Ijeoma Oluo explains the importance Mr. Spock had on her biracial childhood


Leonard Nimoy's recent death inspired a ton of great writing about his long, diverse career (I got a chance to share my thoughts over at The A.V. Club). But far and away my favorite piece comes from feminist writer Ijeoma Oluo on Medium.

She explains how Spock's struggle with his half-human, half-Vulcan heritage spoke to her own experiences as a biracial girl who spent summers with her wealthy white grandparents. She writes:

At the age of nine, I didn't have words to describe why I was so transfixed by Spock. I remember feeling outrage whenever he was rejected. I remember watching Spock struggle with the Vulcan community's perception that he had been dirtied by his human blood. I remember being positive that I knew exactly how he must have felt. I remember watching the snide remarks his human shipmates made about his Vulcan heritage and yelling at the screen, "You just don't understand him!" I remember at times wishing I could organize a protest to demand that humans and Vulcans recognize how wonderful and special Spock was. I wanted so desperately for him to be loved and accepted.

There were no other mixed-race kids in my school except for me and my brother until I was in 7th grade. Spock was the only person who understood what I was going through. And through all of the ridicule and rejection, he remained strong, he remained good, he remained proud. He was special; and even if the humans and Vulcans around him couldn't see it, they also couldn't destroy it. Maybe I was special too.

The whole article is a beautiful summation of science fiction's ability to comment on real life issues through an abstract lens. You can find more of Oluo's work via her Twitter and on her website.