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Picard Season 3

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Tokenism is just a fancy way of saying, "I think that people that have traditionally been underrepresented need to clear a higher bar to have the same representation as white hetero men." And when you put it like that, instead of saying "token," it not only becomes more clear, it becomes much more distasteful.
Characters from underrepresented groups having to work twice as hard for the same credit is part of the structural racism (or sexism, or any other prejudicial mindset) that actors face from those groups. Constantly.
And anyone involved in creating those characters or including them have to face the criticism that if their identities are emphasized, they're tokens, if they're just treated as normal and background, they're xxx-baiting for clicks without really representing. Nobody gets a break.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Characters from underrepresented groups having to work twice as hard for the same credit is part of the structural racism (or sexism, or any other prejudicial mindset) that actors face from those groups. Constantly.
And anyone involved in creating those characters or including them have to face the criticism that if their identities are emphasized, they're tokens, if they're just treated as normal and background, they're xxx-baiting for clicks without really representing. Nobody gets a break.
What does xxx-baiting for clicks mean? The way I see it, if it's just treated as normal then it emphasizes the equality angle. Isn't that what we want?
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
On a separate note, are you supposed to give a poorly written character a pass because they are XYZ? Sometimes I feel like you are, and I'm having a hard time understanding it.
What constitutes poorly written? That's a very broad criticism and it's also clear that it's used to cover a pretty broad variety of other prejudices by internet critics. How notable or exceptional does a character have to be to be well-written? Do all of the main characters have to be the Renaissance People of Next Generation - capable of singing, dancing, playing jazz trombone, and well-read in both pulp fiction AND high end mathematics? Or can they be normal schmoes like on the Orville?
 



billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
What does xxx-baiting for clicks mean? The way I see it, if it's just treated as normal then it emphasizes the equality angle. Isn't that what we want?
You see a lot of accusations of queer baiting because there's a brief, in-passing reference to something that indicates a character is LGBT+. For example, Sulu having a husband and child in Star Trek: Beyond or a same sex couple of supporting characters in Rise of Skywalker. You just show it as a normal thing, you get criticized for not making it central enough. You make it central, you get accused of tokenism by the other side. No winning.
 

Tokenism is just a fancy way of saying, "I think that people that have traditionally been underrepresented need to clear a higher bar to have the same representation as white hetero men." And when you put it like that, instead of saying "token," it not only becomes more clear, it becomes much more distasteful.
I mean, that's one way of putting it, sure, but that's not the argument being made.

The argument being made, whether we agree with it or not, is that if a minority character is enjoyed by the audience, the tokenism point will be ineffective.

In the end it's a slightly irrelevant argument either, I would argue, because it's a symptom not a cause. It doesn't really matter if a character is called a "token" or called "boring", because it represents the same thing.

The audience didn't like them. It's just that if they're a minority character, some people (usually white men) rationalize their dislike with words like "token", and whilst that's perhaps unhelpful, again, it's a symptom, not a cause.

I don't think being a minority is as much of a bar to the audience liking them as @Paul Farquhar seems to be, by the way. Like, let's look a situation where Michael is white, and otherwise everything is identical. Would people like the character more? I don't think so.

So you could say "All you're arguing is misogyny is stronger than racism", okay what we made Michael a white man, and gender-flipped Ash and so on? Would people like the character then? No. I still don't think so. But what would change is people would call the character "boring" more and "token" wouldn't come up.

So I would say what this really comes down to, once we swish away the smokescreen caused by tokenism arguments, is that certain characters don't connect will with the audience, and that this is largely unrelated to their minority status or lack thereof. You can see this very easily with all sorts of minority characters who do connect with audiences including ones far more conservative than that of VOY. You also don't see more people liking, say, Adira when an audience is less conservative. But their terminology/rationalizations for why they don't connect with the character might change.
 

You see a lot of accusations of queer baiting because there's a brief, in-passing reference to something that indicates a character is LGBT+. For example, Sulu having a husband and child in Star Trek: Beyond or a same sex couple of supporting characters in Rise of Skywalker. You just show it as a normal thing, you get criticized for not making it central enough. You make it central, you get accused of tokenism by the other side. No winning.
Yeah there are shows which can fairly be accused of queer-baiting, but not many. 90% of the time if someone brings it up on social media they're showing that they're just trying to score internet points for internet clout.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
What constitutes poorly written? That's a very broad criticism and it's also clear that it's used to cover a pretty broad variety of other prejudices by internet critics. How notable or exceptional does a character have to be to be well-written? Do all of the main characters have to be the Renaissance People of Next Generation - capable of singing, dancing, playing jazz trombone, and well-read in both pulp fiction AND high end mathematics? Or can they be normal schmoes like on the Orville?
Speaking of the Orville, and I believe it was referenced above, Charlie from season 3 was an excellent character. She was a lesbian, and that was certainly referenced, but her character arc was specifically about how she dealt with the loss of her romantic interest in regards to her feelings of anger and hatred towards Isaac and his people, ultimately leading to her coming around and forgiving Isaac and a heroic sacrifice.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
You see a lot of accusations of queer baiting because there's a brief, in-passing reference to something that indicates a character is LGBT+. For example, Sulu having a husband and child in Star Trek: Beyond or a same sex couple of supporting characters in Rise of Skywalker. You just show it as a normal thing, you get criticized for not making it central enough. You make it central, you get accused of tokenism by the other side. No winning.
Well, I can only speak for myself, but I certainly don't think a normalized view of XYZ is a problem. Like I said, I thought that what we wanted.
 

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