The Bland White Future In Science Fiction

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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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