Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Andrew Flint: Pioneer of Racial Relations

In my unending quest to simultaneously be as cool as possible and to also make the world a better place, I have embarked upon a treacherous journey. My plan, as it stands, is to dress as Star Trek: The Next Generation's Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge for Halloween this year. I selected this character due to his coolness under pressure and to his superior eye-wear. This is what Geordi La Forge looks like:

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La Forge was portrayed by thespian LeVar Burton, an individual who I discussed at length on this very blog a few weeks ago. Now, for those of you who don't know me personally, I am white. But since La Forge is clearly of African descent, make-up would be necessary to make me resemble him (make-up being a normal part many Halloween costumes). However, this presents me with a certain conundrum. The application of brown make-up to a white man's face has an unfortunate history in the United States. It could potentially conjure up memories of Minstrel Shows, the racist comedy performances popular during the post-Civil-War era.

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So how am I, as a sensitive white man, to go about assessing whether or not it is appropriate for me to dress as one of my favorite television characters for Halloween? At the advice of my mother, I decided to try to get my information straight from the horse's mouth. I emailed LeVar Burton. Yes, he's a celebrity. But, honestly, how long has it been since you've heard his name mentioned in any sort of legitimate media? The peak of his career is clearly over, having crested somewhere around '94. So I sent a message to the "contact" email address on his homepage, LeVarBurton.com. Here is what I said:

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I eagerly await Mr. Burton's reply. While discussing this potential Halloween costume with various acquaintances, I have encountered mixed responses. Some claim that such a costume would be too tainted by racist associations to be socially acceptable. Other, primarily those who are fellow fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, think that the costume would be FUCKING AWESOME. So, since I myself am no King Soloman, I have left it up to LeVar Burton, Kunta Kinte himself, to determine whether I, Andrew Flint, in an Obama-is-the-president era, can un-offensively dress as Geordi La Forge for Halloween. For those of you who cannot imagine what I'd look like dressed as Engineer La Forge, here is an artistic approximation:

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So, whaddya think? Please comment on this post with your thoughts regarding my potential costume. And I will certainly keep you updated if LeVar himself ever responds to me.

5 comments:

boobs said...

Andrew, don't you know that the color of your skin makes no difference? No matter if you're black or white, you still won't possess the massive brainpower and unrivaled nucleo-engineering innovation of Mr. La Forge, and thus your portrayal will be utterly inaccurate. Such gross flaws will make skin color a negligible detail, just like how you not only forgot to render yourself with a gold trim around the collar of your standard Starfleet command-deck uniform, but you neglected to put in a collar all together.

To shame, Mr. La Flint, to shame.

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

Dear boobs,
The collar has been added, so the uniform now meets Starfleet regulations. And, while I certainly don't share Chief Engineer La Forge's brain power, I do have my phaser set to "drunk".

Nicholas said...

Another viable avenue for understanding the ins and outs of this matter would be to contact Mr. Burton's also-famous brother, Tim. As the white sibling of a much handsomer black man, Tim can presumably give some really rad insight into what is and isn't appropriate here.

pj said...

Wow... you are getting really good at photoshopping.