Morgan Freeman’s solution to the race problem: Stop talking about it.

July 12, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

Morgan Freeman doesn’t want a Black History Month because “Black History is American History.”

On Sixty Minutes, Mike Wallace asked Freeman how we could solve America’s race problem? Freeman’s answer: “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 like this approach immensely, since there is no scientific basis for “race.” I also offer a slightly different suggestion: All of us should acknowledge that we are all from Africa. Whenever people ask me about my ancestors, I tell I’m “African,” because it is true, despite my outward appearance.

Specialists in race, both geneticists and anthropologists, maintain that modern ideas of race are . . . primarily historical constructions that reflect the pattern of contact between previously distinct populations in the colonial period.

Given recent findings, though, I shouldn’t merely say that I’m “African.” I should add, “With a touch of Neanderthal.” And I should add one more thing to be even more accurate: I’m a descendant of many other critters, including sponges, fungi and bacteria.

It’s amazing how so many of us still put any emphasis on “race.”  It’s time to admit that it was a ridiculous category to create in the first place, and that it has caused only mischief ever since.  The characteristics associated with “race” are a infinitesimally small part of what it means to be a physical human being.  It’s time to bring our culture in line with our physical reality.

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Category: American Culture, Bigotry

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Jim Razinha says:

    Twice in my Navy career, I called out issues like this to seniors officers. One resulted in a change but the other didn’t.

    In 1993, Naval Station Staten Island (no longer in existence) announced the African-American Sailor of the Quarter (SOQ) in February. I was a newly commissioned Ensign, but still went the the Executive Officer and asked why they had such a SOQ, pointing out that we didn’t have an Irish-American, Greek American, etc. Sailor of the Quarter. She said, “You’re right.” And after that, they only had the standard SOQs and Sailors of the Year.

    In 1999, when I was a Lieutenant, I and other officers were briefed on the state of our particular group within the Navy (I’m being circumspect, but the story will show that the identifying detail doesn’t matter) in the coming 21st century. Near the end of the brief, a slide of demographics listed current and expected rank populations. Two lines stood out and I asked why we were tracking women and minorities in the senior ranks.

    At first, the two senior officers giving the presentation answered that we were having problems retaining minority and women officers at those higher ranks. I restated my question, emphasizing my point about the tracking. I said I thought we were not supposed to be focusing on those metrics (goals, quotes, whatever the buzzword of the day is) and that as long as we called attention to them, there would always be a division, a problem. I thought my point, which aligned with Freeman’s, was obvious. Imagine my surprise at the response (and this is a direct quote, burned into my memory): “You’ll understand when you’re older.”

    Yeah. I stared for a couple of seconds in stunned silence and then replied, “I’m a lot older than the average Lieutenant, sir, and I understand fine now.” The briefing continued, no one said anything more to me, no further discussion or explanation and the demographics continued to be tracked and published each year. Yes, it bothered me that my question was dismissed out of hand, but it bothered me more than nobody else thought to ask it.

    I believed then as now that as long as we make an issue, there will be an issue. True, some issues need to be made so that they can be unmade. But on these? Drop the hyphenations. Call everybody Americans. Humans. We are after all, the same species regardless of breeding.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Jim: Thank you for recounting your experiences. Many people are afraid to let go, as if this would force us back to some former “terrible” time when people didn’t judge each other by skin color. But there has not yet been such a time and there needs to be.

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