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parallaxicality
2006-Jun-23, 09:56 AM
Anyone who has read my posts for an extended period will probably conclude I get them alot. :) Bear with me. I'm walking on eggshells here.

I was just looking up Wikipedia's utterly preposterous entry on "grey goo", and blinked abruptly when it concluded that, in addition to grey goo, the world faced destruction from the uncontrolled replication of "pink goo," that is, mankind. Pink goo is a much slower yet far more adaptable replicator, and had the potential, so it claimed, to spread out and conquer the galaxy.

Wait a minute. Pink goo? Surely mankind isn't only pink? Then it hit me. Whoever came up with that concept never even envisaged that non-white people would eventually leave the planet and travel into space. All of a sudden I began to see it everywhere. Foundation, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica. Wherever you look, the universe belongs to the white guys. Oh sure, you get the occasional token character, someone with black, hispanic or Asian appearance, but you never get any Africans, hispanics or Asians. I've never seen a San bushman running a starship. I've never seen a Tupi Guarani on a space station. I've never even seen a Nigerian in a Lunar colony.

That's when I had my really weird thought.

How realistic is this vision? So far, the vast majority of spacefarers have been white. With the rise of China, we are likely to see the racial diversity of space travel broaden slightly, but are we likely, should we ever establish an extraterrestrial colony, to see it populated mainly by white people? How would this effect race relations in the future? Would there be a return to the racial justifications of the past, as the white and/or Asian spacefarers look down (literally) on those other races left on Earth?

Feel free to delete this.

Māori
2006-Jun-23, 10:39 AM
Grey goo has several whimsical cousins, differentiated by their colors and raisons d'Ítre. Most of these are not as commonly referred to as grey goo, however, and the definitions are informal:

Golden Goo is the backfiring of a get-rich-quick scheme to assemble gold or other economically valuable substance.[citation needed]

Black Goo is goo that has been designed to carry a plague and intentionally unleashed into a populated area.[citation needed]

Red Goo is goo unleashed intentionally by terrorists, a doomsday weapon, or a private individual who wishes to commit suicide with a bang.[citation needed]

Khaki Goo is goo intended by the military to wipe out somebody else's continent, planet, etc.[citation needed]

Blue Goo is goo deliberately released in order to stop some other type of grey goo. It might well be the only solution to such a disaster, and would hopefully be better controlled than the original goo.[citation needed]

Pink Goo is mankind. It replicates relatively slowly, but some people think it will nevertheless fill any amount of space given enough time. In the pink goo worldview the spread of humanity is a catastrophe and space exploration opens up the possibility of the entire galaxy or the universe getting filled up with Pink Goo - the ultimate crime, something to be stopped at any cost.[citation needed]

Green Goo is goo deliberately released, for example by ecoterrorists, in order to stop the spread of Pink Goo, either by sterilization or simply by digesting the pink goo. Some form of this, along with an antidote available to the selected few, has been suggested as a strategy for achieving zero population growth. The term originates from the science fiction classic, Soylent Green.[citation needed]

You're kind of taking the "color of goo" out of context, from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_goo), and giving it a literal meaning. :eh:

NEOWatcher
2006-Jun-23, 11:48 AM
You're kind of taking the "color of goo" out of context, from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_goo), and giving it a literal meaning. :eh:
Plus, this is more a question of comparing SciFi to reality. Me thinks it should be in Small Media at Large (http://www.bautforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=16)

Swift
2006-Jun-23, 12:58 PM
I have read science fiction books where the humanity out among the stars is mostly non-white European or North American, most often Asian (Japan and China). I suspect that TV and movies made in the US tend to reflect that culture.

weatherc
2006-Jun-23, 01:01 PM
As far as I know, we're all pink on the inside, regardless of race.

Nowhere Man
2006-Jun-23, 01:27 PM
It's been a while, but I don't think Asimov mentioned anything about skin color in Foundation.

Fred

ToSeek
2006-Jun-23, 02:51 PM
Thread moved from "Space Exploration" to "Small Media at Large" (but if there are significant complaints about this, I'll move it back).

ToSeek
2006-Jun-23, 02:52 PM
I've read science fiction novels where the Chinese or the Muslims are the ones running things, but, yes, all the visual media seem to have the white Westerners in charge. Of course, it's the white Westerners who are producing the visual media.

