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  1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Could racial-sex issues still exist in a sci-fi setting?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Link the Writer, Aug 31, 2011.

    (Just so that we're clear, I'm talking about humans, not the aliens)

    This is what I think about racial issues in a sci-fi universe:

    Depending on how far into the future it's set, it's possible that racial issues are no longer a thing. It could be possible that by that time, the concept of class and who's better than who has gone away.

    Still, human nature. It's natural for a human to think he/she is better, even more supreme than someone else for whatever reason. While someone, say a crewman, won't actually voice displeasure for risk of loosing his/her job, they may do subtle things such as slacking off on duties, neglecting to do certain things, or even 'forgetting' to look the captain in the eye or saluting.

    Even in today's world, there are still racial tensions even though, thankfully, it's no longer legal to segregate people due to race. (well, as far as I know, really...)

    As for sex issues. By sex issues I mean gender.

    Again, for the most part, we live in a world where men and women are seen as equals. We're no longer in the era where it was acceptable to tell the women they couldn't do anything but housework.

    Could those same issues exist in a sci-fi universe?

    In my opinion, I think so. If anything else, human nature will endure. People, even if it's just small groups, will still think they're better than others.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry to inform you, but you need to wake up. The western culture say women are equal, but they are not. True, women can have the same jobs as men now, but they often don't get paid the same as men for doing the same job. A lot of people frown upon female mechanics, women in the military, even female doctors, just like a lot of people frown upon male nurses, male kindergarden teachers etc. And ask yourself this: Who's making dinner in your home? Maybe you are a special case where the man makes the dinner, but it's usually the woman. Who does the cleaning in your house? Who does the laundry?

    And what about other cultures? Ask the women in Iran if men and women are equal. ;)

    And as for racism, it has always been here and will always be here. Even when we were cavemen who didn't even have a language as we know it, we were racists. Why do you think the neanderthals died out? They didn't. They were killed by the "superiour race", so to say. Us. Homo sapiens.

    The point is sexism and racism will always be here. Even if we travel across the universe, colonize a thousand planets and meet hundreds of alien species, we will still be fighting among ourselves.
     
  3. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    You create the universe. Anything can exist. Look at Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale for sci-fi where gender issues definitely exist. Look at Simon Morden's Equations of Life for sci-fi where a sort of tribalism that's a mixture of racism and nationalism exists.
     
  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    @ Writer- Oh...

    Sorry 'bout that. I didn't think of it.
     
  5. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Heh, don't worry about it. I'm just saying the world wants to be all friendly and equal, but the reality is far worse than most people realize. So why should a sci-fi setting be any better? ;)
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I see.

    I guessed...

    ...I shan't put my foot in my mouth this time. XD
     
  7. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Then there's also the matter of reverse racism and (I've never heard the term before used this way though) reverse sexism.

    It doesn't matter what your opinions on these things are - the truth of the matter is that people will generally discriminate on something, regardless of whether it is justified or not, whether who is right or wrong, and so forth, simply because people are different. Racism didn't exist in its modern form in not-so-recent times, yet I don't think any of us would claim that the Romans or Egyptians were extremely open-minded and welcoming of all cultures - they just had different criteria when it came to discrimination against others.

    Discrimination can come in many forms, and perhaps racial or sex issues don't exist in your story, but there could be discrimination based on religious beliefs (or lack thereof), philosophical ideologies, different academic subjects, age groups, socio-economic status, region one is from, cultural identity, and so forth.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Putting the word "reverse" in there is a mistake. Racism is racism; sexism is sexism.

    As to the OP, there is certainly no reason you couldn't have as bigoted or racist a society as you want in the future.
     
  9. A J Jaafari
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    A J Jaafari Member

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    It's kind of fun to imagine new things that people might invent to discriminate against...

    Of course the classics are race, gender, national origin, language, religion, disability, economic status, etc... There's also military vs. civilians, educated vs. not...

    I just watched a play where an accountant is given a calculator as an anniversary gift. As an accountant, I can tell you that wouldn't fly with me. Maybe creative vs. logical would be an angle that hasn't been explored. Obviously the playwright just had a stereotype of accountants, and it made me wonder if he'd ever met one.

    - A J
     
  10. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    YES. It just might look slightly different...
     
  11. Shahar
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    Shahar Member

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    Well, sexism comes in many different ways even, as you said, towards men. Just as some expect the woman to clean or cook - men are often expected to provide and even pay for dates. We say we want equality but when it comes to our obligations in life we often feel like there are two sides. Its been like that for years.
    Sure, I can see why in the future, as societies progress and technology keeps cancelling the boundries between civilizations, sexism might get extinct but it might even get worse, or maybe even stay the same. Your story is your world, you get to decide.
     
