Monday, December 19, 2005

Morgan Freeman exposes identity politics

"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." —Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The distinguished actor Morgan Freeman revealed himself on last night's episode of 60 Minutes as the pilot of his own airplane, the captain of his own yacht, and a straight-talking critic of identity politics.
Morgan Freeman criticizes black history month

December 15, 2005, 2:29 PM EST

Morgan Freeman says the concept of a month dedicated to black history is "ridiculous."

"You're going to relegate my history to a month?" the 68-year-old actor says in an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" to air Sunday (7 p.m. EST). "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history."

Black History Month has roots in historian Carter G. Woodson's Negro History Week, which he designated in 1926 as the second week in February to mark the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Woodson said he hoped the week could one day be eliminated — when black history would become fundamental to American history.

Freeman notes there is no "white history month," and says the only way to get rid of racism is to "stop talking about it."

The actor says he 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," Freeman says.

The article on this topic says it well: "Resources and organizational opportunities for deeply positive change are squandered in the relentless search for specific group identity." By opportunistically and cynically pitting groups against each other (liberals vs. conservatives, labor vs. management, gay vs. straight, rich vs. poor, black vs. white, rural vs. urban, Christian vs. atheist, men vs. women, public schools vs. private schools, etc.), you create winners and losers at the expense of empathy and understanding. This can increase political power, but doesn't promote collaboration, enable problems to be solved, or enable society to advance.


hammerswing75 said...

I was thrilled to hear Freeman's words. It reminded me Bill Cosby's straight talk about personal responsibility and the state of the black family a while back. Perhaps the tide is turning against identity politics, if ever so slowly.

lloydletta said...

I think it is. Freeman is an excellent actor.