I analyzed the ethnic, gender, and species makeup of Star Trek cast members just out of interest. This isn't an attempt to make any kind of statement. I find it interesting, but I don't care either way. I don't think there needs to be "more" of any group or "less" of any group. If the characters and stories are interesting and the shows are well made, that's what is important.
If the Enterprise had a Korean captain, a Korean first officer, a Korean science officer, a Korean chief medical officer, a Korean helmsman, and a Korean-Vulcan communications officer, I would still watch it if the characters and stories were interesting. Even if all of these characters were all men. Even if they're all Jewish men. In fact, they could all be Jewish rabbis. It could still be fascinating. Maybe they all have slighly different positions on the Torah, and their viewpoints color how they interpret the Prime Directive. (No, I'm not a Korean Jew.)
For the record:
40% of principal characters have been non-human, or partially non-human
33% have been women
28% have been played by non-white actors
One interesting observation about the show is that, in five different series, there have really only been two regular characters who were simply white human females: Dr. Crusher and Captain Janeway. (In contrast, there have been 13 white human male regular cast members.) Natasha Yar and Dr. Pulaski were also human white females, but they were only on a series for one season each. T'Pol, Troi, Kira, Kes, Jadzia Dax, Ezri Dax, and Seven of Nine were all played by white actresses, but were alien characters. (Althogh Troi was half-human, and Seven was biologically human but culturally Borg.) The other fully human female characters are Uhura and Hoshi Sato, black and Asian. Star Trek women have been more likely to be alien than Star Trek men.
It is difficult to mask a person's race or gender, even when they are playing a character. Yes, there is a lot of racial diversity among Star Trek cast members. But in the 24th century (or even the 21st for most of us), who cares? There are other significant "areas of diversity" which Star Trek has studiously avoided, perhaps in order to avoid controversy, because they didn't work well within the dramatic framework of the show, or perhaps because they didn't fit well into Roddenberry's vision of the future.
For instance, very few career paths or employers are represented by the principal cast members. Nearly all of the main characters are Starfleet officers. Quark is the only main character who is clearly a civilian. Kira, Odo, Seven of Nine, Kes, Neelix and T'Pol may not be Starfleet officers, but they clearly work within the Starfleet command structure.
There is little diversity among the main characters' family structure: Chief O'Brien and Tuvok are the only main characters who were married throughout the series in which they starred. Sisko did get married at the end of his series. Worf married Jadzia Dax (who died soon). Tom Paris and Torres also got married toward the end of their series. A few of the other characters (most notably Dr. Crusher) are widows/widowers or divorced.
The major area of diversity avoided by the Star Trek is religious diversity and other voluntary membership subcultures. There are no principal cast members who are readily identifiable as Jews, Catholics, Muslims, GLBT, Libertarians, Goth, etc. Related issues were usually dealt with on the show through fictional "proxy" cultures. For instance, "Deep Space Nine" frequently explored religious themes, but usually did so through the Bajor or Klingon cultures. Roddenberry's vision of a future without such divisions was not uncommon for science fiction writers of his day. Nevertheless, it is true that many major groups of people on Earth today are not represented among Star Trek characters.
There's nothing wrong with that. There are nearly 200 independent nations in the world (meaning 200 potential nationalities), and there are thousands of different ethnicities, religions, and native languages. No single work of fiction can possibly include representatives from all of them. The target audience of the franchise is universal, and people of all backgrounds have appreciated its interesting and universal themes.
|Race of Actor||Nationality of
|James T. Kirk||Captain||TOS||M||Human||White||American|
|William Riker||1st Officer||TNG||M||Human||White||American|
|Kira Nerys||1st Officer||DS9||F||Bajoran||White||Bajoran|
|Chakotay||1st Officer||Voy||M||Human||Hispanic |
(character is Native American)
|CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICERS|
|Leonard McCoy||Chief Medical Officer||TOS||M||Human||White||American|
|Beverly Crusher||Chief Medical Officer||TNG||F||Human||White||Scottish|
|Katherine Pulaski||Chief Medical Officer||TNG||F||Human||White||American|
|Julian Bashir||Chief Medical Officer||DS9||M||Human||Born in Sudan, Africa of an English mother and a Sudanese father|
|The Doctor (EMH)||Chief Medical Officer||Voy||M||Hologram||White||Starfleet|
|Phlox||Chief Medical Officer||Ent||M||Denobulan||White|
|Montgomery "Scotty" Scott||Chief Engineer||TOS||M||Human||White||Scottish|
|Geordi La Forge||Chief Engineer||TNG||M||Human||Black||African Confederation|
|Miles O'Brien||Chief Engineer||TNG/DS9||M||Human||White||Irish|
|B'Elanna Torres||Chief Engineer||Voy||F||Human/Klingon||mixed |
(Her character's human father is Hispanic)
|Charlie Tucker||Chief Engineer||Ent||M||Human||White||American (Southern)|
|CHIEF SECURITY/TACTICAL OFFICERS|
|Natasha Yar||Chief of security/tactical officer||TNG||F||Human||White||Ukrainian/Turkana IV|
|Worf||Chief of security/tactical officer||TNG/DS9||M||Klingon||Black||Klingon|
|Odo||Chief of security||DS9||M||Changeling||White||Bajor|
|Tuvok||Chief of security/tactical officer||Voy||M||Vulcan||Black|
|Malcolm Reed||Armory Officer||Ent||M||Human||White||British|
|Hoshi Sato||Communications/Translator||Ent||F||Human||Asian |
|HELM/NAVIGATION/FLIGHT CONTROL OFFICERS|
|Travis Mayweather||Helm/Navigation||Ent||M||Human||Black||American ("Boomer")|
|Jadzia Dax||Science Officer||DS9||F||Trill||White|
|Neelix||Chef/Chief Morale Officer||Voy||M||Talaxian||White|
|Seven of Nine||Misc.||Voy||F||Human/Borg||White|
Out of 42 principal cast members, 17 (or 40%) have been non-human or partially non-human. This includes two entirely artificial lifeforms: Data (an android) and the Doctor (a hologram). It also includes 3 human/alien hybrids: Spock (half Vulcan), Torres (half Klingon), and Troi (half Betazoid). These list of 17 "non-human" crew members also includes Seven of Nine, who is, biologically, fully human, but became, through technological modification, Borg, and lived most of her life within the Borg collective.
