Kirk & Uhura Kiss on Star Trek and cause Controversy...let me see if I understand this correctly...

KingRandor82's picture
Submitted by KingRandor82 on Sun, 2006-11-26 09:00

Back about 40 years ago, Kirk & Uhura made television history by sharing an interracial kiss on Star Trek, and it's considered to be a monumental moment in history.

I have a question-WHY?

From what I've been hearing( I'll confess- I've seen the MOVIES with the original crew, but never actually sat thru an episode), Kirk managed to bang dozens of alien chicks throughout the universe....yet when he kisses a BLACK HUMAN WOMAN it's considered to be a moment of inspiration?

Guys, care to make some sense of this? To me, it is totally overrated, and so totally sad- and looks overly ridiculous as well.

It's times like these, though, I look to the infinite wisdom of Mr. Spock....and of course Dr. "Bones" McCoy.

( categories: )

I did get transported to the

I did get transported to the bridge of the Enterprise. They had to herd me out I was so surprised and overjoyed.


Me too

Mario's picture

DS9 is my favorite Star Trek. I think the writing is at times superb. What I said about the Ferengi above never diminished my enjoyment of the show.

Question: Did you rent a holosuite while you were there? (And I think you know what kind I'm talking about!)


I found the original series

Ted Keer's picture

I found the original series almost entirely wonderful, except a few episodes such as the planet with the commie miners and the cloud living exploiters. I also hated the empath who had to die to save her race. And lawyer Melvin Belli was perfectly cast as a malevolent ghost.

My favorite episodes were the rock eating Horta, the flying space parasites who drive Spock mad and the Time travel episode where Kirk has to choose between the woman he loves and the future. Oh and the sexy Romulan Commander who falls for Spock and has finger sex with him.

Quarks was fine, it was just Beson versus Aubejonois again. A good reason - for once- to go to Vegas.


I, for one, loved Quark and

I, for one, loved Quark and while in Las Vegas I visited "Quark's" just for fun Smiling


And what's up with the Ferengi?

Mario's picture

I am so glad to see that someone else has noticed this.

The world Roddenberry created was decidedly anti-capitalistic, so I'm not surprised by the Ferengi. But, their characterization is a little too coincidental.

At some point while watching DS9 I realized that they resembled the stereotypical Jew of medieval Europe. They played an important commercial role in a society that was hostile to commerce, and because of that they were reviled for being greedy, lecherous, ugly, untrustworthy, and for having made a religion of money.

To borrow a phrase from another Desilu Production: someone over at Star Trek has "some 'splainin' to do."


Ross Elliot's picture

...dum-de-doo... [whistling]...

Boldly Go

Rick Giles's picture

Oh yeah good one Elliot. Bate me. Bate me to have a scrap with you on an internet forum about who's more Objectivist- Star Wars or Star Trek. You don't get up early enough in the morning to be having me fall for that one, mister.

But anyway, any idiot would tell you that Star Trek's romanticisation of the human condition and the exploration thereof is a more Objectivist theme than Star Wars. Wars glorifies Knights of suppressed passion and...


Star Wreck!

Ross Elliot's picture

Get real! Who gives a rat's ass about Star Trek? Bunch of commie bastards! Gimme the messy *capitalistic* world of Star Wars where they *haven't* abolished money Cool

fools these mortals be

Rick Giles's picture

Kirk managed to bang dozens of alien chicks throughout the universe....yet when he kisses a BLACK HUMAN WOMAN it's considered to be a moment of inspiration?

Of course!
Mortals and Gods have been at it since forever, from Aristophanes to Shakespeare. There's no walls to break down concerning relations with extra terrestrials unless they were broken down millennia ago. Racial barriers, on the other hand, are a whole different ball of yarn. Can't you see?
You're imposing a sort of logic on the humans that they just don't adhere to.

Minor detail

Ted Keer's picture

While I know that Swahili for freedom is uhuru, wasn't Nichols' character named Uhura?


an image on Wikipedia

CONTEXT is all for this one...

Orson's picture

Star Trek (classic) must be seen against the fractious and horrific events of the time, as well as attempts to redeem ourselves as human beings.

First, there was the Cold War, pitting the US and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact members. The world was ideologically divided, and it lasted about 40 years. This bi-polar division framed much of the conflict explored in Trek.

Second, the civil rights movement that flowered during the 1950s (see Brown v Board of Education, which overturned Jim Crow laws enforcing segregations, mostly in the South), came to fruition with federal legislation like the "Civil Rights Act of 1964 Sec. 201. which states: (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin."

