Advanced search think that the casual racism shown towards Ferengi in ST:TNG is rather unpleasant?

(222 Posts)
HalloweenyHerrena Mon 15-Oct-12 16:48:11

I mean, the Ferengi have been carefully designed to be irritating but come on!

Picard saying "I have reluctantly let members of a particular ethnic group on baord the Enterprise - hopefully they won't cause trouble" just sounds wrong to me and is not in keeping with the happy-clappy 'We are here to encounter new life and not judge' ethos of the whole show. Unless the ethos is actually 'We are here to encounter new life and not judge them unless we find them personally repulsive, in which case we hoick our judgy pants right up'.

I may be over-thinking this but I still don't find it nice to watch, which is upsetting as I'm an avid TNG fan sad

MrsBethel Mon 15-Oct-12 16:53:46

It's not really racism, though, is it - it's speciesism. Big coincidence that these species all evolved to live under pretty much the same force of gravity as us and to be basically humanoid but with some cheap, funny features added on, of course.

Speciesism can be fair enough - I mean, we discriminate against tigers, for example. Imagine the ruckus if you invited a tiger into your home for tea. . .

catgirl1976 Mon 15-Oct-12 17:06:01


It's the one time they drop the really right on, all about the first directiveness

Mind you, they gross me out a bit the Ferengi. It's the ear stroking sex thing <boak>

Thanquol Mon 15-Oct-12 17:17:11

Ooh, first post and it is Star Trek related, joy!

Herrena - "We were warned about the Ferengi at the Academy." ;-)
Seriously though, (and fully acknowledging we are discussing a work of fiction) Picard does end up having multiple bad encounters with various Ferengi, even with the best of intentions that is bound to colour your perspective slightly.
I wont bore everyone with a list.. for now ;-)
(The Ferengi also being -as a culture- rather sexist also might be a sticking point for him..)

MrsBethel - At the risk of being laughed off the board for excessive geekpoints, the coincidence is addressed in the Next Generation episode "The Chase" smile

It drives my DH up the wall that Star Trek (and lots of other sci-fi and fantasy shows) have these races (or species) that always embody some stereotype without there being any individualism within the race/species (only humans manage that)

I get what he means, but think that life is too short to get wound up by fiction (save it for real life discrimination)

The Ferengi are annoying though smile

plutocrap Mon 15-Oct-12 17:41:19

Picard is called on this sort of thing by Q later, though, isn't he? To be fair, there are limits to that kind of 90s idealism, as in real life, too!

Osmiornica Mon 15-Oct-12 17:49:22

Off subject a bit but I've just watched an episode of the Big Bang Theory that had Wesley from this series in it. He was such an annoying wet character. I didn't recognise him at first but he did get to play a not very nice character (as himself) so that must have been more fun.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Mon 15-Oct-12 17:52:38

They are Space Jews and yes, it's awful!

The Space Jew is an alien, monster, animal, or other nonhuman creature that embodies the worst aspects of a real-world racial, ethnic, or religious stereotype, whether Jewish, black, Asian, white or whatever. Sometimes it's intentional, sometimes it's subconscious and sometimes it's just an unlucky confluence of bad characteristics coupled with a naive creative mind.

HalloweenyHerrena Mon 15-Oct-12 21:33:00

I hadn't thought of it as speciesism! I suppose we do it too - look at all the deluded people who say things like 'cats are bastards'. Cats'd be setting up the Anti-Cat-Defamation League if only they knew how grin

Wrt 'The Chase' - it was the episode where they all (Humans, Cardassians, Romulans & Klingons) race to one planet and then a hologram (looking suspiciously like a human with all the edges worn down) pops up and explains that since they are all there together then they must have all worked together and isn't it all lovely since they came from the same source material. The hologram then winks out and leaves Picard, Cardassians, Klingons and Romulans staring at each other with a variety of WTAF expressions.

I get all the geekpoints <proud yet blush>

I've never heard of the phrase Space Jew! I think that the phrase itself is unpleasant since the word 'jew' is applied in a derogatory fashion regardless of which race you're actually discussing....

