Farpoint 2011/Black History Month Report
At this point my Farpoint experience took a turn for the worse. Most people don't know this, but science-fiction conventions aren't actually the lawless free-for-all they may appear to be in photos. Many are monitored by security guards and even undercover police officers. "Undercover" in this case meaning in plain sight: As Trinity and I finalized our drug transaction, we were accosted by a narcotics officer in a Robocop suit, which unbeknownst to us was fully functional, because he was, in fact, the real honest-to-God Robocop.
My accomplice and I were hauled out of the hotel, thrown in a police cruiser, and taken to the detention block of the Baltimore police station. When it came time for questioning, I tried to explain to my white captors that I was a victim of racial profiling; however, they just scoffed and tried to trap me in a web of circumstantial evidence, consisting of a blurry surveillance video, blurry eyewitness accounts, and a blurrily signed confession of my crime. At this point I changed my strategy, explaining that the drug deal was actually an elaborate misunderstanding: The girl selling the drugs was dressed as a character from The Matrix, and the tab of Ecstasy she sold me looked exactly like the red pill from The Matrix, so when she said that the pill would free my mind, like any normal person, I just assumed it had PCP in it too.
The police ultimately let me off with a warning. If they ever saw me again, they said, they wouldn't hesitate to throw me in their white man's jail. It was a hollow threat, since it's common knowledge police can't distinguish between my people, but to move things along, I treated it with the requisite amount of fear, especially since the officers' menacing voices did actually scare me a little. That and the fact that I lost my sunglasses in the scuffle with Robocop were the reasons why I spent the rest of Farpoint sulking in my hotel room.
What my encounter at Farpoint taught me is that the science-fiction dream - of an egalitarian future where all races, as long as they aren't Borg or Romulan, explore the stars together - is dead, at least for working-class black people. I'm not sure what TV composer and Justice League member Alex Courage had in mind when he wrote the Star Trek theme, but it certainly wasn't this. Trekkies can parade around in their Klingon costumes anticipating a racially integrated tomorrow, but until that tomorrow comes, all I see is a goddamned minstrel show with bat'leths.
On the plane ride home, the in-flight movie was Gettysburg. For racists who never studied the American Civil War for fear of getting depressed - Spoiler Alert! - you lost. There's one scene where a thousand Confederate troops line up for an ill-advised charge into a hail of bullets and cannon fire. In addition to a catharsis for my convention experience, it also served as a reminder of the one thing I can't help but admire about white culture: its gung-ho attitude toward blatant acts of stupidity.
I've decided to adopt this same attitude by attending Farpoint again next year. Because in the immortal words of the apparently quite mortal Hunter S. Thompson, why not? I've already seen too much of this shitshow to not stick around. Might as well watch the utopian sci-fi dream complete its death-spiral down the toilet bowl of racially slanted fandom. Like the captain of a beleaguered star vessel, I feel like it's my duty to stand by my cause until its bitter, explosion-filled end.
After all, it's what Will Smith et al would have wanted.