The question I’m about to ask might raise a few eyebrows. Here it is: When it comes to issues of race, should we censor ourselves when speaking to those outside of our race?
Let’s start with record-breaking Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson. Johnson, now a commentator for the BBC, recently said: "Difficult as it was to hear, slavery has benefitted descendants like me. I believe there's a superior athletic gene in us."
Then there’s Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman who must have been trying to ‘one up’ Johnson when he, in an NPR interview, said this about our nation’s president: "America's first black president hasn't arisen yet. [Obama] is America's first mixed-race president."
Okay, let me clarify something. Our current president is a black man. Yes, he is mixed as well but, that said, Barack Obama knows he’s black, his barber knows he’s black, his African family knows he’s black, and the cops know he’s black.
Maybe, just maybe, Morgan Freeman and Michael Johnson should have kept those comments in-house.
Finally, there’s the soft-spoken Chris Rock who set off some national fireworks of his own with his controversial July 4th tweet, "Happy white peoples independence day, the slaves weren't free but I'm sure they enjoyed the fireworks…"
Well, "Mr. Everybody-Hates-Chris" has done it again. He’s managed to make a provocative point on race in his own unique way, echoing Frederick Douglas’ classic speech, "What to the slave is the 4th of July?"
Maybe, just maybe, Rock’s tweet was a timely reminder of the checkered history and ongoing challenges of issues of race in our country. Maybe it was a reminder that, whether we celebrate the 4th or not, we, as African descendants, have had a unique experience that cannot merely be folded into the larger American historical experience.
But back to my larger question: “Should we censor ourselves when speaking to those outside of our race?” Should comments like these from Johnson, Freeman and Rock have been kept within our community or blasted over national media for everybody to weigh in on?
Not an easy answer. On one side, we have a long and tragic history in this country of having our race used against us.
On the other, we recognize that talking about issues of race and attempting to build bridges of understanding, are important and necessary steps toward progress. I doubt we’d have a black president right now (no matter what Morgan Freeman says) if we had not had such provocative and often uncomfortable discussions on race.
But I want to hear what you think. Text us here at 64-64-64 to weigh in on the question, “Should we censor ourselves when speaking to those outside of our race?”
I’ll leave you with these words from Plato: “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools speak because they have to say something.”
Until next time, this is Stephanie in love and hope.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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