Levar Burton wishes the white ‘Star Trek’ writers had let his character have game

Star Trek: The Next Generation La Forge

Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow star Levar Burton has some issues with how the show, which was even less diverse off-screen than it was on screen, portrays his character Geordi.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Burton said there’s one thing in particular that he didn’t like and wouldn’t mind changing.

“He’d get laid,” Burton said, adding that it was weird the android character Data got more play than he did.

In addition, Burton blamed that fact on white writers’ unconscious bias against Black men. Over the course of the show, the microaggressions added up. Here’s the full quote.

Weird? It’s insulting. Whether they are aware of it or not, those white men who wrote the show had an unconscious bias that was on display to me and to other people of color. Their blind spot is revealed in the fact that a Black man never was successful at one of the basic and most … My wife says, “There’s a lid for every pot.” It’s true. The idea that Geordi never found a lid for his pot is ludicrous. It’s preposterous, and it’s insulting.

To further specify, Burton said the episode “Booby Trap,” where he has a romance with a hologram, was especially problematic. He falls in love with a fake Dr. Brahms and then comes off as creepy when she shows up.

And that’s part of the problem, right? In their attempts to be cute, they inadvertently created an aspect of Geordi’s character that is very uncomfortable.

More often, though, Geordi’s romances are nothing but false starts. In the show’s fifth season, a romance with Ensign Ro Laren gets introduced but never goes anywhere. In the episode “Aquiel” from the sixth season, he helps an officer in a murder investigation, but then she bails. There’s a bit of flirtation in “Q Who” from season two, but then the character interested in Geordi disappears from the show yet again.

Burton left the door open as to whether we’ll see Geordi in his Star Trek uniform again and hopefully right past wrongs. At first, he said it was safe to “assume” he’d be back. Lately, he’s not so sure.

I’m not psychic. Look, I love Star Trek. I love my castmates. Here’s what I will say about Picard: I do believe that whatever else is going on in his life, in the storytelling that they’re engaging in now, he still knows these people. It is certainly feasible, if not plausible, that they should show up at some point during this current adventure. We’ll see.

Should Geordi make a return, let him kiss.