Digital Brainwaves writes about a Morgan Freeman interview on Black History month. Morgan Freeman expresses his disagreement with a black history month, that it rather keeps racism in place than diminishing it, that to fight it is to stop talking about it.
When I came to work in this country in 1997 I was surprised that my first employer here (Apple) and the next (Sun) both asked in the typical flurry of forms one fills out when joining what race I was. Now, it was a voluntary question, ie there was a box to check “sorry, not telling you”, Apple’s HR person told me companies here are required to gather that information and that it was in support of equal treatment etc etc. I thought it very odd. It seemed, and still so, to me that by focusing on what potentially differentiates us rather than what we have in common you reach the opposite effect.
I also had a little language confusion with the category I would be in in such surveys, Caucasian. I am not from the Caucasus region; where does that word come from? The trend in the US of widespread labelling of a person’s geographic history is still odd to me. We have African Americans, Jewish Americans, Asian Americans, Irish Americans. Where are the British Americans? I guess I would be a Dutch American? What if someone is of the Jewish faith with ancestors from Ireland? Some years ago I met a white man whose father was born in South Africa and emigrated to the US. He called himself an African American.
I am with Morgan Freeman: “I am going to stop calling you a white man and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”