Morgan Freeman has never minced words. After turning in gut-wrenching performances in several classic films and literally becoming the voice of God, when Freeman speaks, people listen. So, when the seasoned actor sat down with NPR to talk about his storied career and his new film The Magic of Belle Isle, Freeman had another thing on his mind: politics.
During the interview, Michelle Martin asked Freeman how he felt about living in an era of the first black president, and I’m sure she wasn’t prepared for his answer. Despite President Obama identifying as being African American, Freeman said that the President’s critics conveniently forget about his “very white” mama.
“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,” he 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.”
Freeman, who is an Obama supporter, says the president is being purposely attacked by those on the right and disagrees with their assertion that he’s been an ineffective leader.
“He is being purposely, purposely thwarted by the Republican Party, who started out at the beginning of his tenure by saying, ‘We are going to do whatever is necessary to make sure that he’s only going to serve one term,’ ” he said. “That means they will not cooperate with him on anything. So to say he’s ineffective is a misappropriation of the facts.”
Although America has had a long history of ascribing blackness to anyone with a black parent, many mixed-raced people have embraced the idea of duality and choosing how they should identify for themselves.
What do you think about Morgan Freeman’s statements on the president?
*Photo via NY Mag