DID you know it is 42 years since Captain Kirk kissed Uhura, the first inter-racial kiss on network television in America? And that William Shatner spoiled every take after they kissed by going cross eyed, so they would have to use it?
You see, that’s one of the reasons I have always liked science fiction – its promotion of racial tolerance and integration and the benefits that can bring, well before that was the norm. It is a universe-view that has informed my world view, all my life.
Which is why I felt like throwing it all in yesterday when a woman chatted to a Prime Minister and dropped an ill-informed racial slur into the conversation, but he was the one who ended up apologising.
Of course, it is election time in the UK when anything Gordon Brown says is magnified by a slavering media pack, and if he thought Gillian Duffy was bigoted in her views on ‘flocking eastern Europeans’, then he should have said that to her instead of mentioning it to an aide in what he thought was a private conversation.
I don’t even hold anything against Mrs Duffy. Rather she has just been overpowered by the immigration=bad line that has been promoted for far too long in our country.
She’s just repeating what she has heard, again and again, until it started to sound like the truth.
But how has it come to this?
To a situation where immigrants to our country are mentioned only in terms of what we can do to control their numbers, and how they are exploiting the system for all its worth, and how they get to the front of the queue for everything and how unfair it all is.
Where tabloid commentators line up to pass judgement on ‘the problem’, pander to outdated stereotypes and search for immigrant families who are receiving what they see as preferential treatment at other’s expense, as if they are the only ones or the norm.
Where judging by Brown’s desperate journey back to Mrs Duffy’s house and rictus grin after apologising, to say anything to challenge this is electoral suicide.
Why aren’t any of the main political party leaders pointing out the massive benefits immigration brings to the country?
Or that Britain’s place in the world is based to a large part upon an expansionist immigration policy of our own, conducted at the point of a gun barrel, so to criticise immigration now is hypocritical in the extreme.
Or to go back to my genre of choice, that the society we live in now seems to have more in common with the perceived wisdom of the Empire and not Star Fleet, if you believe some of the loudest voices out there.
Of course when you come up against issues like this is science fiction, there is often a hero or group of heroes to lead the way and change things for the better.
That’s the case in real life too and we live in a society that is still largely tolerant and understanding.
But I think we need a few more people to act like Captain Kirk to fight the good fight and push back against this tide of ill-informed stereotypes and half-truths – starting with Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.