Actor Morgan Freeman has recently spoken out against Black History Month and the term “African American,” calling them both insults in a rare interview while promoting his latest film, A Good Person.
Insulted by Black History Month
Freeman spoke out about Black History Month, stating that relegating Black history to just one month is an insult.
He argued that the rich and varied history of Black people cannot be condensed into a single month and should be acknowledged and celebrated year-round.
Morgan Freeman stated, “You’re going to relegate my history to a month?”.
The actor’s comments echo those made by other prominent figures, such as Idris Elba, who have expressed similar sentiments about the month-long celebration of Black history.
An Insulting Term
Freeman also spoke out against the term “African-American,” stating that it was an insult.
According to the actor, the term implies that all Black people have roots in Africa, and that is not always the case. Freeman argued that Black people in America come from various backgrounds, and the term “African American” does not adequately describe their heritage.
He said, “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.”
Freeman is not the first person to speak out against the term.
Many people of African descent living in America do not identify with the term “African American” and prefer other terms such as “Black” or “Afro-American.”
The term is also criticized for being overly broad and not accurately reflecting the diversity of Black Americans.
The Evolution of Identity
The actor’s comments bring attention to the ongoing evolution of identity and the way that we talk about race.
As Freeman pointed out, Black people in America have had various titles throughout history, from derogatory slurs to more politically correct terms like “African American.”
As society progresses, so too does our language, and terms that were once accepted may become outdated or even offensive.
Freeman also spoke about his own evolution as an actor, noting that he had initially wanted to be a chameleon, but as he became more famous, he became more typecast.
This evolution echoes the way that language evolves, with words and phrases taking on new meanings and nuances as they become more widely used.
Freeman’s comments serve as a reminder that language and identity are constantly evolving.
As we continue to strive for greater understanding and acceptance of one another, it is important to be mindful of the words we use and the impact they can have.
While Black History Month and the term “African American” may not be perfect, they serve as important reminders of the rich history and diverse heritage of Black people in America.
As Freeman notes, we need to find a way to return Black History Month to its educational, dignified roots and celebrate Black history and culture year-round.
Similarly, as society evolves, we need to be mindful of the words we use to describe ourselves and others, recognizing that our identity is multifaceted and cannot be defined by a single term.