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jerryking : black_history_month   4

Is Group Identity Bad for Culture? -
Not for Blacks Only. Why group identity is bad for culture (except when it's good)

That kind of pigeonholing is what the Oscar-winning star of such films as "Unforgiven" and "The Shawshank Redemption" must have had in mind when he complained about Black History Month in a recent "60 Minutes" interview. "You're going to relegate my history to a month?" he asked Mike Wallace. "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history." The way to stamp out racism, he added, is to "stop talking about it. ... I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man."

At a time when the angry irredentism of identity politics has blighted so much of America's cultural discourse, those are fighting words, defiant and inspiring. By speaking them in front of millions of TV viewers, Mr. Freeman stood up for his own individual excellence as an artist. But he also pointed to a different, equally important question: Is group identity -- race, gender, ethnicity, religion -- truly irrelevant to art? Or can it be used in a way that is not polarizing but "inclusive," in the best sense of that heavily freighted word?....Herein, I believe, lies the test of the utility of identity politics, cultural or otherwise. Is it inclusive or exclusive?
African-Americans  race  identity_politics  actors  pigeonholing  Terry_Teachout  Black_History_Month  Morgan_Freeman 
november 2011 by jerryking

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