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Morgan Freeman Goes Off on Black History Month During Interview: 'I Detest It'

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Actor Morgan Freeman is once again criticizing the absurdity of Black History Month.

In an interview with Variety on Saturday, Freeman spoke about his role as an executive producer on a new series, “The Gray House.” The series tells the story of four women — a prominent Virginian woman, her mother, a former slave, and a prostitute — as they spy for the Union during the Civil War.

As any portrayal of the Civil War and the institution of slavery will move towards discussions about race, Freeman held true to his criticism of Black History Month dating back from the early 2000s.

Freeman told Variety, “I detest it. The mere idea of it. You are going to give me the shortest month in a year? And you are going to celebrate ‘my’ history? This whole idea makes my teeth itch. It’s not right.”

Concerning the exclusiveness the month promotes aside from America’s history, Freeman said, “My history is American history. It’s the one thing in this world I am interested in, beyond making money, having a good time and getting enough sleep.”

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As previously mentioned, this is a view Freeman has held and been outspoken about for some time.

During an interview with “60 Minutes” in 2005, Freeman told interviewer Mike Wallace he found Black History Month to be “ridiculous” before asking Wallace, “You’re going to relegate my history to a month?”

Freeman said, “I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.” Immediately after that remark, Wallace asked, “How are we going to get rid of racism?” before Freeman abruptly told him, “Stop talking about it.”

Do you agree with Morgan Freeman?

“I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”

While Black History Month has been a consistent point of criticism for Freeman, he has also gone after the language used to describe black Americans. In a 2012 Guardian interview, Freeman criticized the term, “African American,” saying, “‘black’ is beautiful. One syllable versus seven.”

Regardless of any criticism Freeman may draw from this view, he’s certainly been consistent over the last two decades.

In holding it, he’s also espousing a substantial criticism of the “otherness” promoted through race in language and our view of history.

Black Americans are just that, Americans.

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There is not a separate history for anyone black that developed in a vacuum on a separate course from the rest of the United States. The two are one and the same.

Black Americans fought alongside white soldiers for the Union to defeat the Confederacy in bringing an end to slavery during the Civil War.

They fought in the American Revolution with white soldiers to combat British tyranny.

While American history has regrettably been wrought with low points regarding how we treat one another based on skin color, our founding documents do not create a race-based America with any overt notion of separateness.

David Azerrad for the Heritage Foundation put it well, saying, “The argument that the Constitution is racist suffers from one fatal flaw: the concept of race does not exist in the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution — or in the Declaration of Independence, for that matter — are human beings classified according to race, skin color, or ethnicity (nor, one should add, sex, religion, or any other of the left’s favored groupings). Our founding principles are colorblind (although our history, regrettably, has not been).”

Unfortunately, since Freeman’s 2005 remarks on the issue, the problem has been exacerbated.

How can a people be united in our founding principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when we constantly feel pushed to put distance among ourselves based on skin color?

Our principles — not our skin color — make this nation great. We are one people with one history.


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Sam Short is an Instructor of History with Motlow State Community College in Smyrna, Tennessee. He holds a BA in History from Middle Tennessee State University and an MA in History from University College London.




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