SO Denzel Washington is probably gonna get kicked out of the black community over what he said recently. It’s the kind of stuff you’d expect out of some nutty right-wing extremist like ME or something.
At a New York screening of Mr. Washington’s latest film, “ Roman J. Israel, Esq. ,” the actor was asked by a reporter: “For black people in particular, do you think that we can truly make change as things are right now?”
Mr. Washington, who is 62, gave a pointed response. “Well, it starts in the home. If the father is not in the home, the boy will find a father in the streets. I saw it in my generation and every generation before me and every one since.” He added, “If the streets raise you, then the judge becomes your mother and prison becomes your home.”
In the film, Mr. Washington portrays a defense attorney, and reporters at the screening pressed him to weigh in on current debates about race and the U.S. criminal justice system. Instead, the actor doubled down on his message of strong families and personal responsibility. “It starts with how you raise your children,” he said. “If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure. So you can’t blame the system. It’s unfortunate that we make such easy work for them.”
Wow. That is powerful.
It takes a lot of guts for someone like Denzel to say that – anyone who dares utter anything near the truth about this subject gets upbraided and excoriated up and down. But the community needs to hear it.
But notice that he doesn’t deny that racism exists and might be holding some people back. However, whether that’s true or not, it’s still more true that conditions in the black community, in the black family, are doing much more to keep the community down than racism. And that’s true in the Hispanic community as well, and it’s true in the poor white community too.
Hopefully hearing it from someone with as much prominence as Denzel will change some minds…