[The reaction Sisko has in Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang towards the invitation to help Vic really breaks immersion for me. I understand the actor makes a point about the civil rights movement. But in the 24th century he should not be emotional about an injustice 300 years in the past, nor should separate himself from non-black humans like he does with Kasidy. Humans are one species. This would be as if I would emotionally object to go to a renaissance-fair because my ancestor suffered under serfdom.]
Except absolutely nothing like that, because when this episode aired in the 1990s, we were only 30 years removed from the 1962 of Vic Fontaine’s Las Vegas. And we were still living in a racist society, like we are currently STILL living in a racist society. “I understand the actor makes a point about the civil rights movement” is also one of the most obtuse responses I’ve ever seen to acknowledging that racism existed in the past and still exists. In case you haven’t noticed, feudalism died a long time ago (please no pure Marxists come in and AKSHULLY me here, you will just sound horrible).
This was a conversation between two black characters discussing their reservations about playing in a world that excluded them.
Plus, “because my ancestor suffered from serfdom.” Do you know that? Is there anything visible about you that marks you as “serf?” Because you can look at Ben Sisko, from New Orleans, USA, and know that he descends from Black Americans that suffered racism. That he possibly descended from slaves.
It was one scene that acknowledged HISTORICAL REALITY and you, 21st century, are not meant to be as thoughtful and reflective as the more evolved 24th century Ben Sisko, to whom his history as a black man was important. Which is clear. Ben Sisko is way more evolved if this is an actual problem you had with a Star Trek show. Because guess what – the point of Star Trek is not just for you to “escape.” It is, with the exception of the morally empty reboots and ENT, what Sci-Fi should be: social commentary.
This is a bad confession and you should feel bad. I see why you didn’t want to say it publicly.
All of this. Plus, as others have pointed out, Sisko literally experienced the reality of 1950s Earth in “Far Beyond the Stars” the year before. It makes sense for his character to have more awareness of this!
Also, OP “understands the actor makes a point” ffs, they don’t delve into it a great deal, but in The Next 25 Years Avery talks about the racism he experienced on the Paramount lot, while starring on DS9, and Terry talks about an incident she witnessed at a convention when she was with Avery. This sure as fuck isn’t some abstract distant concept for him, or for the black viewers at home!
REALLY good point about how Sisko has firsthand experience and I don’t know why I never made that connection!
It’s also worth noting that everyone involved with “Far Beyond the Stars” from actors to writers to directors stressed that it wasn’t a 1950s story, it was a today story, an American story. And given how Jake’s young man character in that episode is slaughtered by police for basically nothing makes the episode more present than ever.
Avery Brooks is an absolute gift to DS9 and literally had the ending of the show changed to calibrate the social optics and Sisko is forever my captain for both making the great more speeches but also challenging the pure virtues of humanity, especially in history.