Morgan Freeman is Pro-Migrant, Supports Carlos Santana

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I'm a little late to this, but t's good to see Morgan Freeman supporting Carlos Santana's courageous stand against Georgia's nativism in this CNN Interview (sombrero tip to ColorLines):

"What would you do with Carlos Santana? Send him back? He's a national treasure. What would you do with him? The legislature here in Georgia, the legislature there in Arizona, that is absolutely un-American--completely. That's the kind of discrimination that we now have to--it's gonna be our next civil rights struggle--is immigration. We are a magnet for people, we want to continue to be that. If you're not that, then you're not who you say you are. What does it mean to be an American anymore?"
Morgan Freeman - CNN (24 May 2011)

Freeman hits on something which I've always found so ridiculous about nativism. I grew up in a country, Guatemala, that people want emigrate from. It's a privilege to live in a country that people want to immigrate to. Nativists seeking to destroy that privilege hurt not only migrants, but all of us.
I was slightly surprised by these statements, if I may humbly say so, because I'm familiar with Morgan Freeman's comments to 60 Minutes on race:

Mississippi's history of racial conflict bothers him even to this day. Forgive, he says, but never forget.

For one, he thinks the Mississippi state flag, with its confederate emblem, should be changed.

"That flag has always represented, number one, treason and, number two, a separation of white people from Jews, niggers and homosexuals. And you can't change that. You can't tell me I'm never going to be able to look at that flag and think, 'Ah, it's my heritage, my, you know...' Never," says Freeman.

His social and political views are at times surprising and he pulls no punches.

He says he finds Black History Month "ridiculous."

"You're going to relegate my history to a month?" asks Freeman. "I don't want a Black History Month. Black history is American history," he says, noting that there are no white or Jewish history months.

How can we get rid of racism?

"Stop talking about it. I'm going to stop calling you a white man," Freeman says to Wallace. "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 wouldn't say, 'Well, I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.' You know what I'm sayin'?"
60 Minutes (11 February 2009)

He's right on most of what he says. He's right on the Mississippi flag, and while I support Black History Month, I always thought it was some sort of cruel joke that it's celebrated on the shortest month of the year.

I think it's a real mistake, though, to confuse racism with race-blindness, which I think Freeman does in this 60 minutes interview. As far as I can tell I'm not of recent African descent (discounting the origin of humanity, of course), and I'm certainly not identified as such, so I defer to folks negatively affected by racism on how best to deal with it. Still my liberation is tied up in the liberation of all folks, and I've come to learn that dealing with racism through race-blindness is like trying to throw dirt over a faulty foundation in hopes that the house will still stand. The real solution is to be race-conscious so that we dig up that faulty foundation and reconstruct it, or at least rework it so that more people can live in the house without it falling down.

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on June 11, 2011 6:44 AM.

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