In Goldstein's April 17 article, "The Hollywood Shuffle," Spike Lee is quoted thusly: "Lots of people--even black people--thank Cleopatra was a white woman just 'cause Elizabeth Taylor played her in the movie."
Actually, lots of people think Cleopatra was white 'cause she was!
The last of the Ptolemy rulers of Egypt, Cleopatra was descended from the Greek general of the same name, one of the men who helped Alexander the Great conquer the known world.
When Alexander died, his generals divided up his territories and Ptolemy chose Egypt. He and all his descendants (including Cleopatra) married Greeks--quite often their sisters or aunts or, in Cleo's case, brothers.
Thus, in spite of ruling Egypt for centuries, the Ptolemys remained almost pure Greek--with just a touch of Iranian (Aryan) blood and no African blood at all.
In the film to which Mr. Lee refers, Marc Antony (Richard Burton) responds to a question from Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) as to what he prefers in life by saying " . . . and most things Greek." To which Cleo replies that they should get along together well since she was a "mostly Greek thing."