T Nation

Morgan Freeman and Racism


#1

Television often celebrates Black History Month with showings of his films, but Morgan Freeman thinks the whole idea of a month for black history is "ridiculous."

The actor tells Mike Wallace he opposes designating a special month because it separates black history from American history, and is part of a labeling process that abets racism.

"You're going to relegate my history to a month?" Freeman asks Wallace. After noting there is no "white history month," he says, "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history," he tells Wallace.

"How are we going to get rid of racism? Stop talking about it!"

Freeman believes the labels "black" and "white" are an obstacle to beating racism. "I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man," he says.


Just something interesting I thought I would post.


#2

besides that, how messed up is it that Black History Month is in February ( the shortest month)?


#3

I always thought Freeman is a smart guy.


#4

And he is a hell of an actor. I agree with him. Most of this stuff is feel good BS and separates us more than it brings us together in my opinion.


#5

gotta agree with Zap.


#6

But not as nearly as entertaining as what was made from Bill Cosby's infamous speach- oops did i say that outloud?


#7

Freeman is so right. (Although this leaves me confused with him presenting at the Black Movie awards.)

Oh and Cosby is right also. Instead of listening to what he says, people are getting upset because he is not following the politically correct line, and actually thinking about the issues.

Once people realize there is no race, and there is no culture, it will be a better place. When you really get down to it, we are all the same.


#8

Black people are finally figuring out that things like the Great Society of LBJ was all a scam, in fact was devastating to the black community. They are finally figuring out that naming your child 'O-ran-jello', letting him dress 'gangsta' and speak like a half-wit, was a guarantee of poverty and misery.

Things like Black History Month, the African-American Culture Center (go to any big university to find one), Kwanzaa, all seperate black americans from all others.

If someone is radically different from most people in the middle class, they will be excluded. Right or wrong, that's what will happen -- and upper class is not the usual alternative.


#9

O-ran-jello? That's stupid, and you are an idiot. Let's make sweeping racist statements that only marginally deal with the topic! Good job! Idiot.


#10

You all are just now figuring this out about this guy? It was evident from his first posts on this site.


#11

It is stupid. But it happens. Look around you. To gloss over detrimental societal activity by thinking it only marginally deals with the topic is sad.

If you act like a dumbass idiot - you will be treated as such without regard to skin color.

More money is made, and more power is maintained by keeping black youth angry, dis-illusioned, and uneducated.

I think people like Mr. Freeman, and Walter Williams understand this. If more black youth would understand this and quit listening to idiots like Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan - you'd see an explosion of black wealth. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.


#12

Maybe you missed this, but making grand generalizations about an entire race equals what? My sister is named after a woman in the Bible. Is this ignorant? The majority of the black women I know don't have "ghetto-centric" names and I grew up in Southeast Houston. If you didn't know, that's in the opposite direction of the Galleria.

While I have agreements with some of what he said, the institution of a period of time that focused on the accomplishments of blacks in this country was very much needed once. I remember growing up and not seeing many blacks at all on tv in commercials. If they were seen in tv shows, it was generally in poor situations or some black kid was being "rescued" by a white family which was the only way they could be rich. While many could argue whether BET, Black History month, or Black Music awards are needed TODAY, let's not be ignorant of the past.

Will Smith was the FIRST black rap artist to receive a grammy award...and they didn't even air the scene of him receiving it on national tv because they thought the rap category would bring down the image of the award show. Did you know this? This was in the 90's, not 500 years ago. In a world like that, black entertainment television was the only place I could even see many of the artists I looked up to. There was a time before MTV finally let there be a music show focusing on rap or even R&B. Before then, as I stated before, the very first artist of color to ever be played on that network was Micheal Jackson and he had to FIGHT to get his shit played....from an album that is still selling records today.

Let's not get stupid. Blacks fought to be seen as equals and while you can argue whether we still need categories that focus on our abilities today, let's not forget what got us here.


#13

He does this every thread, makes ridiculous borderline offensive statements to draw attention to himself. Seriously, just ignore him.


#14

i don't know what to make of this. on one hand i so agree with morgan. sometimes the answer is so clear. but only for those willing to accept common truths.

the first open heart surgery was done by a man who grew up 10 miles away from my home. he happened to be of african lineage. and i'm sad that i only hear about it once a year in february. however,if not for this yearly celebration,i might have never known this. in some ways it does serve it's purpose.

just like affirmitive action. is it fair? no. is it degrading? yes. is it neccesary? probably. will business owners of different ethnic backgrounds hire people who are of african heritage? some will,some won't. unless you make them.
will the history writers add african american history to the american history books? probably not unless you make them.

ppl for the most part want the same things in life.

the differences that exist between ppl were created by ppl.

morgan is right but there has to be more than just boycotting black history month. a push to include the real history in the history books no matter how ugly or unflattering it is,would be a step in the right direction.

and no matter what someones lineage is,always treat ppl as individuals and not as groups.


#15

Great post. Unless it is common knowledge that blacks have helped invent as much if not more in this country as any other race, then a focus on black history is needed (not just a month). We have seen through other debates on this forum that very few even think blacks have actually done anything of note in this country. How could that be if our history is included into "American History" equally? It isn't included equally so why pretend as if that goal has been accomplished?

Who thought of the idea to use copper wire filament in a light bulb? If you don't know this, why would you believe a commonly retold lie?

Meanwhile, that cellphone you talk on was also invented by a black man. Yes, I find knowing this uplifting as would any child brought up without much. It opens the world of possibilities when you realize that nothing holds you back. Until it is common knowledge that we are truly equal and have surpassed in spite of obstacles, why would someone be against the focus?


#16

I didn't know where the Galleria is located. Thanks for the geography lesson. Please don't mistake my agreement with what he said for making a blanket statement about all blacks. Neither am I so hung up on names. That is a personal decision made by the mom and dad. But to deny that there is a glorification of being ghetto, or urban, or whatever it's called is to deny reality.

Agreed. But - the prevailing wisdom in the black community seems to be that if you break out to become more than a rapper or an athlete, and become a friend of the white culture - you are a sell out. Why? Power, and greed. Jesse Jackson cares only about his power, and maintaining it.

The congressional black caucus is way more concerned with fostering the chasm between race relations than bridging it.

Agreed a second time. I think the traditional black power structure is working harder to keep blacks poor, dumb, and unemployed than any white guy I know. That is the real problem I see. I think that the next step in the eradication of racial barriers is squarely on the backs of the black youths. Getting an education and succeeding in they have been told is a white man's world is NOT a sell out. It is true freedom.


#17

First, why do you seem to be associating culture and race? Do you realize those are, in fact, completely independent things, and one's race truly doesn't tell you anything about one's culture?

But maybe I misunderstood you there, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Second, "There is no Culture"?!?!?!?!

That I can't give you the benefit of the doubt on. That is clearly one of the most insane things I ever read.

Culture is an integral part of one's identity. Like it or not, most people, especially kids, are EXTREMELY prone to influence and mob mentality. Kids will look up to their parents, and/or to external role models, and try to be like them. That is part of the process of growing up. Even "worse", kids who will go against that, and try to swim against the current, will be quickly attacked and, in many cases, shot down and humiliated.

Things don't change that much when you're an adult -- it's just that you can completely isolate yourself if you're different -- but is that much of a life?

That is the core of the development of a culture, that evolves over time inside communities -- and yes, this is true especially in communities that are purposively isolated or segregated, either by themselves (self-segregation) or by others.

But even if we completely stopped segregation (both types), including racism and class-based segregation, different cultures would still emerge, from all kinds of influences. People would look for cultural guidance anywhere and eventually local cultures would again develop, across racial lines, but they still would. It is just so much a part of humanity that you simply cannot get away from.

It is basically collective thinking, fueled by role models and mob mentality, some of the most fundamental things in humans.

Some excepcional people will break away from it, but very few have the intelligence, the guts and the energy to be "different". And, even the ones that do, in a sense, they will adopt a culture too, albeit a different one from their surrounding community.

Culture is not one of those things that "if you ignore it, it will go away". It is something that was, is and will always be there, and we need to understand and deal with... not to hope it goes away, because it never will -- even if racism does, eventually.


#18

What I do find funny, however, is how the "political" opinions of actors are regarded as useless idiotic banter...until they say something you agree with. Then their words get plastered for all to see.


#19

I think folks like Bill Cosby and Morgan Freeman have earned a level of respect. They are black, and have gone through a lot of stuff that most folks born after 1970 only talk about.

I think their views on being black carry a whole lot more weight than Janine Garafalo yammering her pseudo-intellectual trap about the evils of the Bush Administration.


#20

Glorification of urban culture? What's your point? I love Hip-Hop urban culture. I love that it is being "glorified". I doubt you even truly understand much about that culture seeing as you degrade it so readily. I particularly love New Soul with its retro-70's return to the way music used to be. But you know about all of this already, huh? Anthony Hamilton? John Legend? Hell, even 50 Cent openly states that he doesn't smoke weed.

Actually, I would say that if any attitude has greatly changed over the last 15-20 years, it is the generalization you just made. Do you honestly think the Paris Hilton mentality has no black counterpart? What do you think the over-reference to "bling", Benzo's, or ice is referring to. With black entreprenuers who maintain an urban lifestyle coming to the forefront more and more (especially in the music/producing industry) well into their 40's and 50's, it is now seen that you don't have to "act white" to be successful...which used to be considered the only way to make it in America. I generally speak just like I type...including the use of random slang and I didn't have to "sell out" to graduate near the top of my class. I did, however, have to miss some parties. I think that message is making its way throughout the community to a rather large degree. There are still large problems, but "urban culture" is not what the problem is.

I don't follow any of their actions so if you want to discuss them, you will have to bring up specific topics.

There is no disagreement that an education needs to be shown as "the way". I hope that message gets spread further and I hope that I can even help with that.