From TNG season 1 right up until the end of the TNG movies with Nemesis, Burton was one of the leading Star Trek characters of the era. While be began as a helmsman aboard the Enterprise-D, Geordi LaForge was soon promoted to the role of Chief Engineer, the role for which his character is still best known.
He became a fan-favourite character with his warmth and charisma, and played an important role in the TV series as a best friend and foil to Data. Another long-running plot point throughout TNG for LaForge was his struggle to build a love-life.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Burton opened up about that particular aspect of Geordi’s character, saying that he found it to be insulting and that it was a result of unconscious racial bias.
When asked if he would want anything about Geordi to be different if TNG were made today, Burton replied, “Yeah. He’d get laid.”
He continued, “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.”
Some of the most famous instances where Geordi’s romantic struggles are put on display in TNG include the episodes ‘Booby Trap’ and the subsequent ‘Galaxy’s Child’ where Geordi fell in love with a holographic recreation of a real person – Leah Brahms – only to then meet the real Leah Brahms later on.
From this plotline and others (including attempted relationships with subordinate officers) Geordi’s character is often considered to be inadvertently creepy, so it’s not too hard to understand Burton’s displeasure, especially in contrast to the romantic stories of other characters on the sci-fi series.