by Yvette Carnell
Morgan Freeman is known for freely expressing his political views, even voicing his opposition to the Tea Part on at least once occasion. In an interview with CNN’s resident black respectability expert, Don Lemon, Freeman boldly asserted that race and income inequality are unrelated in his view.
Freeman believes something must be done about income inequality, he just doesn’t believe it has anything to do with race.
“Why would race have anything to do with it?” he continued, “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.”
Lemon took this opportunity to share how irksome talking about race is for him.
“It seems like every single day I’m talking about race on television, because its in the news cycle, because it’s in the news,” he said. “But sometimes I just get so tired of talking about it, I want to just go, ‘this is over, can we move on?’”
Lemon could move, of course, and talk about news. No one’s stopping him. He won’t though because being CNN’s race correspondent is easy. Talking about the Ukraine is hard.
Still, this conversation draws attention to how dangerous it is to reach a conclusion through anecdotal evidence. It is fine for Freeman to believe or feel a certain way, but a quick review of hard data often blows long held beliefs out of the water.
Between 2007 and 2013, black workers who had just graduated from college saw their unemployment rate nearly triple, jumping from 7.8 percent to 12.4 percent. That’s a much faster increase than for everyone else: all recent college graduates saw their rate increase 2.3 percentage points. And young black college graduates have been doing worse and worse: their unemployment rate at age 22 was 5.1 percent in 1970, 15.4 percent in 2000, and 19.2 percent between 2010 and 2012.
Freeman also said that he and Lemon were proof that income inequality is not related to race. This is a moronic statement considering that wealthy blacks have existed for some time in this country (Remember Madame C.J. Walker?) but the success of one black person in no way implies that systemic racism has in any way diminished or been overcome.