Wednesday 18 Jul 2018 | 20:51 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 18 Jul 2018 | 20:51 | SYDNEY

'Don't speak, Hillary, just go'


Sam Roggeveen


5 June 2008 09:57

Ezra Klein from The American Prospect blogs about a scene from Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, to illustrate how far America has come:

Towards the end of the 1967 movie "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," Dr. John Wane Prentice, played by Sydney Poitier, sits down with his fiance's white father, played by Spencer Tracy. "Have you given any thought to the problems your children will have?" Tracy asks. "Yes, and they'll have some...[But] Joey feels that all of our children will be President of the United States," replies Poitier. "How do you feel about that?" asks Tracy, looking skeptically at the black man in front of him. "I'd settle for Secretary of State," Poitier laughs.

Written in the late-1960s, the exchange was, indeed, laughable. The Civil Rights Act had been passed three years prior. Two years before, the Watts riots had broken out, killing 35. Martin Luther King Jr. would be assassinated a year later. But here we are, almost exactly 40 years after theatergoers heard that exchange. The last two Secretaries of State were African-American and, as of tonight, the next president may well be a black man. John Prentice's children would probably still be in their late-30s. They could still grow up to be cabinet officials or even presidents, but they would not necessarily be trailblazers.

I was hoping YouTube would have the clip from the movie, but instead I found another one, involving a character named Hillary. The Hillary in this scene is clearly a racist, which Clinton is certainly not. Still, there are some neat parallels: