Morgan Freeman and Obama: Mixed-Race or Black?

On Friday, July 6, MSN Now asked readers if their opinion of Morgan Freeman had changed because he was quoted as saying that Mr. Obama was not the first black president but is mixed-race ( I answered as follows:

No: my opinion of him was limited to consideration of his acting. I’ve never met Morgan Freeman let alone know him.

That said, what he is quoted as saying about Mr. Obama is accurate. Please note that Mr. Obama graduated from law school, and Harvard at that. Mr. Obama is quite intelligent and not only thinks very well but speaks pretty well, too, which, typical of those with his caliber of schooling, is far better than Mr. Bush or any of his cabinet ever did or seem able to. Mr. Obama also is the first half-black, half-white president primarily influenced, if not raised, by his white grandparents. This does not negate the fact that his father was black but surely affected Mr. Obama’s cultural, intellectual, and professional persona and even how he chooses to identify himself.

Mr. Obama knows his background and surely thinks about it with an understanding and position that I expect is rare. Given the history and behavior of this nation, I think Mr. Obama’s racial and cultural mix wonderfully fitting. That he won the election, and did so without question, was a great thing. Let’s hope the nation doesn’t flop backward again.

So, about Mr. Freeman’s statement: he’s correct. I seldom expect academic or philosophical brilliance from professional entertainers but enjoy good movies anyway. Regardless, I think Mr. Freeman is right about this. He does, after all, seem qualified to speak his opinion on the matter.


Brian D. Sadie

6 July 2012

The complete MSN Now piece follows:

Morgan Freeman says US doesn’t have a black prez
Morgan Freeman has one of the best, most recognizable voices in Hollywood. The words that come out of his mouth always sound amazing — even if what he says is totally from another planet. In an interview with NPR, Freeman expressed his opinion about Barack Obama’s heritage, saying that he’s not black enough to be America’s first black president. “Barack had a mama and she was white, very white American, Kansas, middle of America,” Freeman said. He later added, “America’s first black president hasn’t arisen yet … [Obama] is America’s first mixed-race president.” Freeman also criticized the Republican Party for “purposely [thwarting]” Obama. Morgan, how ’bout sticking to words that other people write for you?

Does this change your opinion of Freeman?


About Brian D. Sadie / eloquentb

Brian D. Sadie is president of the film company Eloquent Bastard Productions. He was formerly Executive Director of The Joseph K. Foundation: On Privacy and was recruited and hired as an analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency. His writing appears in publications as diverse as The Economist, Boston Book Review, TeenLife, and Informationen der Gesellschaft für politische Aufklarüng. Mr. Sadie is often a featured contributor to educational and Ed Tech entities about education and literacy. He graduated with honors from Harvard University in History and Middle Eastern Studies and was a Pew Fellow at Boston University at the Institute of Culture, Religion and World Affairs. He is an ardent sports fan and equally ardent critic of the business of sports.
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