LATINA SCI-FI NERD ASKS: DO LATINOS MAKE IT TO THE FUTURE?
I don’t recall, exactly, how it was that I found “Star Trek,” but I remember that it was something I always looked forward to. By the time I found it, the original “Star Trek” had been off the air for a while, and “The Next Generation” was in production, and that’s the show I looked forward to every week.
A future where hard, manual labor disappears, along with racism and sexism? Sign me up!
Of course, as I got older, and re-watched some of the episodes, I began to see that my initial youthful impressions weren’t exactly complete. Even though there were women present in these adventures, they were largely on the sidelines and often needed to be rescued by their male counterparts. And even though there were a few episodes where I shrieked with delight that a Latino made it to the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, it still seems like white people dominate the future.
Do Latinos make it to the future?
It seems like anytime Latinos do make it to the future, it’s some sort of dystopian version, where the world is a mess, so it’s okay to have brown people in the movies. “Blade Runner” featured Edward James Olmos. “Elysium” included a Latino-heavy future LA. Of course in a nice, more perfect LA featured in “Her,” there are almost no non-white people to be found in the whole city — what happened in that future?
There are other examples, of course, but when I grew up, it was disappointing to realize that, even the utopian world of “Star Trek” has a race problem. Because when you compare the actual future of the Earth — more brown and mixed people than white people — to many SciFi depictions, it’s almost like we’re all still living on earth. Of course not all science fiction is like that.
My friend Jesús Treviño (publisher of Latinopia!) was good enough to introduce me to Octavia Butler, who opened my eyes to an entirely new kind of SciFi — one where both women and non-whites get to be the saviors, the heroes of mankind. I remember thinking when I was reading her book that it was one of the most remarkable things I’d ever read — that a black woman would be mankind’s savior, as opposed to some starving waif with big, blue doe eyes that Hollywood thinks people want to see.
And that’s what I think about, when I ask myself whether Latinos are going to make it to the future. Sure they are. I hope Hollywood can catch up sometime soon.
Copyright 2014 by Sara Inés Calderón.
la vida es dura, pero es bella