Morgan Freeman Declares Black History Month and ‘African American’ an ‘Insult’

Famous actor Morgan Freeman has broken ranks from his Hollywood colleagues to call Black History Month an “insult,” along with the term “African American.”

The 85-year-old movie star said that the annual Black History Month event, recognized by many every February to increase awareness and celebration of the achievements of black people, is a negative. Why? In an interview with Sunday Times, Freeman argued that it’s insulting to “relegate” his entire heritage to a mere four weeks.

 

 

 

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“‘Two things I can say publicly that I do not like: Black History Month is an insult. You’re going to relegate my history to a month?”

 

But more than that, Freeman took issue with “African-American” as a term, claiming it’s insulting to associate black people with an underdeveloped part of the world like the African continent.

“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”. 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.”

However, more than the explicit association, Freeman points out the double standard and notices that people would not say “Euro-American” – they would specify a country, for example, “Italian-American.” Theoretically, Freeman would be more comfortable with terms like “Kenyan-American” as it is more specific and not an over-broad grouping.

When interviewer Jonathan Dean mentioned fellow actor Denzel Washington in this context, specifically his statement, “I’m very proud to be Black, but I’m not Black.”

Freeman agrees with the delineation, not wanting to be defined or thought of through race.

“Yeah, absolutely. I’m in total agreement,” Freeman said. “You can’t define me like that.” He also admitted that he is “so jealous of Denzel’s career because he’s doing what I wanted to do.”

Freeman also noted his concern with where the focus on identity has led.

“The change is that now everyone is involved,” Freeman said. “Everybody. LGBTQ, Asian, black, white, interracial marriage, interracial relationship. Everyone represented. Now you see all of them on screen and it’s a huge jump.”

This is not the actor’s first comment on the subject of rhetoric around race in America. In 2020, he called Black History Month “ridiculous.” In an exchange with his interviewer, Freeman asked if there is a “White History Month” or a “Jewish History Month.”

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The interviewer voiced his concern, asking, “How are we going to get rid of racism?” without Black History Month and other cultural movements. Freeman’s response was blunt.

“Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man, 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 want to say, `Well, I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.’ You know what I’m saying?”


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