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Episode 343 — Bicentennial Man


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#1 July Diaz

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 12:36 AM

Andrew Ti and this week’s special guest Tze Chun finish the week off by discussing the robotic slave narrative of Bicentennial Man. As always, leave us a message about anything you think is racist at (323) 389-RACE.

#2 Aliiias

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 04:48 AM

As far as other narratives about robots and/or slavery outside of film, Janelle Monae's Archandroid series of EPs/albums have themes which draw a lot of parallels to slavery, but can also reasonably be about other past/ongoing injustices in American society, e.g. marriage equality.

There are of course some problems when trying to draw parallels between slaves and sentient man-made robots in these kinds of stories, though. Slaves were not "blank slate" programmable human beings, even though slave owners tried to make them so. Slave owners first tried to take away the slaves' culture and language before they could begin to try to "program" them. Therefore I think it's a bit problematic to try to do the "slaves-as-robots" kind of story, because it misses a significant act of dehumanization inflicted upon slaves: the attempt to erase a person's heritage.

EDIT: Whoops. Original post landed in the wrong thread. My bad - edited this post to reflect the actual topic of this thread.