Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Morgan Freeman steps on some toes.

Culture: Not that Freeman would probably care, but this article in the Baltimore Sun is hysterical.

She isn't mad that the Oscar winner said on CBS' 60 Minutes that it's "ridiculous" to relegate one month to black history and that the practice should be abolished. But as director of the group founded by the father of Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson, Cyrus-Albritton says she has an important message for Freeman: "We're not there yet, Morgan." It was a response echoed by many civil rights leaders and historians across the country yesterday after Freeman's statements, broadcast Sunday, sparked a heated debate over whether, as he suggested, the only way to eliminate racism is to just stop talking about it. "Mr. Freeman was giving an opinion that does not jibe with the best information we have," civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson says. "Unless blacks are given due credit for what they do, we need to continue teaching black history, for both esteem purposes and edification. ... I have a lot of respect for him as an actor, but [the] actor makes a statement, an observation. He is not a historian. He is projecting an idealism. We should leave this debate to historians." Cyrus-Albritton of the 90-year-old Association for the Study of African American Life and History in Washington, agreed that the job of educating Americans about black history is far from done. "We have a mission to research, promote, preserve and disseminate information about the contributions of African-Americans in history and their diaspora," she said. "When that mission is complete, maybe celebrations like Black History Month can take a different slant. American history books - and the way it is taught - still [do] not include the full contribution of African-Americans or other minorities for that matter. "Dr. Woodson hoped that one day there would no longer be a need for Black History Month because it would be incorporated into American history all year round. So the goal Morgan Freeman speaks of is our goal as well." Many critics went further, calling Freeman "naive" for suggesting that racism would disappear if people stopped labeling each other by skin color, and "silly" for saying there should be no Black History Month since there is no White History Month or Jewish History Month. Some saw Freeman's words as a betrayal of the black community, reminiscent of comedian Bill Cosby's criticism of low-income blacks last year, but others praised the actor for spurring the recent dialogue on race. And despite the critics, there are a growing number of people who believe that designating one month to black history only helps to trivialize it.
It does help trivialize it, but this is the catch for a lot of the "critics." Unless they keep blck history month seperate, it gives them a job and a purpose to keep pushing the victim mentality. Its a bully pulpit they do not want to give up as Ron Walters shows.
"Racism is built into the structure of society," says Ron Walters, the director of the African American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland. "It's not just a question of individual action. It's built into public policy. It's built into education. It's built into a number of the things that have impact on millions of people. To say there's no need for Black History Month is to assume that there is an equality of being that does not exist. "Whites do not need a day to mark their history because they are written into history every day," Walters says. "The opposite is true for African-Americans. Morgan Freeman is an accomplished actor, but we probably shouldn't make more of his statement than that. The problem is that I could be writing serious tomes about this issue for years and then some stupid remark comes along that would take precedence over that."
Couple of interesting things about this article, the writer Dang says "growing number of people who believe that designating one month to black history only helps to trivialize it" Where are the quotes from those growing number of people? I always say you can see the agenda of the reporter by how he ends the report which is giving the last word to Ron Walters. I find it telling that Morgan Freeman is now lumped in with Bill Cosby as a traitor for telling the truth. Both Freeman and Cosby earned their success after years of hard work which helped to shape them into the people they are today. They were not given anything or born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Their opinions have weight as they look back and see wasted opportunity and stupid decisions being made. That is what ticks off people like Jesse Jackson, these aren't no name chumps trying to cause controversy, they are just telling it like it is.

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