The main problem with the Morgan Freeman 'I am American' logic
There's nothing wrong with self-identifying as black
“Don’t call me black,” he told me. “Don’t call me biracial. Don’t call me Jamaican American. Don’t call me white. I’m a human American.”
I looked at him from the corner of my eye, turned in my office chair and stared. I opened my mouth to let a flood of words fall out but settled on, “A’ight.” I turned back around to my desk and continued working.
Maybe a month later, he texted me and wanted to talk asap. I told him I was available to talk so he called. He was irate. He’d just left the basketball court. His (white) wife had met him at the gym so they could go out for date night. He drove one car, and she drove the other. But apparently he was driving a little too fast (as he was told), and a police officer pulled him over. Then another came. And another. And a fourth. He was nervous and panicked. They wanted answers—and fast.
He ranted about how whenever he was at this gym, all the white guys there would ignore him and not want to team up. He was frustrated by why so many cop cars showed up over driving a little over the limit. He said he felt like all these people were being racist to him.
“Why would they be?” I asked. “Don’t they know you’re human American?”
He paused for a long time. I thought he was going to hang up. Instead he mumbled, “I get it now.”
My response. “Personally, I could’ve gone without you ever learning that lesson. It is what it is.”
I heard a long sigh, followed by a short gasp. He rushed me off the phone, saying his wife was coming into the room. It hadn’t registered to me that he was “sneaking” to call me since she knew he was a work friend of mine. It wasn’t until I got off the phone that I realized why he specifically called me. He knew (and I knew) his wife would never understand this feeling he was having quite like a black (wo)man would.
Morgan Freeman’s take on race misses a major point
That entire real-life phone conversation is one of many examples proving exactly why Morgan Freeman’s take on American history versus Black history is illogical. In this video, Morgan Freeman discusses how Black history should be considered “American” history. In this video, Morgan Freeman talks about how race is no longer a factor in wealth. But conveniently in this video, Morgan Freeman goes from saying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an “American” hero to then pointing out who gets racially profiled. This erasure of blackness reminds me too much of my work friend’s take on race, racism and American history. It’s convenient to dismiss parts of it — until it’s not anymore.