In a December 2005 interview with Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes, Morgan Freeman dropped a bombshell that sent ripples through the race-focused crowd everywhere.
As Wallace attempted to paint him as a radical for his views, in only a few brief moments, Morgan Freeman laid waste to stereotypes, and worked wonders for bridging the racial divide in America. This compelling part of the interview began as Wallace asked Freeman,
“Black History Month, you find?”
Freeman said, “Ridiculous.”
When Wallace asked, “Why?” Freeman said, “You’re going to relegate my history to a month?” The exchange continued:
Wallace: “Oh, come on.”
Freeman: What do you do with yours? Which month is white history month? No, Come on, tell me.”
Wallace: “Well, I’m Jewish.”
Freeman: “Okay. Which month is Jewish history month?”
Wallace: “There isn’t one.”
Freeman: “ Oh. Oh, why not? Do you want one?”
Wallace: “No. No.”
Freeman: “I don’t either. I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.”
Wallace: “How are we going to get rid of racism and ….”
Freeman: “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. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You want to say, `Well, I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.’ You know what I’m saying?”
“Mm-hmm,” uttered Mike Wallace after having the divisive talking point blown out of the water.
The profound point made by Morgan Freeman is something that is not allowed on mainstream media as the mainstream and many in the alternative media use tactics, whether intentional or not, to divide society. To garner support for one’s cause, many people resort to the US vs. Them tactics; anyone not on board with ‘Us’ is with ‘Them’ and therefore, their entire position is deemed irrelevant.
Actually talking to other human beings, who you may disagree with, often leads to an understanding of perceived opposite perspectives. Cordiality and mutual kindness are what end wars — not infighting and obstinance.
Although many people feel this drive to unity, unfortunately, in today’s society, those who attempt to bridge the divide are often chastised and cast out by the ‘Us’ crowd, who wishes to remain in control by keeping the masses at each other’s throats.
The most recent example of this chastisement for attempting to bridge the divide is the case of Hollywood’s Stacey Dash.
If we apply the approach of cordiality and mutual kindness to Dash, and look past the fact that she works for Fox News, we can find value in her most recent, and highly controversial statements.
This week, Dash made headlines when she called for the abolishment of Black History Month and BET. Not only did she make headlines, she was cast into the pit of ridicule and hate by BET, their supporters, and many others in the mainstream media.
Of course, anyone should be able to start a television channel or show about anything they wish; it’s called free speech — and it shall not be infringed.
However, Dash’s sentiment toward BET is not some radical rightwing view. In fact, scholars within the black community maintain that BET perpetuates and justifies racism affecting the interpersonal beliefs others may generalize about blacks, and also by affecting the psyche of its young viewers through its bombardment of negative images of blacks.
The New York Times also reported on Reverend Delman L. Coates and how his organization Enough is Enough led protests every weekend outside the residences of BET executives chanting “BET does not reflect me, MTV does not reflect me,” against what they claim are negative stereotypes of black people perpetuated by BET music videos.
Furthermore, as noted above by Morgan Freeman, Black History Month perpetuates the divide by justifying the racist notion of segregation. If people believe history needs to be segregated, what do they think about people? Black history is American history; forcefully segregating it only perpetuates racism.
Instead of issuing an apology for her remarks, on Thursday, Dash wrote a blog explaining that she looks forward to the day “when people don’t self-segregate based on skin color, while loudly complaining about a segregated society.”
“My problem goes back to the notion that every area of life needs to break down exactly according to demographic ratios except in those areas in which black people have decided they want to have their own space,” Dash said in her blog. “I don’t have a problem with black people having their own space. I have a problem with the folks at BET absolutely freaking out when other institutions don’t match up to what they think is best.”
It is no question that racism is alive and well in America. But the solution does not lie in blaming entire demographics. The solution is simple, and it’s been around for a long time. Martin Luther King Jr. summed up this solution in his famous “I have a dream…” speech in 1963.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
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. I have a dream ….”