anti-racism and IDIC

August 14, 2020

The Star Trek ideal you refer to is IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations), the cornerstone of Spock's logical Vulcan philosophy. IDIC celebrates all diversity -- color, race, appearance, age, goals, beliefs and lifestyles of all sorts -- including individual sexual preferences.

IDIC glorifies diversity -- not tolerance of diversity.

I was with Nichelle Nichols once when she was being interviewed. "I don't want to be liked in spite of the fact that I am black," she said. "I want part of the reason you like me to be because I'm black. Because that's one of the unique things about me -- one of the things that makes me specifically who I am -- one of the things that's interesting about me."

I couldn't agree more. Nichelle doesn't want people to be color blind (that kind of tolerance was the goal of 1960s integration), she wants them to enjoy it!

Kerry O'Quinn editorial Starlog #114 (Jan 1987), "Down With Tolerance"
My friend Bob was able to dig up a scan of an editorial he was reminded me after reading some of my thoughts on "How to be an Anti-racist".

I've been thinking about how my kneejerk reservations to "diversity for its own sake". But then I compared it to my personal "what is humanity all about anyway" view - that possibly the best goal humanity can set itself to is the creation of non-trivial categorical novelty - interesting stuff that wouldn't exist in this corner of the universe if humans weren't here to make it.

I added the "non-trivial" caveat to answer my own worry that "isn't a good random number generator all the diversity we could ever need, technically?" and similarly, when thinking about "IDIC" - we shouldn't worry overmuch about people going out of their way to be diverse. People are diverse, and we honor that diversity not as a new random creation but as the current artifact reflecting a history of human lives and interactions.

(Also, appreciating diversity for its own sake is one of the few ways I know of stopping the "most common" from becoming the standard mold everything else should try to cram itself into fit.)
Tying in today's Star Trek and some earlier talk on people teaching themselves to type: my mom and I loved the original Star Trek (I think we may even have been watching it on a B+W TV!) and we loved this one book we got Allan Asherman's The Star Trek Compendium, information about each episode of the original series. (Valuable stuff in that pre-Internet age!) One weird omission in it - it didn't have an index/table of contents to the episode! And I was SO impressed when my mom went ahead and made one - a pretty solid data management and typing feat to do without a computer