The Bland White Future In Science Fiction

To a curious, anxious, white male child coming of age in an incurious and paranoid white monoculture, there was literally nothing like [science fiction]—though a great deal of science fiction, possibly the majority of it, I was starting to notice, depicted futuristic monocultures that were dominated by white males.

—William Gibson in The New Yorker

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Prometheus, but one of the first things I noticed about it was that, a hundred years in the future, spaceships are still full of white people. There was one Asian guy, and one black guy, but everybody else was white, and I was like, come on, really? Couldn’t they have made more of a statement here? With the way demographics are changing around the world, with wealthy white-majority countries seeing major drops in fertility, it seems unlikely that any future spaceships will contain such a high proportion of pigskins—unless they happen to be commanded by resurgent Neo-Nazis.

In 3001 Arthur C. Clarke made a different kind of statement, one that seems a bit more likely to me—a thousand years in the future society is truly post-racial in that every different race has combined. Everyone is white, Asian, African, Indian, whatever, at the same time, while purebreds like my wife and I have vanished from the face of the Earth.

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2 thoughts on “The Bland White Future In Science Fiction

  1. Debra Paquin says:

    I was searching the web to get some clarification about what Arthur C. Clarke intimated in “3001: The Final Odyssey”. He said something like “I’m glad Greenberg isn’t around to see what happened to Israel”. Clarke didn’t explain what he was projecting into his future world, but it really bothered me. I can’t find anything that explains Clarke’s ideas about this. I found your posting about a bland white future for the world, but it didn’t enlighten me on this particular topic.

  2. hiddenconnections says:

    Well, sorry about that. Maybe an asteroid hit it or something?

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