Morgan Freeman: 'Obama's Not America's First Black President'
Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman said something Thursday that though true is destined to shock many Americans.
Speaking on NPR, Freeman said Barack Obama is "not America's first black president. He's America's first mixed-race president" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
In the middle of a “Tell Me More” interview, host Michel Martin asked her guest where America is now historically with its first African-American president along with “racially-charged episodes in the news. Do you see a film in this?”
"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 – what’s his name, Donald Trump and this who thing that he’s resurfacing. They just conveniently forget that Barack had a mama, and she was white — very white American, Kansas, middle of America," Freeman said. "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."
“I told Bill Clinton that he was the first black president,” Freeman joked.
“I don’t know what to say any more about this whole situation,” the actor continued. "He is being purposely, purposely thwarted by the Republican Party, who started out at the beginning of his tenure by saying, 'We are going to do whatever is necessary to make sure that he only serves one term.' That means they will not cooperate with him on anything. So to say that he's ineffective is a misappropriation of the facts."
“Are you heartened or disheartened by our current circumstances,” asked Martin.
“I’m disheartened,” responded Freeman. “I am thoroughly upset by it. But we will prevail. I think that the public at large watching, listening, when it comes down to it will say, ‘Well now, wait a minute. What they’re talking about is nonsense.’”
“When Barack was elected president,” Freeman continued, “a good portion of the country broke into tears because it was proof that we are really Americans, that we are who we say we are. And I thought at the time, okay, we can pretty much stop talking about race here in this country, and concentrate on growth. Well, it didn’t turn out that way quite.”