Tiger Woods isn’t the only celebrity to be tired of people trying to pigeonhole him in one race or another, or to even make a big stink about the color of his skin. Morgan Freeman recently spoke out, somewhat, on the manic obsession that our society makes of race and color:
“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.
I guess now that blacks have been recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures, albeit in a rather contrived showing a couple years ago (which is not to say that Denzel Washington didn’t deserve the award), that’s just one less milestone to conquer. (
By the way, doesn’t anybody think it’s rather nice, and rather interesting, that a black man got to go to space before one got an Oscar? I’ve been informed that Sidney Poitier won an Oscar for his role in Lilies of the Field in 1963, twenty years before Guion “Guy” Bluford became the first African-American in space. The first black man in space was Cuban Colonel Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendez aboard a Soviet mission in 1980.)
Without saying that racism is solved (which, so long as people are human, will never be definitively “solved”), I do believe that this is another step toward Dr. King’s dream that someday, people will be judged “not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.”
Still, while we’re using labels, can we please stop insisting calling blacks “African-Americans”, and insisting that folks like Charlize Theron cannot be called “African-American” simply because she’s white.
By the way, Mr. Freeman, for your words, and for your wonderful work in motion pictures, you are the man!
[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]