As a kid I loved the original Star Trek series, with Capt. Kirk, Spock and Lt. Uhuru (my first “crush” on a t.v star..lol). I later realized as an adult that some of the themes the show dealt with during that era was indeed ground-breaking. The one which was my favorite dealt with the issue of racial prejudice and I watched it again today. It was first broadcasted in 1969 and entitled: “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield“.
The episode deals with bigotry based on the color of one’s skin. The character “Bele” on the left, is a chief officer who is hunting for “Lokai”, a political refugee, the character on the right. Although they both have half black and half white skin, Bele is black on the right side while Lokai is black on the left side. Their societal hierarchy is based on this difference, with Bele representing the dominant culture. Lokai describes in familiar detail, the prejuduce and oppression he and those who look like him endure in their society, while Bele justifies and minimizes this treatment of those whom he sees as inferiors. Bele uses familiar arguments such as “they are animals”, “they want changes to happen too quickly”, ” they want to destroy our society”, “they are criminals”, “we trying to help them but they are ungrateful”, etc. Very deep and still relevant for today much less for 1969. After a series of events they arrive back to their home world to find that the racial hatred between the groups have completely destroyed their planet. Everyone is dead except them. Although they see the ultimate outcome of their racial bigotry, they blame each other for the destruction of their world and instead of attempting some form of reconciliation to preserve their lives, they return to the planet to continue their fight with each other. Their hate for each other is all they know. That is all they have left to live for…. the destruction of each other.
Sometimes I contemplate that as people of African descent, primarily in the diaspora, we are so caught up with “racial” issues. It dominates our life. It dominates our time. It dominates our energy. It dominates our focus. Some of us more than others. We really do need to find a way, individually and collectively, to rise above theses issues to be truly free. To free ourselves…. if not of hate…. then of mental, emotional, intellectual and spiritual slavery. If we cannot accomplish this, I am afraid that we may end up like Bele and Lokai…. knowing nothing but the continuing struggle to destroy ourselves…. and seeing this as some sort of worthy cause.