miss the legacy itself. I’m incredibly proud to be the lead of this show and be at the forefront of an iteration of Star Trek that’s from the eyes of a black woman that’s never been done before, though obviously there’s been other forms of diversity that have been innovated by Trek. I feel like we’re taking another step forward, which I think all stories should do. We should go boldly where nobody has gone before and stay true to that.

Star Trek Discovery airs this September on CBS All Access in USA, Space and CraveTV in Canada, and on Netflix for the rest of the world.

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About Enrico Pastellio

Rico became a Star Trek fan after being introduced to it during Star Trek Enterprise's run. After finishing that series, he went back watching TNG, DS9, VOY, and most of the movies. He's a big fan of Star Trek (2009) for its action, but favors the cerebral nature of each tv series. When Rico first heard about the new Star Trek Discovery series (then just know as 'Star Trek'), he immediately wanted to start up a new site about the show. You can email him at enrico@ncc-1031.com.