Charlie Anders over at io9 posted a great entry today about the influence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and work on science fiction. I was especially taken by Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols' story of how he regarded her work on the show:There has been a great deal of discussion over the past year of the influence that television might have had on the American public, preparing them to accept an African-American President. This anecdote testifies to the importance that King ascribed the medium, as well as reinforcing the principles that underlay the development of affirmative action programs. While liberal multiculturalism is easy to critique -- for not going far enough, for promoting a politics in which symbolic victories mask real-world defeats -- I think it appropriate to use this day to reflect on the good it has done. We are still a long way from realizing the peaceful, integrated human society imagined on Star Trek, certainly, but that depressing realization should not stop us from acknowledging that both the current Administration and the one that takes the reins tomorrow look a lot like more the crew of the Enterprise than their counterparts in the 1960s ever did. Even if we are skeptical of the idea that diversity is an end in itself, we can recognize that it is a primary means to an end we must work tirelessly to seek.