“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… 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.”
Always one who speaks freely and frankly, Morgan Freeman talking to NPR earlier today.
The conversation is actually about 18 minutes long, and he talks more than just Obama; he also gets into his career, cinema, and his new movie, The Magic Of Belle Isle, which Tambay saw and reviewed HERE (in short, he didn’t care for it).
I think the above quote is something more to toss into the ongoing discussions we have on S&A about what blackness is, who is black, etc. Granted this isn’t a new argument; others have insisted that Obama not be categorized as a black man, even though I believe he himself has referred to himself as a black man.
Reading his comment, I immediately thought of all the articles that have been written about what Obama has or has not done for black people, suggesting that many obviously think of Obama as a black man, and America’s first black president.
I also recall other celebrities, like Samuel L. Jackson saying outright that he voted for Obama because he was black, telling Ebony magazine in the March issue this year:
“I voted for Barack because he was black. ’Cuz that’s why other folks vote for other people — because they look like them,” Jackson said. “That’s American politics, pure and simple. [Obama’s] message didn’t mean sh-t to me. In the end, he’s a politician. I just hoped he would do some of what he said he was gonna do.”
It also reminded me of a documentary we posted on the old S&A site titled I’m Bi-racial Not Black Damnit, which obviously caused a bit of a stir, as bi-racial people wrestle with their own identities, versus how the world sees them.
In the interview, he also talks about how much race has been of influence on the characters he’s played over the years.