Morgan Freeman’s opinion on racism
Morgan Freeman, a famous black American movie star, has stated some controversial things regarding racism, which are now presented all over social media.
One such quote is “How do you stop racism? Stop talking about it.”
“I’m going to stop calling you a white man and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”
These quotes have upset the majority of black people and understandably so, as they believe his words deny the fact that racism exists.
My initial thought replicated the majority and my instant reaction to this was, and in some terms still is…
“An ostrich buries his head in the dirt to keep himself safe from predators, as he believes that if he can’t see the danger, it will be gone.”
“If I was to get everyone in the world to stop calling a potato a potato, the word would no longer exist, but the potato would.”
So, has my opinion differed?
Well, based on this quote and this quote alone, it has slightly.
Before I continue, I would like to say that as an actor, I think Morgan Freeman is amazing. I also believe that his opinion shouldn’t be discounted and that he should feel as though he has the right to voice it.
Morgan Freeman is a direct descendant of the Trans-Atlantic slavery. He has worked hard to achieve what he has and as such it’s worth listening to and examining what he has said.
Firstly, I want to attempt to shed a positive light on Mr Freeman’s words by explaining what I perceive he was attempting to relay.
The idea of not talking about racism can be and should be associated to a time before Portuguese writer Gomez De Zurara, who wrote in approximately 1450, that black people were less Intelligent and were synonymous to animals.
Gomez De Zurara had been commissioned to do so to justify the rape of resources and the enslavement of Africans in their own country to assist with the rape, which ultimately paved the way for the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
It was believed that prior to this was no real perception of skin colour, only cultural differences, religious differences and geographical borders.
Therefore, I would suggest that what Mr Freeman was alluding to was that we need to get back to those days before skin colour was used as a tool to rationalise and justify oppression and that his simplistic idea on how to do so, is to no longer acknowledge or refer to a person’s colour.
Now, I’m not saying that this isn’t feasible. However, for this to work, we would probably have to wait at least ten generations, eradicate any history of how black people came to the Americas (and I mean the entirety of the Americas) and remove from modern perception any trace of the history of colonialism.
Remember, the US only accounts for 12% of the slaves brought over from Africa, with the majority of slaves (in fact over 10 times more) being taken to Brazil between the times 1514 to 1866. (Taken from statista.com)
So, for Mr Freeman’s idea to work it would require a worldwide shift in thinking and attitude, and in the mean time the rape of the continent of Africa would continue, causing the financial disparity between white and black people to increase.
What amazes me is that Morgan Freeman comes across as an Intelligent, articulate and well spoken man, who speaks with a confidence that rejects any challenge to his views.
As I stated before this isn’t the only controversial statement that Mr Freeman has said in relation to race, which makes me wonder about his motives.
Does he believe making statements like this will benefit him in any form? Because the opposite is true for the hundreds of thousands of black people around the world who will be harmed by this ideology.
It hurts to see openly racist people sharing Morgan Freeman’s face on social media with these quotes next to them, apparently in an attempt to justify and perpetuate their own racist world views and attitudes. A white person can claim ignorance on these issues, as we all know that you can never really know
someone unless you walk in their shoes.
Morgan Freeman has achieved in life. He has had a successful career in an industry that has, in the past, been very limited for black people and in a field he has been passionate about his entire life.
He deserves the success he has achieved and he has also helped open the door for other black actors. For that, black people will always be grateful.
However, the blinkered reality he seems to be living in which allows him to assume that racism would vanish if we just be keep our mouths shut about it, is naive at it’s best and at it’s worst, very dangerous.