So, Was Morgan Freeman ‘Wright’?
Evidently, in the post-racial America of President Barack Obama, only a black man can be a racist.
Faux-KKK’s greatest hit of 2008
We’ve see that too many times to count, and recounting here would be pointless. I’m going to reprint some clueless comments, but first I want to ask you: WHY were these picked up with such relish by the Rightie Blogosmear (understandable) and then NPR and New York Magazine (inconceivable)?
Because somebody’s acting like an idiot here …
Here’s the shocking, shocking comments, as relayed by Mediaite:
Morgan Freeman: Obama Isn’t America’s First Black President
by Meenal Vamburkar | 5:03 pm, July 5th, 2012
President Barack Obama told his compelling life story during the campaign leading up to his election in 2008. Upon his inauguration, many Americans took pride in their country having elected their first black president, seeing it as a tangible sign of progress in overcoming the country’s racial history. Enter Morgan Freeman, here to burst that bubble and inform us that America has yet to see its first black president.
The Oscar-winning actor explained what he meant, speaking to NPR:
“First thing that always pops into my head regarding our president is that all of the people who are setting up this barrier for him … they just conveniently forget that Barack had a mama, and she was white — very white American, Kansas, middle of America,” Freeman said. “There was no argument about who he is or what he is. America’s first black president hasn’t arisen yet. He’s not America’s first black president — he’s America’s first mixed-race president.”
This is, of course, how Morgan Freeman’s interview with NPR was reinterpreted by the Mediaite writer — according to their values.
Now, if this was the main focus of Morgan Freeman’s interview (it wasn’t) all well and good. What Freeman said was idiotic:
It was about exactly the same amount of time from the introduction of slavery into the English colonies to Emancipation as it is FROM Emancipation. One hundred and fifty years.
And, for one hundred and fifty years, “massah” was sneaking into the slave quarters. Hell, Strom Thurmond was still keeping the old vile tradition when he fathered a black daughter (a fact revealed only after his death). Thomas Jefferson had a long-term liason with Sally Hemings, as DNA testing finally proved, after almost two hundred years of rumor.
And, perhaps, that’s the mirror image of Morgan Freeman’s assertion. Wikipedia:
In 1999, Lucian Truscott IV, a Wayles-Jefferson descendant and member of the Monticello Association, the Jefferson lineage society, invited Hemings descendants to that year’s annual meeting. In light of the new material on Jefferson DNA and other historic reviews, the Association decided to commission its own report to determine whether it would admit Hemings’ descendants to the lineage society. Its focus was whether the Hemings descendants could satisfy the society’s requirements for documentation of lineage. In contrast to the conclusions of the certified genealogists of the National Genealogical Society, who had examined all the historical evidence and concluded that Jefferson was the father, the 2002 report to the Monticello Association concluded the evidence was insufficient to establish Jefferson’s paternity. The majority of Association members voted against admitting the Hemings descendants as members of the group.
Truscott IV noted in his 2001 article in American Heritage that the Association did not have such strict documentation standards before the DNA study results were published in 1998. He checked the membership rules and found the following:
“ ARTICLE III — Membership . . . Any lineal descendant of Thomas Jefferson who applies for membership, and annually pays dues as stated in the By-Laws of this Association, shall be a Regular Member of the Association. . . .” Only those 33 of the 93 words in that section of the article address membership criteria; the rest of the paragraph was largely concerned with the payment of dues.”
This old BS dies hard, doesn’t it?
Southern Plantation, Thomas Nast, Harpers 1863
There are virtually NO American native-born blacks without white blood. It’s the sad, dirty little secret that neither Freeman nor the Monticello Foundation wants to face, but there it is. DNA likes to cross-pollinate and create hybrid vigor, and it doesn’t give a fig for the prejudices of the family groups. Witness Romeo and Juliet. And, witness the forcible rape of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, or even millions of black women by white men in the century and a half before Emancipation — and the hundred and fifty years SINCE as Strom Thurmond’s sad, racist life bears testament.
Michelle Obama — certainly an America black women in Freeman’s eyes — recently learned of HER white heritage. (And note Salon‘s bizarrely American take on it.)
The only reason it’s not more widely noticed and accepted is a combination of bad genealogical records and good old-fashioned American racism. Even Sally Hemings is referred to in the Wikipedia article as “mixed race.” (And I guess Mr. Freeman never heard of the “One Drop Rule.”)
You see, unfortunately, I am not black. There are lots of different kinds of blood in our family. But here in the United States, the word ‘Negro’ is used to mean anyone who has any Negro blood at all in his veins. In Africa, the word is more pure. It means all Negro, therefore black. I am brown.
No indication of race in this closet
Well, the races were mixed a long time ago, and considering the purity of Barack Obama’s father’s genetic lineage, the President may well be blacker than Morgan Freeman in absolute terms*. And I wonder if Tiger Woods is actually a black golfer since his mother is Asian, or former Senator Ben Nighthorse-Campbell is actually a Portuguese, since his mother was “ful-blooded” Portuguese. (The term “full-blooded” like the term “mixed race” needs to be retired as fundamentally meaningless. There is, in actuality only one race: human.)
