Back in the fifities, I used to read science fiction. One of my favorite genres was near future projections. One of the more famous of those books, not really sci-fi, was Irving Wallace’s The Man, where by a fluke, a Black man becomes president of the U.S.
One of the hallmarks of these novels was the sneaky working in of some comment which revealed a surprising development taken for granted by the characters, such as the scene in Planet of the Apes where only the head of the Statue of Liberty is sticking above the sand, a shock for the astronaut but just part of the scenery for the locals.
The use of telltale phrases and titles and words illuminate the changed situation of the future, like President Robert E. Lee granted clemency to the traitors U.S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln or some such.
So today, when I heard in a routine broadcast,
“President Barack Obama said he asked his Sec’y of the Interior, Ken Salazar………..” I immediately flashed on such a scene in a 50s sci-fi short story, a president with a Muslim and African name and a cabinet secretary with a Hispanic surname. Go back over the names of cabinet members in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, the period when I grew up. You won’t find Hispanics and Blacks and few Jews.