Morgan Freeman candidly opened up about the limitations of terms like African-American and Black History Month — both of which he views as “insults.”
The 85-year-old actor is currently in London to promote his new film “A Good Person,” and during a recent interview with The Sunday Times he expressed why he objects to those terms and more.
“Black History Month is an insult,” said Freeman. “You’re going to relegate my history to a month? Also ‘African-American’ is an insult. I don’t subscribe to that title. Black people have had different titles all the way back to the N-word and I do not know how these things get such a grip, but everyone uses ‘African-American.'”
He continued, “What does it really mean? Most Black people in this part of the world are mongrels. And you say Africa as if it’s a country when it’s a continent, like Europe.”
The “Lean On Me” star also shared his thoughts on Black History Month with Mike Wallace back in 2005 for “60 Minutes.”
“You’re going to relegate my history to a month? I don’t want a Black History Month,” said Freeman. “Black history is American history.”
Morgan also said the way to get rid of racism was to stop referring to people by color.
“Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man,” said Freeman. “And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a Black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You wouldn’t say, ‘Well, I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.’ You know what I’m saying?”
Fans responded on social media with mixed reactions. One fan wrote, “That’s how it is in most countries. Ethnicity goes first then citizenship. Italian-American is the same format,” prompting another to reply that Africa is not a country. “Africa is a continent, not a country.”
Several people agreed with Freeman’s remarks, and a few noted that white Americans are just called Americans.
“He’s right,” said one individual. “What do you call a white american? American American?”
“Exactly, this man has just said what has been on mind for years, this is the absolute truth,” added another.
“I agree with him on the month but not his claim that we end racism by not talking about it,” one fan replied. “That’s what a lot of white people want black people to do so they feel comfortable. But too many atrocities have happened in the world all because people were silent about them.”
Freeman did acknowledge that the landscape is slowly changing and more marginalized groups are being represented on film.
“Generationally, though, I do think we’re moving ahead in leaps and bounds. LGBTQ, Asians, Black, white, interracial marriages, interracial relationships,” he said. “All represented. You see them all on screen now and that is a huge jump.”
Freeman’s latest film, “A Good Person,” is currently in theaters.