Friday, December 10, 2010

Morgan Freeman on Civil rights

Source (video):

When it comes to pop-culture influencing movements and the way one can think about race relations Morgan Freeman’s stance on black history month is an interesting topic that I have come across. In his interview with sixty minutes Morgan Freeman states that “black history is American history, why does it need to be regulated to one month.” He also states that the issue of race can disappear if everyone just “stops talking about it.” People shouldn’t be classified b race but by their common name. It is with these short statements that famous actor Morgan Freeman raises a lot of questions. While the civil right movement we learn about in class is extremely important and necessary, is the concept of black power, or Black Nationalism useless to our modern society? And if so , is the best way to get rid of racism to simply just stop talking about it, or making the history, economy, and culture of Blacks separate from that of whites?

In class we learned about the actions that the government took during the civil rights movement to end racism. In particular Brown versus the Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These laws were meant by the government to end racist policies and enforce de-segregation within society. Of course as we learned in class it took a lot more action for these laws to be enforced, but it can be generally said that in today’s society things are relatively equal from a political standard, when it comes voting rights, college admission, and hiring of employees. The part where all of this got tricky was the Black power movement which stood for the end of economic inequalities and the rise of nationalism among African Americans. If there hadn’t been such a big push for Black nationalism would things have gotten more equal slowly, or by not bringing attention to general inequalities that a democratic capitalist federal government couldn’t help would things have gotten better slowly and provided for a more integrated society.

I believe that Morgan Freeman does make some good points. As far as Black history month goes it may have served a great purpose from the seventies to the early nineties but now that the Black experience in America is taught in almost every American history class (or at least all that I grew up with in majority white schools) is it really necessary to bring more attention and special treatment towards the Black race in America when their struggle has become an intricate part of American history. It is also an interesting point that Morgan Freeman makes further to say that if everyone just forgot about race and saw each other as human beings would the problem go away? Or is it even possible for those living within our modern society to not see race? I believe that this development Morgan Freeman speaks with such ease about has a ways to go, because of the later part of the civil rights movement being within our parents lifetime it seems that our society will for the next fifty years or so always see race. But I do believe that as society moves forward and our children are running this country seeing people as just people and no color will be a lot less of an issue than it is today.


  1. Although I understand the point that Freeman makes about forgetting race so it will be forgotten, I think race is an important part of a person's identity. This idea can be related to Globalization, which has spread with in the past two decades. Practically anywhere you go now, you are guaranteed to find McDonalds, Gap or another large American brand. Although most Americans think that this is a positive result of our society, we also need to realize that we are robbing people of their own culture.

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