“First” Interracial Kiss on TV

The first interracial kiss on broadcast television is often cited as having occurred in a Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren.” The episode featured a kiss between Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura and William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk.

Maybe they were able to break this new ground because the alien Platonians used their telekinetic powers to force the two to kiss. This scene aired on television on November 22, 1968.

In this brief interview clip, Shatner downplays the impact of the historical scene.

In this video, Nichols explains how the kiss caused some controversy on set and how Shatner becomes a hero of the story. While making the episode, NBC forced the actors to do the scene again without the kiss so they would have options in what they used. Shatner, however, ensured the kiss would be used by intentionally screwing up other takes without the kiss.

Was it really the first interracial kiss on television? Other sources cite an interracial kiss on a British television show in 1964 between the characters Dr. Mahler (Joan Hooley) and Dr Farmer (John White) on the show Emergency Ward 10. Some also note that Our Gang segments had played on TV where the character Buckwheat, played by Billie Thomas, had kissed white girls.

But even if Star Trek was not the first in the world, it was groundbreaking at the time, as was the role of Lt. Uhura. Even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at one point told Nichols that she played an important role as an officer where her race and gender were not an issue.

What is your favorite rule-breaking scene from Star Trek? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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