Fifty Years Ago, “Star Trek” Aired TV’s First Interracial Kiss

First interracial kiss on TV.jpg

By Matthew Delmont, The Conversation | Source, Smithsonian

On Nov. 22, 1968, an episode of “Star Trek” titled “Plato’s Stepchildren” broadcast the first interracial kiss on American television.

The episode’s plot is bizarre: Aliens who worship the Greek philosopher Plato use telekinetic powers to force the Enterprise crew to sing, dance and kiss. At one point, the aliens compel Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Captain Kirk (William Shatner) to embrace. Each character tries to resist, but eventually Kirk tilts Uhura back and the two kiss as the aliens lasciviously look on.

The smooch is not a romantic one. But in 1968 to show a black woman kissing a white man was a daring move.

The episode aired just one year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Loving v. Virginia decision struck down state laws against interracial marriage. At the time, Gallup polls showed that fewer than 20 percent of Americans approved of such relationships.

More at Smithsonian.com

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