Gillianren
2006-Jun-23, 04:00 PM
As far as I know, we're all pink on the inside, regardless of race.

That's what I was thinking, too.

I have at least one sci-fi novel (and I don't read a lot of sci-fi) wherein one of the major players in space is the Chinese. In fact, they control the world Our Heroine is from. (As in, in exchange for certain services, the Chinese absolutely and totally fail to open her planet's bubble dome to space.) There are Kazakhs as characters and Thais and Japanese mentioned--Kazakhstan is still part of the Soviet Union, and China now has an empire that includes Thailand and Japan.

There are also lots of Japanese people in space in anime, too, which is not produced by white Westerners.

ToSeek
2006-Jun-23, 05:33 PM
There are also lots of Japanese people in space in anime, too, which is not produced by white Westerners.

A good point.

Tog
2006-Jun-23, 05:33 PM
I see two ways to look at the 'examples'. The first is that they are TV shows, and are thus limited by the actors they can get. There is also the Hollywood stereotype machine chugging along.

The second is the real world technology issue. How many Bushmen are likely to be in a space program anywhere? How many are likey to even care about going to space? One day, if we ever get the world on the same page, technologically speaking, I think there will be a more diverse selection of ethnicity. By the time, we're ready to colonize other worlds, this will almost be a neccessity. Sadly, I don't really see the more (as we tend to see them) primitive cultures surviving to this point. The act of being involved in a space program will make the culture change to the point that what are now seen as the Aborigini, Bushmen, and the people of the rainforrests in South America and South East Asia, will no longer be recognized s a member of that culture. They may carry the same genes, and have ome of the same traditions, but they will not be part of that culture any longer. No leaving the grass hut/stilt house and hopping the vacuum tube to the launch site.

The Original Star Trek had an Asian (Sulu) and an African (Uhura's native language was Swahili).* in addition to two Europeans, and two Americans in the main cast. TNG had a very mixed and diverse crew, both on and off the ship, including a whole colony of Native Americans (though that episode was really forced).

*I don't have the reference, but one episode all the crew heard a voice speak to them in thier native tongue. Checkov heard Russisn, and Uhura heard Swahli.

Matherly
2006-Jun-23, 05:46 PM
How about the Sino-Anglo Allience in "Firefly"/"Serenity". In that case the Chinese influence was as strong as the American/English.

Ara Pacis
2006-Jun-23, 08:37 PM
I think the reason Parallaxicallity sees whites in space is because he only watches media that protray whites in space. However, I think his argument may have merit where books made into TV tend to turn everyone white. How many people have seen the movie "Starship Troopers"? How many people have read the book? How many people remember that Johnny was a Filipino in the book?

Van Rijn
2006-Jun-24, 12:42 AM
There are also lots of Japanese people in space in anime, too, which is not produced by white Westerners.

Yep, though race is not obvious in a lot of anime. Still, Japanese movies have a lot of "Asian" people in space too, just as American movies tend to have a lot of "white" people in space. What I find more amusing are the aliens. With limited exceptions, aliens in American shows/movies act, look and talk a lot like Americans, same with Japanese shows/movies, or British, etc. right down to a lot of subtle cultural details.

Van Rijn
2006-Jun-24, 01:02 AM
How many people have seen the movie "Starship Troopers"? How many people have read the book? How many people remember that Johnny was a Filipino in the book?

And how many remember where Johnny was from? Yeesh, that was one of the points in the book (the shifting and changes in the world). It's interesting looking at some of Heinlein's older books where race is worked in quietly. In "Tunnel In The Sky" one of the important (smart, strong, dependable) characters is a "tall, husky Zulu girl." The main character briefly considers her romantically, and this is a Heinlein "Juvenile" written in the '50s. This looked to me like Heinlein sneaking race into the story before it became popular.

Halcyon Dayz
2006-Jun-24, 02:56 AM
Heinlein made a point.
He made lots of points, some of which went under the radar.


It's been a while, but I don't think Asimov mentioned anything about skin color in Foundation.
In his proto-Empire novel The Currents of Space (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Currents_of_Space) two of the protagonists stand out because one of them is very dark, and the other unusually light-skinned.
Unlike most of the rest of the galactic population, who are mostly brown.

