Spock’s death felt by autistic community


Leonard Nimoy, best known for his portrayal of Spock in the original Star Trek series, passed away on February 27, 2015 at the age of 83.

Jesse O. Walls
Photo Editor

Being Different

Star Trek has had its share of characters that speak to the autistic community, from the Next Generation’s Data to the doctor on Voyager, but the first character to embody an autistic ideal was Mr. Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy, from the original series.

Spock was half Vulcan and half human, leaning more towards Vulcan ways. The differences his character felt with his crewmates resonated with those affected by autism, who were still human but saw the world differently. Many looked to Spock as a kind of figure that embodied some of the struggles of being different.

For people with autism, they saw Spock’s logical demeanor, abandoning emotion to maintain a rational way of thinking. Spock was not without emotion; he stilled possessed his human half, and that was where the connection was most felt. A person with autism can have a difficult time expressing emotion, sometimes abandoning it for logic, and often times this comes across as cold or lacking empathy.

Spock’s Legacy

Spock walked a fine line between being Vulcan and human, a fine line that can be felt with many groups, not just the autistic community, and the respect he received from not only his crew on the television show, but from his fans, reveals how much a character like this was needed in the world. Nimoy’s portrayal of Spock created a legacy, someone for those who are different to look up to and even aspire to.

Spock taught us it was alright to be different, and regardless of how difficult it may seem or feel, we can still succeed in all that we do. Though the character was fictional, his struggles were very real, but despite his struggles, he was still able to “live long and prosper.”