There are actually only eleven (26%) fully alien, non-artificial principal cast members: Worf, Kira, Odo, Quark, Jadzia Dax, Ezri Dax, Kes, Neelix, Tuvok, T'Pol and Phlox.
The most common alien race among principal cast members is Vulcan. There are two full-blooded Vulcans (T'Pol and Tuvok), as well as Spock, a half-Vulcan who fully embraced his Vulcan side with regards to culture and philosophy.
There are two Trill cast members, although, in a peculiarly Trill way, Jadzia and Ezri Dax are partially the same character.
There are two Klingon cast members. Worf, who was a principal cast member on Star Trek for more seasons than any other character, is full-blooded Klingon and fully embraces his Klingon culture, although he was actually raised by humans. Torres is half-human/half-Klingon, and mostly favored her human side culturally, although she grew to appreciate her Klingon side.
Data and the Doctor might be considered "two artificial life forms," although the android and the doctor are not the same form of technology.
|Kira Nerys||Bajoran||1st Officer|
|Seven of Nine||Borg/Human||Misc.|
|Odo||Changeling||Chief of security|
|Phlox||exotic alien||Chief Medical Officer|
|The Doctor (EMH)||Hologram||Chief Medical Officer|
|Worf||Klingon||Chief of security/tactical officer|
|B'Elanna Torres||Klingon/Human||Chief Engineer|
|Neelix||Talaxian||Chef/Chief Morale Officer|
|Jadzia Dax||Trill||Science Officer|
|Tuvok||Vulcan||Chief of security/tactical officer|
Women have served in most major postions: captain, 1st officer, science officer, tactical, chief medical officer, chief engineer and pperations/communications. The only "major" Star Trek position women have never held is helm / navigation / pilot, which is typically a low-ranking, less important position.
Two women have served as first officers: Kira and T'Pol. Two women have served as communications officer: Uhura and Hoshi Sato. Two women have served as chief medical officer: Crusher and Pulaski, although they were on the same show and were replacements for each other.
|Kira Nerys||1st Officer|
|B'Elanna Torres||Chief Engineer|
|Beverly Crusher||Chief Medical Officer|
|Katherine Pulaski||Chief Medical Officer|
|Natasha Yar||Chief of security/tactical officer|
|Seven of Nine||Misc.|
|Jadzia Dax||Science Officer|
Of the 42 principal cast members, eleven (26%) can be classified as racial minorities.
There are six characters played by black actors: Sisko, Geordi La Forge, Travis Mayweather, Tuvok, Uhura, and Worf. (Should these actors be called African-Americans? Levar Burton, who played Geordi, was born in Germany. Uhura's character was African, not American.)
There are three Asian characters portrayed by Asian actors: Sulu, Harry Kim, and Hoshi Sato. Keiko O'Brien (Japanese) was also an important supporting character on "Deep Space: Nine", and there was a Japanese on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
Torres is a Hispanic name, but Roxann Biggs-Dawson who played her is biracial (with one African-American parent and one white parent). Chakotay's character is very much a Native American (from South or Latin America) who devoutly subscribes to many of his culture's traditional religious beliefs and practices. The actor himself is of Mexican descent. So he does have Native American ancestry, although he is mestizo, and describes himself as Hispanic or Mexican.
|Name||Position||Race of Actor|
|Geordi La Forge||Chief Engineer||Black|
|Tuvok||Chief of security/tactical officer||Black|
|Worf||Chief of security/tactical officer||Black|
|B'Elanna Torres||Chief Engineer||Black/White|
|Julian Bashir||Chief Medical Officer||Arab (Sudanese)/English|
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