#ThrowbackThursday: “Star Trek” Interracial Kiss

"Star Trek"Interracial Kiss, 1968

“Star Trek”Interracial Kiss, 1968

Science fiction has long welcomed diversity. The genre has frequently depicted cultural and social mores ahead of the time, even in post-World War II prosperity.

On Nov. 22, 1968, “Star Trek” aired the “Plato’s Stepchildren” episode. While the episode plot centers on a race of telekinetic humanoids, it’s most remembered for depicting the first interracial kiss between a Caucasian man and an African-American woman on a scripted American TV show.

Capt. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Lt. Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) kissed while under alien telekinesis (probably to make it more palatable for the audiences) during the episode. Later, Nichols reported that there had been some pushback from viewers, but some were supportive.

It’s safe to say the episode might’ve opened people’s minds in regards to miscegenation. Nichols singled out one such letter from a white Southerner:

“I am totally opposed to the mixing of the races. However, any time a red-blooded American boy like Captain Kirk gets a beautiful dame in his arms that looks like Uhura, he ain’t gonna fight it.”

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