Mindy Clegg has posted a wonderful essay covering the "social and political conflicts over fandom", and how even though such discussions are appearing in the modern communities surrounding recent films such as Captain Marvel and The Joker (previously), the reality is that such political and social issues have surrounded both the discussion of, and indeed the very core beliefs of some of our most well-known Sci-Fi franchises for decades:
Roddenberry consciously created a multiracial crew on the Starship Enterprise. The show sought to promote the concept of racial tolerance among its viewers by showing a peaceful and egalitarian multiracial crew of humans. Many saw it as doing just that. Actor Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Lt. Nyota Uhuru, the accomplished and talented communications officer, was told by Dr. Martin Luther King at an NAACP meeting that her depiction of Uhuru was making a difference in the lives of young black women. This was a time when black women rarely had prominent roles on TV, much less in such powerful positions. When she told him that she was planning on leaving the show due to ingrained racism and sexism on the set, he told her that she couldn’t do that, given the positive role model she was for young black women. She even inspired the first black woman to go into space, Mae Jemison. Jemison would later go full circle, and appeared on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. George Takai, who portrayed Lt. Hikaru Sulu, eventually also parlayed his acting work into activism. He’s advocated for a meaningful apology for Japanese-Americans interned during the Second World War, as his family had been, and later come out as gay and worked for marriage equality.
Read her full essay at 3 Quarks Daily.