When Worlds Collide #67: Star Trek to Utopia: The Journey Continues…

When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday newspaper on 19 May 2013

“Hey Mom, Look! There’s a negro woman on TV — and she ain’t cooking dinner!”

So exclaimed a young Whoopi Goldberg when she saw an unusual kind of TV show which started airing on US network television in late 1966.

It featured a black woman character named Uhura in a technical position – as communications officer — on board an advanced starship exploring the universe in the twenty third century. This was unique at the time when minority women, if they appeared at all, were shown doing domestic work.

That show, named Star Trek, was well ahead of its time — not just in the technologies it featured, but also in the utopian ideals it projected.

Years later, Goldberg thanked the show for inspiring her to take to acting. Mae Jamison

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