In the background of the 1960s were recurrent inner city race-riots, especially in the North. Rioting "continued all across the country in cities such as New York in 1964 and 1968, Detroit and Newark in 1967, San Francisco in 1966, Washington, DC in 1968, Baltimore in 1967 and 1968, and Chicago and Cleveland both in 1968." A famous one occured in Watts, a section of Los Angeles. During it, "34 people were officially reported killed, 1,100 people were injured, 4,000 people were arrested, 600 buildings were damaged or destroyed, and an estimated $35 million in damage was caused."

These riots, unlike the 1992 one in South LA, were in neighborhoods almost entirely black. And television brought images of the violence and flames from fires into American homes for the first time.

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in April 1968. This minister, from the South and PhD educated at Boston University, effectively agitated for the passage of the Civil Rights Act and became the youngest person ever awarded the Noble Peace prize. The philosophy of non-violence or passive resistance employed by the civil rights movement inspired - and to some extent guided - the later successful overthrow of Apartheid rule, where a minority of whites governed a majority of disenfranchised blacks, in South Africa in 1994.

Thus, in November 1968, Kirk kissed Uhuru on national television Mind you, the biggest black movie star at the time was Sydney Poitier. To most Americans, he was the only black movie star; Hollywood was quite segregated then, too. Given the background of violence at home in the US and abroad with the war in Vietnam, the kiss was seen as a gesture of peace and interracial harmony. The oldest laws in the US enforcing racism outlawed marriage between the races. Even today, many still regard it as "unnatural" or against the Will of God.

By contrast to Star Trek, another television series, the first one to star a black actor - Bill Crosby in I Spy, which ran from 1965 to 1968 - failed to tackle racial issues. In fact, some TV stations in the South at first refused to even air it.

While Objectivist (and libertarians and many conservatives) applaud to results of the Civil Rights Act, the forcing of people to associate in private is often strongly citicized, if not rejected outright as unjust. Nonetheless, observing this and the ideal it represents in, for instance, King's "I Have a Dream" speech, given on the mall in Washington, D.C., has become normative in the US.

So, when you say "it is totally overrated, and so totally sad- and looks overly ridiculous as well," you have to consider how much has changed over the decades since then. When I was a kid, the only interracial relationships I knew of were with the "mixed breed" American indian friends in my neighborhood. Today I have two interracial relatives, including my nephew - as well as my best friends wife, who is black. So very much has changed since our parents and grandparents were adults.


Ted Keer's picture

I found all the latter series, except Voyager once Jerri Ryan was cast as Seven of Nine, to be quite tedious. The decision to end that show on the arbitrary idea that show should only run seven years was an absurd tragedy.

And what's up with the Ferengi? Naus is as semitic word for king. They follow a book of laws religiosly. They are short and ugly with big ears and noses. They are money grubbers. All of this is just a little to co-incidentl for me to ignore.

But to his credit, Roddenbery's original series was unparalleled in its optimism and moral-driven plots. He truly was a Romantic, and the show deserves high critical acclaim.

Specifically regarding Uhura & Kirk, I assume that unless one was old enough to understand the matter, it will seem incosequential today. Luke's analysis is good. Also note that Kirk was compelled to kiss Uhura.


The image is from

Historic but not intentionally

Laure Chipman's picture

I don't know what you mean by "overrated."  The makers of Star Trek were not trying to create controversy with the interracial kiss.  They weren't trying to "break ground" but the network executives were horrified at the thought of an on-screen interracial kiss, prompting Roddenberry and the actors to defiantly go ahead with it.  Star Trek's makers would have agreed with you that it was "sad" that such a thing was considered controversial.

Origins of Star Trek

Luke Setzer's picture

I saw Gene Roddenberry speak at my university back in the mid-1980s.  He created Star Trek in the 1960s as a vehicle to confront issues like racism and international warfare.  He wanted to see a healthy way for people to frame these discussions in a way that did not threaten them.  Rather than talking of race against race, it became species against species.  Rather than nation against nation, it became planet against planet.  Given his agenda, no one should feel surprise that he warmed the audience to the idea of dating between species before stepping back to a real possibility with dating between races.

The same happened in the episode about planetary racial war.  All the humanoids on that planet had skin totally black on one side and totally white on the other.  Yet the war erupted because one race had all white skin on its left side and its enemy had all white skin on its right side.  Kirk observed the utter silliness of the war, yet reason would not stop the war.  In the end, the last two survivors locked in mortal battle on the planet's surface.

Sexism offered another theme in the show.  That a woman -- Uhura -- had any authority role at all stunned viewers.  That she was black and that other non-whites also had respectable positions also broke the mold.

Later series like Deep Space Nine carried this tradition of confronting hard questions analogous to those contemporary to viewing audiences.  Part of the success of the series arises from its use of deep, lasting mythological metaphors common to many cultures throughout history.

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