  12. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Yes. Society will always envision different roles for each gender. Men will never be envisioned as the ideal attractive cheerleader and women will never be depicted as a hard-working entrepreneur with a business model that shakes the world.

    Of course, when either do make the news society will pass it off as a outlier and accredit the accomplishment to the proper gender and reenforce its ideals. One gender has to be dominant and has to focus on what it does. This is how civilization came about - specialization. Without roles civilization falls apart.
     
  13. Shahar
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    Shahar Member

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    I just want to add that even in the animal kingdom different genders take different roles. But I dont believe that without dictated roles society will fall apart. As a couple, the man and the woman can debate and decide what works form them, it doesnt have to be dictated by society.
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I seem to recall some science fiction having some very strong prejudice based on what planet a human came from.
     
  15. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Good point, but for most people they automatically associate racism with that towards non-white people, and sexism with that towards females, even though of course racism can be towards any race and sexism towards any gender.


    Anyhow, in a sci-fi setting, there could also be technological prejudice. Well, that's not to say that already existed in our own world - different cultures discriminated against other cultures because of a perceived technological inferiority (justified or not! oftentimes the supposed technological inferiority was simply caused by a misunderstanding of the other cultures' capabilities and achievements). IN a sci-fi setting, additionally, some people might have things like microchips implanted or some kind of mental or physical alterations to make themselves have superior abilities, and these people might look down upon those who don't have such alterations. There might also be people - like the Amish and so forth - who refuse to take part in the new technolgoies, and those people might be viewed as superstitious or primitive.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    History repeats.

    Think like a writer.

    Instead of asking *us* "What if?" Ask yourself. What kinds of situations could bring about mistrust or bias, or even overprotectiveness?

    Now make a story out of it.
     
  17. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I agree with most everyone else. History will repeat itself because humans are flawed. It's how we roll. lol

    It's unfortunate and ugly but it's also true. Look at now and look back. We've just made some things illegal or more frowned upon. Just because we've become more "civilized" doesn't mean it stops. Just a week or two ago I got cat called by a couple guys. They were pretty aggressive about it. Luckily my bf was there and frightened them off with an angry look.

    Point is sexism will never die. Neither will racism.
     
  18. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even if racism is eradicated within the next 100 years, it may appear again, in the future, for new reasons.

    The term "reverse sexism" is unnecessary, because sexism has always gone both ways. Where I live, the woman almost always gets custody of the children when joint custody is not possible. Obviously, even the people who believe themselves to be free of prejudice, still believe women are more suited to take care of children.

    Twilight-lovers and Harry Potter-lovers?
     
  19. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Human nature is what it is and people will always form groups, identify with one group and look down upon another. That's just the nature of the beast. But have you considered that sci fi futures gives you the chance to discover whole new groups to be prejudiced against? Even genders.

    Consider, technology may allow complete gender reassignment, i.e. men to women to men etc. Its not impossible that the new transgender assigned people may find themselves the target of prejudice since they already are, and technology may allow this community to be far larger and more flamboyant then before.

    Also, though it may seem strange, other sexual orientations may be possible in the future, hermaphroditism for example.

    If you want to imagine what may be possible in terms of altering the human form, I'd suggest reading Sight of Proteus, by Charles Sheffield. The science isn't good, but the implications of the science are thought provoking.

    Cheers,
     
  20. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    Not only could these issues exist in a sci-fi setting, they often do. Many writers take the issues of their time and apply it to their story in the future. When it's done well it's wonderful, and done poorly it's called something like 1950's syndrome.
     
  21. NaughtyNick
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    NaughtyNick Member

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    Is there anybody on this forum not writing a sci fi/fantasy story?
     
  22. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think there already is something similar to this... people who have a thing for pre-op transsexuals.
     
  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Writers tend to have more than one project going on, and said projects tend to spread out to different genres. ;)
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    see my reply to the similar question in the 'am i the only one' thread...


    as for the question posed by the op here (Could racial-sex issues still exist in a sci-fi setting?) my response is, 'why wouldn't they?'
     
  25. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    I think that's broadening the definition of racism just a teensy bit.

    Homosapiens had better adaptability and a larger capacity for thought and reasoning. They didn't actively try to prevent neandrathals from eating wolly mammoth in the same cave or save on car insurance with the same company.

    You may as well say that dolphins are racist for beating up and attacking porposes. Race doesn't come into it. It's natural for two species to compete for dominance.
     
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