Commentary on Morgan Freeman words on racism

By Michael Vass | September 25, 2011

Morgan Freeman is an incredible actor. He is one of a few actors that has gravitas. He is the leading choice in Hollywood to play the role of God, President(s), or any number of authority figures. Even his voice adds credibility, and interest among moviegoers.

It’s because of this, Mr. Freeman is groundbreaking. In an industry where nepotism and the old-boys-club remain the leading factors in who gets cast in what role, Mr. Freeman shatters the glass ceiling, more often than not. In an industry that has continuously depicted America in a visual image more akin to 1950 than 2011, Mr. Freeman introduces the reality of America today.

But, all that respect and ability are NOT the same as wisdom or knowledge. Given he has faced racism in his life – as every person of color has at some point in their life in America – he still is not the voice of African Americans, nor a political expert. Sadly, because of his image and gravitas, his words are taken as if he were such an expert. It’s a pitfall that many famous people seem to fall into.

Mr. Freeman said yesterday that

“Their (the Tea Party) stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term,’ he told Piers Morgan on CNN. “What underlines that? “Screw the country. We’re going to do whatever we can to get this black man out of here”.’

This qualifies the Tea Party as racists. At least in the opinion of Mr. Freeman. It is a position held by President Jimmy Carter, and promoted by the Black Congressional Caucus as well as many other Democrats and Liberals.

The problem is, it’s a fabrication. The second part of his statement, the conclusion he comes to, is aribtrarily determined by he is own views. He makes that conclusion, not the Tea Party. He is injecting race into a political debate on the effectiveness of the current President. Which in itself is racist, or at least racial.

That’s the problem with celebrities. They assume their views must be the logically correct one. They believe that everyone else must agree with them on the issues they take up. They assume they have all the knowledge necessary to form the only conclusion possible. More often than not, this is completely false.

Yes the Tea Party and Republicans (which are not the same thing nor necessarily connected) want to make President Obama a 1 term President. Which is not so unusual. The opposition political party ALWAYS wants to give their opponents as little time in the Presidency as possible. It’s not racist with White Presidents. It wasn’t racist when President Bush was in office, or President Clinton, President Carter, and so on – why would it be with President Obama? Because an actor says so? Because some want to focus on the skin color of the current President rather than his political actions and political partisanship?

Is it racist to say that President Obama has failed to acheive the major, and almost all the minor, political objectives he promised in 2008? Is it racist to say that the Stimulus that President Obama placed before America has failed to do what his White House claimed it would do? Is it racist to note the potential Consititutional illegality of the Health Care Reform? Is it racist to point out the flip-flop that President Obama has made, from when he was a Senator to being President now? Is it racist to point out problems with the American Jobs Act proposal? Name another President who was not criticised for his actions in office, or the reversal of his positions. It can’t be done, so how is that racist?

Name a President that has not been critisized and/or ridiculed while in office. Pres. Carter and the killer rabbit, Reagan and a senile cowboy, Clinton and what is the definition of “is”, Bush ‘read my lips’, the other Bush as some extremists applauded the President having shoes thrown at him (would those same people applaud someone throwing a shoe at Obama?). Where is the racism?

No, gravitas and the ability to play an authority figure do not automatically confer the wisdom, knowledge, or ability to actually be a leader or authority. It means that the actor is good at one job, not all others. Mr. Freeman projects racism that he wants to exists (as do many supporters of President Obama) to justify the poor leadership and ineffectiveness of the Obama Administration. If there is racism present, then failure is somehow justified and excusable.

It’s insulting. Is it not the most free and equal action to look at President Obama’s job performance and judge him as every White President has been?

Of course this is not to say that there are no racists in America. Before the 2008 election there were polls showing that at least 40% of Americans (Democrats and Independents specifically) were willing to vocally admit that they prefered to not vote for a Black President.

“More than a third of all white Democrats and independents — voters Obama can’t win the White House without — agreed with at least one negative adjective about blacks, according to the survey, and they are significantly less likely to vote for Obama than those who don’t have such views.” – AP, Sept 2008

There is no question that there was racism before President Obama, and unlike the hopes for a post-racial America that came from Liberals it has continued during the Obama Administration. Sadly it will likely continue long after as well.

The fact is that racism is a part of America be cause it is something the nation will not address. It may well be that the fantasy some had, mostly the Liberals and liberal media that created the visage of a post-racial America, has made it feel like America is more racial now than before. Perhaps it is the realization that the fantasy Mr. Freeman had going into the 2008 election was just a fantasy, is what makes him conclude America must, de facto, be more racist. The Tea Party and Republicans are just the scapegoat to hang that justification on, rather than undersatanding that the unrealistic expectations were an error on his and other fantasy seekers parts.

I respect Morgan Freeman. I applaud the fact that he is willing to take a stand on his views and to publicly make a statement. But, reality and his opinion are not the same. He, like Rep. Maxine Waters and Rep. Shirley Jackson Lee and others, are the only people constantly and definitively injecting racism into politics these days. Only these Obama supporters are unilaterally calling opposition to policy racist. Likely because there is no other way of defending the failure of these policies.

It’s not racist for ANYONE to oppose a political policy they disagree with. It’s not racist to point out failure in a White House Administration. It’s not racist to vocally (and/or visually) express a disapproval of a sitting President. In fact these are actions guaranteed by the First Amendment, which Morgan Freeman and other Obama supporters are effectively trying to suppress by labeling it racist. Not only are such actions racist in themselves, they are violations of the very Freedoms they (Democrats and Liberal) profess to be champions of and ardently support. The very same Freedom that allows Hollywood to exist.

Are there racists in the Tea Party? Might as well ask if there are racists in the Democrat Party, Republican Party, and Independents. The answer is there are racists in America. But that does not mean saying that opposing rasing the debt ceiling, or noting the failure of the Stimulus, or identifying the problems in the Health Care Reform, or asking for the War Powers Act to be enforced is the same as racism.

I dare Mr. Freeman, or any other Obama Supporter to prove how such disapproval and political critique is either racist or unique to President Obama alone.

This is not some movie script. Morgan Freeman is not an authority on anything but acting. He is not the voice of African Americans, nor narrator over some film defining what is and is not racism. But by injecting his personal disappointment (potentially) on the failure of America becoming post-racial after electing President Obama, Mr. Freeman becomes exactly what he is accusing others of being.


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