Oh and I used to think Wesley was great when I was a teenager there is no total saddo emoticon but there ought to be

kim147 Mon 15-Oct-12 21:36:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

showtunesgirl Mon 15-Oct-12 21:37:23

The Ferengi ARE rather unpleasant though aren't they? Putting profit above all else. I think it's this facet of the learned behaviour of their species that Picard is objecting to seeing as they are now living in a universe where money isn't at the centre of it.

The Ferengi are basically a social comment on the excess of the 80s and the money, money, money attitude. Rather funny really as the Ferengi would be even MORE relevant today!

>dusts off my geek stripes and rootles around for my old Bajoran earring.< wink

showtunesgirl Mon 15-Oct-12 21:38:44

The Ferengi are also extremely sexist. Remember how the best at acquiring profit was Quark's mum but females aren't allowed to deal and have to be naked at all times!

SecretNutellaFix Mon 15-Oct-12 21:42:01

It works both ways.

Ferengi are even worse. They hold "Hewmons" in even less regard than Humans hold them, especially given they treat their females as property and believe sex is a man's right.

I think Picard is quite tolerant.

kim147 Mon 15-Oct-12 21:43:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

showtunesgirl Mon 15-Oct-12 22:05:09

Too easy. TNG IS better than TOS. wink

RikersBeard Mon 15-Oct-12 22:15:42


I think a bit of speciesism is fair enough in this context. Even in the interest of integration you'd think carefully about allowing the Borg on board wouldn't you? Generally Picard's form as a champion of multispeciesality is pretty strong.

kim147 Mon 15-Oct-12 22:20:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trills Mon 15-Oct-12 22:24:26

It's not really about the Ferengi as a species, it's more about their culture. Am "adopted" Ferengi would be regarded the same way. It's not about the ears.

They are horribly sexist. Women were not allowed to wear clothes, if I'm remembering correctly.

But someone's mother changed that rule by appealing to their sense of greed. If women can own stuff then that's lots more people who you can sell things to.

Trills Mon 15-Oct-12 22:27:17

I think "space Jew" is not derogatory against Jewish people but commenting on how they have been perceived/treated in the past. If anything it is a criticism of those who persecuted and misrepresented Jewish people.

showtunesgirl Mon 15-Oct-12 22:27:37

Riker looked about twelve years old without a beard!

SoggyMoggy Mon 15-Oct-12 22:36:07

Wesley was great! Okay, I was a teenager then too, but still.

As proof of his greatness, I offer up the fact that Wil Wheaton grew up to become a brilliantly awesome uber geek.

But yes, the Ferengi are eyebrow raising in a lot of ways. Their obsession with wealth was kind of a confusing fit in Roddeberry's post-money society.

SecretNutellaFix Mon 15-Oct-12 22:45:42

My DH is very much like Riker. Part of what attracted me to him smile

He also looks twelve without a beard.

GrrrArghZzzz Mon 15-Oct-12 22:45:51

Trills is correct about the Space Jews phrase, part of the reason for first appearing is that the main Ferengi are played by actors who are Jewish and many thought the money grabbing being placed onto a group mainly played by Jewish actors was eyebrow raising at best (though there are obviously other Jewish actors in Star Trek who are not Ferengi such as Spock and Kirk).

This continued observation went onto other sci-fis where Judaism has come up for odd reasons which have more to do with othering and stereotyping than any real plot (looking at you Wheedon) and so came the "Space Jews" as a trope. It's more negative towards the creators for relying on Jewish stereotypes to create otherings towards individuals than anything to do with Jewish people.

Scaredbutdoingit Mon 15-Oct-12 22:47:37

Oh noooooo! TOS is definitely better than TNG!!! I know its quite corny and dated, but the underlying messages are far more profound (IMHO).

Also, someone said there is no individualism in Ferengi, but I would whole-heartedly disagree with this. They are definitely individual! Compare the entrepreneurship but moral dilemma-ising Quark with the duty-bound but soft-hearted Rom, with the 'screw tradition, I'm doing my own thing' Nog, and they are definitely individuals!

Ok, so I have just totally and utterly released my inner geek. Thanks wine. grin

TodaysAGoodDay Mon 15-Oct-12 22:57:54

Have you actually read any of the Rules of Acquisition?

They bloody deserve how they get treated IMO grin

<stirring emoticon>

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