Morgan Freeman’s New Role: Race Baiter

I’ve always been a big fan of Morgan Freeman’s acting. He’s an accomplished artist whose screen portrayals of good-natured, honest, admirable characters are sometimes Hollywood masterpieces. He plays that type of character so well that he’s been a bit typecast over the years. Yet, I never get tired of his strong performances of men of integrity.

When I see an actor frequently play kindred roles so gracefully and convincingly, I tend to think that I must be watching a bit of the actor himself coming out in his characters. Sure, I understand the naivety of that assumption, but I think it’s probably an instinctual reaction that we’ve all been guilty of at one time or another.

In Freeman’s case, I thought I might have actually been right.

In 2009, I watched him being interviewed by Mike Wallace. The issue of racism came up and Freeman voiced his displeasure with the idea of Black History Month. He felt it was silly and counterproductive to create a sub-category of American History based on people’s skin color, and he voiced his irritation with society’s habit of identifying individuals by their race. When Wallace asked him, “How are we going to get rid of racism?” Freeman pointedly answered, “We stop talking about it.” I thought Freeman’s point was brilliant. He’d reached a conclusion which we often don’t hear from today’s leaders in the black community, yet he seemed to capture the very essence of what the civil rights movement was all about: A color-blind society.

Earlier this week, however, it became clear that Freeman has since changed his mind on racism in America. He told CNN’s Pierce Morgan that the election of Barack Obama has actually made racial matters worse in our country, and he blames that on – you guessed it – The Tea Party. Freeman pointed to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as an example. He chided the senator for publicly stating his goal of preventing President Obama from winning a second term. Freeman interpreted the meaning of McConnell’s statement as, “We’re going to whatever we do to get this black man, we can, we’re going to do whatever we can to get this black man outta here.” When Pierce Morgan surprisingly challenged Freeman on his claim that racism was the motivator as opposed to partisanship or policy-differences, Freeman bluntly replied, “It is a racist thing.”

Oh what a difference two years makes.

Now, I do agree with one thing Freeman said in the CNN interview. I believe there has indeed been an uptick in racial tensions in this country since the election of Obama… But for a completely different reason.

Things are worse now because our president’s skin color has routinely and shamelessly been used by his supporters as a shield to protect him from legitimate criticism. Every time I think this ridiculous media narrative of ‘If you oppose Obama, you must be a racist’ has run its course, some high-profile elitist from the left throws more fuel on the fire.

I know, I know… In the grand scheme of things, Freeman’s just another opinionated celebrity using the soapbox his career affords him to vent out his political frustrations. I shouldn’t care what he thinks. But I must say that I’m disappointed in the man. It’s not because I’m holding him to the same standards as the noble characters he portrays, but because I found his words from 2009 to be profound and encouraging. Back then, his prescription for ending racism was to abstain from seeking it out and engaging in its over-analysis. Now, he’s promoting just the opposite philosophy. He’s brought racism to the forefront of our political discourse by presuming it in those who disagree with our president.

It’s a sad thing to watch, but I suppose I’ll always have his movies.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
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  • gcourtney

    Mr. Freeman forgets the most obvious “non-racist” issue – Obama was elected by a majority of Americans. They didn’t elect him because he was Black, they elected him because of what he SAID he stood for. And if he is un-elected, it won’t be because he is Black, it will be because of what he REALLY stood for.

    • Erika

      I like your post but I have to disagree with part of it. I actually do believe that a LOT of ppl voted for him because he was black. In fact, that’s why he was nominated – of that, I have no doubt. He’s so underqualified it was an embarrassment to know that he accepted. FWIW.

  • Vince Ricardo

    Morgan Freeman’s not an idiot. Do you think he wants to stop getting A-list roles? How many feel-good Dolphin movies do you think it took him to realize that?

