Hollywood mogul Tyler Perry declined to parrot the Black Lives Matter mantra that police are evil racists while accepting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy Awards Sunday night.
Perry shared refusing to hate people was a lesson his mother, Willie Maxine Perry — who grew up in the Jim Crow South — instilled in him.
“My mother taught me to refuse hate,” he said. “She taught me to refuse blanket judgment, and in this time, and with all of the internet and social media and algorithms and everything that wants us to think a certain way, the 24-hour news cycle, it is my hope that all of us, would teach our kids, and I want to remember, just refuse hate.”
“Don’t hate anybody,” Perry continued. “I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican or because they are black or white or LBGTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope that we would refuse hate.”
It was interesting to hear the applause as he listed various groups of people drop off when he mentioned the police.
Perry invited anyone willing to join him in the middle if they wished to further the political dialogue.
“I want to take this Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle, no matter what’s around the wall, stand in the middle, ’cause that’s where healing happens. That’s where conversation happens. That’s where change happens. It happens in the middle.”
“So anyone who wants to meet me in the middle, to refuse hate, to refuse blanket judgment, and to help lift someone’s feet off the ground, this one is for you, too. God bless you and thank you Academy,” Perry said.
After receiving the award, the actor was asked by reporters if he felt his mother, who passed away in 2009, was looking down on him, pleased by what he said.
“One hundred percent,” Perry responded. “You know I can feel her in the moment. I can feel her, any time I’m up there, I’m carrying her with me and all that she went through and all we went through together.”
In a 2006 interview, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “My mother is the wisdom of Madea,” the central character Perry portrays in the highly successful movie franchise of the same name.
Asked what inspired him to share what he did at the Oscars, the 51-year-old replied, “Just where we are in the country and the world.
“Everybody’s grabbing a corner and a color and they’re all — nobody wants to come to the middle to have a conversation,” Perry added.
“Everybody’s getting polarized and it’s in the middle where things change, so I’m hoping that that inspires people to meet us in the middle so that we can get back to some semblance of normal.”
If only more people felt the same way.
Regardless of what people like President Joe Biden say, our nation is not inherently racist. Biden last week called “systemic racism” the “stain” on the soul of America in a White House address following the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
It is worth noting none of the charges prosecutors brought against Chauvin in the death of George Floyd dealt with race.
Asked by “60 Minutes” host Scott Pelley in an interview that aired Sunday if Chauvin committed a hate crime, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said, “I wouldn’t call it that because hate crimes are crimes where there’s an explicit motive and of bias.
“We don’t have any evidence that Derek Chauvin factored in George Floyd’s race as he did what he did.”
Pelley followed up asking if Ellison could have charged Chauvin with a hate crime.
“Could have, but we only charge those crimes that we had evidence that we could put in front of a jury to prove,” Ellison responded.
The host seemed genuinely interested to learn the death that launched countless Black Lives Matter protests may not have had anything to do with race.
What Chauvin did was clearly an abuse of police power and criminal, but it was definitely not proof that the police or America itself is racist.
Perry is right: blanket judgments are wrong and a return to normalcy and mutual respect is the need of the hour.
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