- * What all this means is that in defiance of the law and social convention, and just what some “believe,” an enormous amount of “race mixing” has long been occurring in the United States. We as a society have been in deep denial about our heritage of interracial sexuality for just as long. Some of this sexual contact was voluntary, we now know: For example, Morgan Freeman is descended from white Alfred and black Celie Carr, who not only stayed together after slavery ended but lived together openly and are buried together in Mississippi. But most of it was coerced or violent or a species of rape, a reflection or a result of a profound imbalance of power. Because of a confluence of factors—the illegality of miscegenation, the prevalence of sexual abuse and rape at the root of these relationships, infidelity, guilt, shame and disgrace at an unwed pregnancy—both black people and white people had a certain vested interest in keeping these relationships in the dark, as it were.
Does ANY of this MEAN anything? To my mind, no. The miracle of human life and genesis remains the miracle of human life, no matter what the parent strains felt one about the other. A distinction without a real difference. If Mr. Freeman were put on the spot, to explain how Barack Obama’s blood was distinguishable in its whiteness — other than the immediacy of the race-mixing — he would be hard put to explain why Michelle Obama is black, but her husband is not. One wonders what the children are.
Again, meaningless, but meaningful to people who think in absolutist terms about “race” in a single species. Turns out we’re a sole species (homo sapiens) that’s majority part Neanderthal, as well, which makes it REALLY hard to determine what we are: Black, White, or Hairy?
The point here is to, once again, delegitimize Barack Obama as a human being, a black man accused by a black man of not being black, celebrated by white crypto-racists (and not so ‘crypto’) in a shameless display that is only a circus of idiocies, practiced by fools for an audience of dolts.
MY vote is what counts. Your vote is what counts. We elected a man to be our president, and every time OUR representative — our only NATIONAL representative — is subjected to another round of phony delegitimization, it is OURSELVES who are being delegitimized. No true American ought to put up with this. Our nation is based on ONE and only ONE bedrock principle: one person; one vote. It is a tragedy of history, remedial by guillotine, that our own Supreme Court doesn’t understand this. (See Bush v. Gore, December 12, 2000).
Here’s the screaming ME MEs on it:
Noel Sheppard / NewsBusters.org: Morgan Freeman: ‘Obama’s Not America’s First Black President’ZIP / Weasel Zippers: Morgan Freeman: Obama Not Black Enough To Be Called “First Black President”…Dan / Riehl World View: Obama not Black Enough Like Me For Morgan Freeman And Why It MattersEd Driscoll: Morgan Freeman: Obama ‘Not America’s First Black President’
But, sadly, that was the way that NPR and New York Magazine ALSO ran with it …
NPR: Morgan Freeman: No Black President For U.S. Yet … Morgan Freeman is an Oscar-winning actor, philanthropist and recent recipient of the Lincoln Medal of Honor. — Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman joined Tell Me More host Michel Martin to discuss his new movie, The Magic of Belle Isle.
Discussion:Margaret Hartmann / New York Magazine: Morgan Freeman Helpfully Declares That Obama Isn’t America’s First Black President
Well, whatever. Our forebears always thought that people who weren’t like them weren’t actually people at all. All races; all times, all lands. But we have, very recently, learned this to be bull. We cannot BLAME them for their mistaken beliefs. They were rooted in an ignorance that we do not share. But we can ALSO not share the attitudes spawned BY that ignorance. There is no clear-cut division in the rainbow, nor in humanity.
We all started out in Africa. Our “races” and “ethnic” differences are merely a collection of survival modifications that have clumped together in shared conditions: black skin, brown skin, “red” skin, “yellow” skin and “white” skin, the last three being a gross color exaggeration to any painter. (Well, excepting Edgar and Johnny Winter, obviously).
Ears of all shapes and sizes, noses, eyes of different colors, hair, eyelids, on and on. But those are just genetic wild cards. The default skin color of the human species is brown; the default body hair is mostly hairless, with some on the tops of our heads and a couple other places. The default hair color of the human species is black, and the default gender is female. Everything else are random mutations to a purpose that may have vanished long ago. (I’m thinking about men with hair on their back.)
But this reporting on Morgan Freeman’s layman’s opinion is far worse than the opinion itself, because it is just as ignorant, and, worse, it focuses ON the ignorance to the exclusion of EVERY OTHER THING MORGAN FREEMAN SAID!
Kind of using a black man to delegitimize another black man and then delegitimizing the opiner of the opinion for being black.
I’m getting very, very, very, very, very tired of racially-obsessed conversation and opinion being always rationalized away even though the ONLY “fact” in the conversation is the COLOR OF A MAN’S SKIN.
Screw you, Klansmen and Klanswomen by omission — if not active commission.
Their racial attitudes were probably no more
enlightened than ours today, and they’re idiots
Morgan Freeman is wrong. But no one said that he’s an expert in genetics. He’s an actor, stating an opinion. And that’s an opinion that’s ONLY meaningful, seemingly, if it can be used as a wedge, to inadvertently and vertantly push the “post racial” meme that only black men can be racists.
Make up your own joke.
A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, an honorary Texan, Clown (ditto) and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog