Tuesday, July 12, 2016

White Folks Love Morgan Freeman

White folks love Morgan Freeman. He is soft-spoken, melodious, lean, and carries himself gently. One can relax in his presence; he is the antithesis of the angry black man.
But you have to know that, for all that he sees the weight of centuries of Black masculinity on his shoulders, he rages too. He has to have days where he seethes that the roles he takes are encompassed and circumscribed by larger obligations to reshaping the roles that all Black men take, participating in a new way of showing men of color. And then Driving Miss Daisy comes along and we’re right back where we started, feeling comfortable seeing the Black man as a kind and gentle servant.
I want to see Morgan Freeman playing a character where his kindly black servant, possibly as a librarian, is actually a cover for his absolute, no-holds-barred martial arts badassery. I want to see him ripping everyone off, regardless of color, caring only for the green of hundred dollar bills or the pristine icy sparkle of diamonds. Gold is too cliche for this vision. I want to see a flat-out dangerous character who just happens to be a Black man, a man who passes as the easy and gentle neighbor, kindly and helpful, the Ted Bundy of espionage, possibly corporate espionage with lots of technical elements that most white folks don’t understand in the first place but that is usually relegated to the Asian kid, sometimes fetishized as the Asian chick.
I want a society wherein everyone is safe and accepted enough that I’m not culture jamming by casting a Black man as this or a white man as that or an Asian as the other. I want a society that is a true meritocracy, but that has a minimum security guaranteed for all, not because we are weak and pathetic, but because it’s right thing to do, because all people deserve security.