Morgan Freeman says there's too much talk about racism in society. Too often it's used an excuse for low achievement, suggests the iconic actor.
Freeman, famous for his roles in Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption, Invictus, Million Dollar Baby and many other films, recently made his views known in an interview with CNN host Don Lemon.
Do you think race has anything to do with income inequality, Lemon asked?
"Today?" Freeman answered. "No. ... You and I, we're proof."
"Why would race have anything to do with it?" he added. "Put your mind to what you want to do and go for that. It's kind of like religion to me - it's a good excuse for not getting there."
After a few more questions from Lemon, Freeman, 77, had a final thought. "Making [race] a bigger issue than it needs to be is the problem here."
Critics are taking issue with Freeman's views. Slate's Jamelle Bouie writes that income inequality and racism are still major societal problems.
There are huge racial disparities within the overall wealth gap. In a recent study, researchers at the Center for Global Policy Solutions found that 'Whites have a median net worth over 15 times that of Blacks ($111,740 vs. $7,113), and over 13 times that of Latinos ($111,740 vs. $8,113).'
If the goal is success, then the fight against inequality - and more broadly, the fight for opportunity - has to consider race. There's no other choice - despite what some actors will tell you.
This isn't Freeman's first foray into racially-charged issues. Freeman endorsed Barack Obama's candidacy for the 2008 presidential election, although he stated that he would not join Obama's campaign.
Freeman has publicly criticized the celebration of Black History Month and does not participate in any related events, saying, "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history." Freeman once said on an interview with 60 Minutes's Mike Wallace, "I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man."