Why it is okay to be a redshirt…

Recently, an acquaintance told me not to be a redshirt. The term comes from Star Trek. In the original series, any time a junior security officer wearing a red uniform shirt joined an away mission, the character would be the first to die. No surprise that people quickly came to define redshirt characters as those whose only purpose was to die.

After a little time to mull it over the term (that I’d always enjoyed until now) started to bug me.  It suddenly struck me that nearly every Star Fleet captain after the original series wore a red shirt. That’s because subsequent movies and series used a different color scheme for uniforms.

While originally gold(or Chartreuse) indicated helm or command positions and red indicated engineering or security, their meanings were reversed in The Next Generation. The new color scheme stuck all the way through Voyager. For continuity sake, Enterprise went back to something close to the original color scheme.

So, by telling me not to be a redshirt, was he telling me to stay safe ro to avoid command. I’ve always wanted to command my own starship, so the second option didn’t sit well.

Maybe it is time to rethink the way we use the term redshirt. What do you think?

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