He Was the First Dark-Skinned Romulan Seen OnscreenEdit

I'm a black male: Why is his skin tone important?--Joel1975 23:44, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Because he was the very first dark skinned Romulan.– Tom 23:45, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

So you pay attention to the actor's skin color rather than their acting ability?--Joel1975 23:46, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

This is just a note, like the one that Madge Sinclair's performance was the first female starship captain here USS Saratoga (NCC-1887) personnel#Saratoga Captain. – Tom 23:50, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it has anything to do with the actors skin color just that a dark skinned romulan is unique and should be acknowledged...Just like a dark skinned Vorta would be unique and should be acknowledged. --Morder 23:51, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
You've said what I think. Thanks. – Tom 23:52, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Interesting that on the Cynthia Gouw "Caithlin Dar" page, it was not mentioned as the first Asian-American to portray a Romulan. Are black individuals unique that their skin color has to be acknowledged if they portray alien characters on Star Trek? I'm really getting pissed off here.--Joel1975 00:05, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't think it's important. It doesn't change who the character is, nor does it have any bearing on the story. --Alan 23:55, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. --From Andoria with Love 00:00, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Then we should remove the comment on the page I've linked above, too. – Tom 00:01, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the fact that he is the first African-American to play a Romulan is a pretty interesting note. We note that Percy Rodriguez was the first black man to play a flag officer, and we note that Madge Sinclair was the first woman to play a starship captain. These are important notes given the message Star Trek is supposed to deliver. Maybe we should note that Sirol was the first Romulan played by a black man? --From Andoria with Love 00:17, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Also, Mack apparently submitted the fact for inclusion himself: see? (special thanks to Morder for pointing that out :D) It's also noted by TrekToday here (thanks to Tom for that one :)). --From Andoria with Love 00:22, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

That Trektoday link doesn't work; and I don't see where Michael Mack endorsed each black actor/actress being noted for being "darker skinned" characters...--Joel1975 00:26, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

The TrekToday link works fine for me. To quote from it, though:
"Actor Michael Mack, who went from being a writing intern for Star Trek: The Next Generation to playing Commander Sirol - the first black Romulan seen on the series - will appear in Star Trek: New Voyages as Dr. M'Benga."
Also, we're not saying that every black performer be noted for being black, we're saying that it might be worth noting the first time a black/Hispanic/Asian/etc. performer was cast in a specific type of role. Given Star Trek's message, such things seem important enough to be noted to me. Then again, that's just my opinion. These things can be seen as milestones in Trek production history. --From Andoria with Love 00:38, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

As I've only seen this "darker-skinned" bullshit recently put on the Sirol page, and a paragraph written on Michael Mack's page about the first Romulan's and Vulcans who were "black" (Aliens are "black" and "white"?)...I don't understand. Cynthia Gouw" is Asian, and yet no mention on her page that she is the first Asian-American to portray a Romulan. (And there was an Asian male in Star Trek III portraying a Vulcan). Not too mention the language to describe the characters: "darker-skinned." What era is this?--Joel1975 00:46, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

(Edit conflict) I agree the term "darker-skinned" needs to be changed. Also, the only reason Gouw doesn't have such a mention is because no one's added it yet; I either neglected to mention it or didn't realize it at the time I wrote the article. I agree the whole paragraph on Mack's page didn't belong, that was overboard. I'm just saying, things like this could be noteworthy, at least on the actor's page (not so much for the characters' pages). --From Andoria with Love 00:52, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
While we are at this trivia noting, should we also note the first known homosexual performers to play parts in Trek ;D? or who the first jewish performer was, the first muslim ;) or on that note who the first confirmed heterosexual was ;D Or note the first scene from "The Cage" with the seven people on the bridge as the first onscreen appearance of white people in Star Trek =) --Pseudohuman 01:17, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Let's not get silly, now. We have no way of telling who is a homosexual unless they publicly announce it. Same with Jewish people in many cases. Perhaps, though, we should just stick to noting things like this for Human characters, since, as Joel points out, there may not be a "black" and "white" (or "Asian" or "Hispanic", etc) amongst alien races. So let's just end this whole discussion now because I'm getting pretty tired of it. The comment is gone and i really don't think it's that big of a deal whether it stays gone or not. I and a few others thought it might be noteworthy, but others don't think so, so maybe it's best to just leave it out. --From Andoria with Love 01:22, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
The TNG Companion has an anecdote on the subject (Under "The Pegasus"):
"The show debuts the first black Romulan, making it the latest Trek species to be depicted as multiracial, although not everyone got the message at first: actor Michael Mack...recalled that he was made up as a traditional Romulan with "lightened" skin for his first shooting! A second take with correct makeup had to be reshot a third time when the producers wanted his intensely menacing portrayal softened"Cleanse 02:31, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Asian-American actress Cynthia Gouw portrayed a Romulan before actor Michael Mack did; apparently the "multiracial" aspect didn't kick in until a black actor portrayed a Romulan. (Somehow this shows Romulans as being "black" or "white;" a bit silly). So, I guess we're waiting for the Asian Romulans to get properly represented, likewise the Hispanic/Latino Romulans. *Yes, that was sarcasm.* I'm kind of wondering what other comments about black actors/actresses are on Memory Alpha.--Joel1975 03:10, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I guess since there's an official source pointing out that he was the first black Romulan, we should do the same. Like I said, it doesn't matter to me; I'll go for whatever the community wants. as for Cynthia gouw, let's face it... who wants to remember Star Trek V, anyway? ;) For the record [TREK XI SPOILER ALERT] there is at least one African-American Romulan in Star Trek (played by Bill T. Brown), so noting that Mack "set the precedent" or something might be noteworthy. Or maybe it's just racist... guess it depends on one's point-of-view. :/ --From Andoria with Love 03:16, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

An "African-American Romulan"...interesting. Yeah, go ahead and name the "official" source, as if they are doing something "right." If I find it racially offensive, (as a non-Romulan African-American, of course) I'm going to "make some noise," and opt for a change. (BTW, maybe we should mention B'lanna Torres as Star Trek's first Klingon Latina; of course, if an "official" source mentions it. (Goodness).--Joel1975 03:27, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

From an in-universe point of view, the importance of a black actor being cast as a member of an alien species that has only been played by "non-blacks" before is the fact that, apparently, that alien species has some variation in skin color, just like the Human species has. There is nothing "racially offensive" in noticing that simple and true fact, is there?
This means that, yes, the article about the Romulan species should contain a note (in its "physiology" section, probably) about the different existing Romulan skin colors.
Accordingly, it is of interest to note that an alien species has been represented by someone with a specific "look" (whether that "look" is "black", "asian", "tall", "small", "fat" or "thin") for the first time, if that "look" is outside of some previously perceived "norm". If Romulan characters have been played by middle-aged caucasian males for 30 years, then this is a noteworthy exception, without it being objectively "racially offensive". -- Cid Highwind 19:41, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I understand, Cid. I think I was more upset over the wording.--Joel1975 04:18, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
I, too, believe that the original wording... shall we say... sucked. :) Let's work on that before re-adding the note. Saying something like "he was the first black Romulan" doesn't seem right for some reason... Anyone got suggestions as to how to handle this? --From Andoria with Love 05:36, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Hello, Shran. Since this week is very busy for me, I may not be able to check in as much as I would like. Here is something to work with: Michael Mack would be the second person of color to portray a Romulan (succeeding Cynthia Gouw's portrayal in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) hinting the Romulan people as multi-racial.--Joel1975 21:51, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Something like that would work for me. Let's see if others like it and we'll see about adding it in. --From Andoria with Love 22:02, 27 May 2008 (UTC)