    • Erika

      That’s an interesting take on it. I suppose his buddy Oprah let him know the correct way of viewing things. ;-O

  • robin in fl

    would someone please give morgan a nice warm glass of “shut the hell up”……i am getting soooooooooooo tired of this race thing being thrown in my face every where i turn..ENOUGH already..PLEEEEEEEASe morgan get a movie script and step away from the old ‘anyone who speaks out against obama is a racist’..for Gods sake,,THE MAN (BO) is HALF WHITE !!!!!!!

  • begbie

    Great, I thought Morgan Freeman was a thoughful guy too. That rediculous earring should have tipped me off sooner.

    I hope Bill Cosby is still on the level.

    • RecknHavic

      I agree, he seemed like such a level-headed guy; very disappointing.

  • Parky Bill

    37% of 2000 people voted for a black man in Florida. Therefore, the conservative punditry has decided that means members of the Tea Party could not POSSIBLY be racist and, as a result, they never carried these signs.

    http://www.billschmalfeldt.com/?p=621

    It was all a dream! All a scary, liberal dream.

    (BTW: Does this sudden embrace of a black candidate remind anyone else of the old racist denial of, “I can’t be a racist. There’s this guy I know? Black? REALLY nice guy!”)

    • John Daly

      So let me get this straight… Your evidence of Tea Party racism is a collage of a handful of pictures, many of which weren’t even from actual Tea Party protests, about half of which aren’t even racist, and one of a guy that has already been confirmed as a liberal plant. COMPELLING!

    • Lonesome George

      Quite a collage made to look like hundreds of signs many of which were duplicated. Bill if you are caucasion please shed your guilt & quit stereotyping people as racist that you have never met. If you are black do you assume that a person can only be racist if he is white?

  • SAM

    It is finally about time someone spoke up and said just what really is happening… It is a downright shame of the disrespect that is being shown to my President, our President and I for one am glad that someone finally spoke up and called it for what it really is “racisms. This man has had to put up with so much disrespect more than any President thus far and it is a shame and even more so for those who are witnessing it and trying to brush it off like we he is so stupid or we are so stupid that we don’t recognize what is being done. I thought we were finally at a bridge when the first African American became President; but from that point on, at every turn they have been fighting him. If he says lets go right, they say no lets go left. I am so tired of hearing, “let take back our country”; take it back from where, from whom; who stole it?

    • John Daly

      Sam, What you’re feeling is exactly how a lot of us felt when Bush was in office. It had nothing to do with racism then and it has nothing to do with racism now.

    • begbie

      “I thought we were finally at a bridge when the first African American became President..”

      His race is exactly why he won the presidency so easily, not because he has experience or real leadership qualities based in principles and integrity. Thanks for pointing that out.

      And as far as respect for the POTUS goes, google “bush protest signs” under images. Check mate, Sam.

    • phlymgrym

      Sam, you are living an alternate reality. Just because an individual is black does not mean we should gladly accept all his destructive policies. THAT would be racist. If you don’t view his actions that way, please understand that many of us do, regardless of his race or ours.

    • Lonesome George

      Sam, Sam, Sam, is your president a racist? I have to wonder after seeing his minister for 20 years preaching racism. I’ll be cleaning my guns while I cling to my religion waiting for your answer.

  • Joe

    I felt exactly the same way about the Wallace interview. Loved Freeman’s responses, and became an even bigger fan of his, adding respect for him as a man to respect for his work. It’s deeply disappointing to see the 180 he’s done…and realize he’s just another victimhood-monger.

  • Will Swoboda

    I’ve always wondered why we think what actors think is so important. Once, I think it was Matt Damon, played in a spy from the early 30′s and the next thing you know he’s sitting before a senate committee on something to do with our intelligence gathering. What hell is that all about? Researching a role is one thing but coming off as an expert is another.
    Thanks, Will

  • azkober

    Just another example of why actors should stick to acting.

  • HolyChristAlmighty

    Personally, I’m getting tired of him portraying me in films.