"The question before is, whether the class of persons described in the plea in abatement compose a portion of this people and are constituent members of this sovereignty? We think they are not, and that they were not included and were not intended to be included, under the word 'citizens' in the constitution and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to the citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant race and whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the government might choose to grant them."
-- Chief justice Roger Brooke Tanny of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Dred Scott vs. Sandford, quoted in Zion Archives, Bits and Pieces, reached by way of the Matrix Character Database.
Want to know more about Dred Scott v. Sandford?
- The change in public opinion and feeling in relation to the African race, which has taken place since the adoption of the Constitution, cannot change its construction and meaning, and it must be construed and administered now according to its true meaning and intention when it was formed and adopted.
- The plaintiff having admitted, by his demurrer to the plea in abatement, that his ancestors were imported from Africa and sold as slaves, he is not a citizen of the State of Missouri according to the Constitution of the United States, and was not entitled to sue in that character in the Circuit Court.
Does seem that the Dred Scott decision lives on in an unofficial way at times, but that's a post for another day.
Update: This seemed a bit obvious, but sometimes stating the obvious is good.
At some point between the time of The Second Renaissance and that of the films, the machines went from being "read" as black (see above) to being "read," or at least portrayed by, white men.
Dualism. Nasty shit.