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Space Traders and the Racialist Response

So I haven’t written anything in my blog for AGES! I have no proper excuse other than CyberMummy really put me off, that’s when I realised that so many of my fellow mummy bloggers were total sellouts who generally blog about x, y, z mundane products in order to gain financial recompense and sponsorship. I mean if someone will so blatantly endorse a product they may or may not have made a few quid for then how can I read anything they say with an open mind. They have a very specific audience in mind. It’s not me. They all swap spit anyway. I’d love to be paid for writing, but creating a blog full of reviews … is it a blog anymore?

Forget that.

I wanted to write something tonight because I have been thinking about something and if I don’t write it down I talk about it over and over and tire everyone around me with my inane drivel.

About 20 years ago I watched something called ‘Space Traders’, part of a Cosmic Slop series which was trying to bring a racial viewpoint to Sci Fi, or that’s my simple way of seeing it. I love Sci Fi with a passion and am really big on the issues of Racism, prejudice, equality etc.. It’s one of those little bits of TV that has stuck in my head, bothered me, I kept wanting to see it again but couldn’t remember what it was called or anything about it. Last night I sat down to a serious Internet search to find it and I did, sadly on, a seriously right-wing web site. Firstly I just wanted to watch it, I watched a bit, asked Robin if he would like to watch it too, he’s never heard of it (he was only 17 and out getting high of whatever back then – who knows?) he said yes, so rather than watch it all I decided to read the comments on the site about it while waiting for him.

To cut a long ramble short I was utterly amazed, saddened and a wee bit annoyed that the comments were almost all stating the following kind of attitudes:

  • the film is spectaculary racism against whites (and Jews)
  • the film is really dumb and stupid and embarrassing and could be written by a small child (my small children do not have views that would led them to write anything even vaguely similar BTW)
  • the comments were all about 3 months old

The film is about this:

  • Some aliens turn up in America in big ships and offer an end to American financial problems, an endless supply of clean energy etc… in a swap for everyone of black skin (or above the brown paper bag threshold test)
  • The Americans overwhelmingly agree
  • The black people are all whizzed up to the ships and shot if they try to escape
  • Several European countries ask if they can in on the deal
  • the following image is not actually a video – don’t click play

Screen shot 2012-06-11 at 21.06.45

Well via some more searching – and oh my am I good at searching, if I can’t find it it probably isn’t there – I discovered this:

  • Most people had never heard of the film until 3 months ago
  • the recent interest was because Derrick Bell (who wrote the story) hugged Barrack Obama (or may have even spoken to him, irrelevant)
  • the web site is very right-wing (as I said before) and does not reflect the general view, only seemingly that of some very ignorant racists
  • brought this film to the public attention in another attempt, in a long line of failed ones, to dirty Barrack’s name

So is this racist? ‘I would like to think humanity would not agree to this’ (Robin Winter, my husband, in a discussion earlier tonight) but a hundred and fifty years ago America for sure would have. One hundred and fifty years ago when America was in the throes of slavery there is no doubt. Back then black people were not seen as fully human. They were kept as breeders in cages, fattened up, sold on merit of their strength and demeanour – exactly as livestock.

If aliens asked us to exchange all livestock for unnending wealth and health and power ‘we’ would say yes. I wouldn’t – I’m a vegetarian, but I increasingly understand what a minority I am, that the standard view is that animals are for the eating and they are not equal, despite the fact I thought that would have changed by now.

I went to a MacDonalds in Redditch on Sunday – I don’t much care for MacDonalds or Redditch, but shit happens… and the only vegetarian options at 10am (no fries until 11am – healthly eating initiative!) were an egg and cheese MacMuffin and a vegiwrap, no vegan options, and both are rubbish. The boys ate pancakes.

Point being – I have no doubt we would exchange livestock for the aliens’ proposed benefits, and therefore it follows that one hundred and fifty years ago we would have exchanged black people. What about one hundred year ago? fifty? forty? thirty? twenty? twenty and one day? When did our collective conscience change… and has it?

This film was an observation of past fact – slavery and selling of the human soul, and the consideration of whether, and if so, how much we have changed, and it’s twenty years old written my a Harvard professor who was born in 1930 and spent his younger life fighting to desegregate swimming pools and schools. He saw a dark side of America. He posed a question. There is nothing racist about it. And the anti-semitic thing – well it went something alone the lines of a black person saying if were going we should just tuck one of you under each arm (in other words if they sell us, you’ll be next)

What happened to the the black people after the aliens took then? No one knows, because it’s a STORY, but my hypethothesis is that like ‘the Monkey’s Claw’ a link elluded to on one of the comments, something else I saw long ago, it was probably intended as a test to see if the Americans (human race) would sell out their own kind… and all the worse for them if they did, no riches. They failed.

It was just a story, and interesting one combining racial awareness with scifi – awesome. The right-wingers on really showed themselves for what they truly are. Read the comments.

Links (if you read this and for for some Godforsaken reason want more):

Space Traders (in 3 parts) on

Wiki on The Monkey’s Paw

Full text of The Monkey’s Paw

Article addressing the re-emergence of Space Traders as an anti-Obama tactic

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (full text)

Some stuff about the brown paper bag test

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