Tobin Dax
2006-Jun-24, 05:29 AM
Something that popped into my head as I read this thread: wasn't the ship that crashed on Europa in Clarke's 2010 novel Chinese? (I think it was 2010.)

Chip
2006-Jun-24, 06:51 AM
The friendly couple on the Pioneer plaque drawn by Linda Salzman Sagan appear to be the same race as anyone looking at them.

Halcyon Dayz
2006-Jun-24, 07:58 AM
Something that popped into my head as I read this thread: wasn't the ship that crashed on Europa in Clarke's 2010 novel Chinese? (I think it was 2010.)
Yep. It was named the Tsien.

Blakut
2006-Jun-25, 07:43 AM
You're kind of taking the "color of goo" out of context, from Wikipedia, and giving it a literal meaning.

i think pink goo is accurate: aren't we all pink on the inside?:)

WaxRubiks
2006-Jun-25, 08:10 AM
I really think that it means 'pink' on the outside. From what I've seen of meat in the supermarket, that ain't pink. Maybe they should have said 'brown goo', as that is the colour the human race will be by the time it sets off to the stars but that doesn't have the same ring to it, that sounds more like chocolate mousse.

Māori
2006-Jun-25, 04:02 PM
i think pink goo is accurate: aren't we all pink on the inside?:)
You're thinking of a juicy fat bug after it hits the windshield. :lol:

My avatar would be a puff of white ash, though.

Ara Pacis
2006-Jun-25, 10:44 PM
I really think that it means 'pink' on the outside. From what I've seen of meat in the supermarket, that ain't pink. Maybe they should have said 'brown goo', as that is the colour the human race will be by the time it sets off to the stars but that doesn't have the same ring to it, that sounds more like chocolate mousse.

I completely disagree. Mankind will remain ethnically self-segregated far into the future even if (especially if) we achieve world peace. At that point, interplanetary flight will be within our technical and economic capability. Any future that results in humanity becoming brown would probably be due to forced breeding programs or some other form of eugenics program or genocide. But I can't be sure such an authoritarian/totalitarian government would not also be interested in spaceflight.

Halcyon Dayz
2006-Jun-25, 10:54 PM
One would expect that the governments of new worlds would want some genetic diversity.

Baloo
2006-Jun-26, 12:21 PM
It's been a while, but I don't think Asimov mentioned anything about skin color in Foundation.
Fred

Actually he did. I recall a line (in the first Foundation book IIRC) where he is saying about a character that it has a specific Meridional look, then is adding as an aside that nobody knows why the people with darker skin are refered as meridionals while those with oblique eyes are called orientals.

ToSeek
2006-Jun-26, 03:18 PM
I completely disagree. Mankind will remain ethnically self-segregated far into the future even if (especially if) we achieve world peace. At that point, interplanetary flight will be within our technical and economic capability. Any future that results in humanity becoming brown would probably be due to forced breeding programs or some other form of eugenics program or genocide. But I can't be sure such an authoritarian/totalitarian government would not also be interested in spaceflight.

I don't know - it doesn't take a whole lot of mixing to blur distinctions. It's already happening: most African Americans in the US have some white blood. And it's only going to increase over time.

Argos
2006-Jun-26, 03:53 PM
I have difficulty with the concept of 'hispanic race', or 'non-white Europeans'. Hispanics and Europeans are whites in my book. Mankind will be brown-skinned in the long run.

Ara Pacis
2006-Jun-26, 08:02 PM
But turning the world brown would take more generations than it would take to develop economical space flight and interplanetary colonization. But, we may never get to the stars so that part of the equation may be a non-starter.

eburacum45
2006-Jun-26, 08:04 PM
In the (fairly unlikely) event that humankind manages to colonise the stars inthe not-too distant future, then it is possible that some, or many, of the colony ships will originate from a particular ethnic group from the many on Earth. So it might be that whole new worlds arise which share a single ethnic origin. You might find Chinese worlds, Hispanic worlds, Native American Indian worlds...

If the colonisation of the galaxy occurs later in human history then the ethnic groups that exist today may have changed, or even blended together into a single group. But it seems more likely that interstellar (or even just interplanetary) colonisation will lead to more diversity, not less.