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[In Far Beyond the Stars I didn’t like how Sisko acted like he was the only one being discriminated against. Kira had to stay home on picture day too.]
Let’s talk about this for a moment, can we?
Benny Russell (Sisko) and Kay Eaton/K.C. Hunter (Kira) both had to stay home on picture day to avoid revealing that the company had hired a woman and black man. The episode was not about that particular thing, but rather this was one instance that sets up later events which illustrate just how bad things were for African Americans during that time period.
The main source of conflict for Russell was when he wrote a masterpiece about the adventures of Captain Benjamin Sisko, a black man. His editor, Douglas Pabst (Odo), tells him the company won’t publish the story as is because the public wouldn’t accept a black man as captain of a space station. Russell has a moment of frustration where he’s unwilling to make the story about another white man, calling the bullshit as he sees it, and then compromising by saying that it was this was all a young black boy’s dream.
At first it seems like they’re going to publish it, they gave him a quote per word, which was a respectable sum and Russell announced his plan to marry his long-time girlfriend, Cassie (Yates), and buy out the diner. All those plans were crushed when Russell shows up for work one day and finds out that the publisher made a last minute decision to not publish the story.
That night Russell is intercepted by two cops who get into an argument, but rather than diffuse the situation like cops are “supposed to do”, they decide to teach Russell a lesson and give him a serious beatdown.
Meanwhile, Eaton’s story gets published and nobody says a thing. We can debate nuance and discuss the “what-ifs” and perhaps even meta-narratives about Eaton’s character. Let’s not pretend they’re on the same footing. Yeah, women were not equal citizens, but their experiences were different and distinct from African Americans. White women still had power and privilege over black men. Eaton was still in a better place than Russell despite her socio-political status as a woman.