Back in 1996 when James Woods played the character of the white supremacist Byron de la Beckwith in the movie “Ghosts of Mississippi” was he invoking a muse that was also a part of his real life character?
What makes it newsworthy when another old white male condemns Barack Obama for playing the race card? When it doesn’t come from the usual suspects. You know, the balding, big gutted old white men who dress up in 18th century costumes and parade around with like-minded people who think we need to recapture the days when slavery was legal and women were not allowed to vote. This time it comes from a prominent Hollywood star, James Woods.
James Woods went on a bit of a Twitter rant after President Obama yesterday addressed Trayvon Martin’s death and the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict
The president’s speech apparently did not sit well with the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated actor in the context of economic issues.
During the course of his remarks about the controversial Florida case in which the Hispanic neighborhood watchman was acquitted of second degree murder and manslaughter, the president said “And there are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator.”
This portion of Obama’s address prompted the actor to tweet “The only reason people lock their car doors when Obama walks by is they are afraid he’ll tax them to death.” SOURCE
But it was the tweets that preceded his “tax them to death” comment that were indicative of someone who thought that a little empathy for young black males following the recent verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder trial was out of place. Only someone who shares no real empathy with blacks would suggest such a sentiment.
“Just curious. Does the President of the United States have any advice for other teenage boys in America? Wounded warriors, for example… “
then 7 minutes later, this:
“ALL youth of every heritage in this country would benefit from jobs and manageable student loans, NOT a bloated Welfare State” SOURCE
Mr. Woods expresses an ignorance of the facts that most Obama haters do. Barack Obama has never led anyone to believe that he doesn’t have compassion for the other American teenagers, wounded warriors or the jobless. And I would challenge Mr. Woods or anyone who identifies with him to demonstrate where he has.
In one USAToday report in April of last year Obama praises wounded warriors:
President Obama praised wounded servicemembers who are conducting a bike rally to raise public awareness.
“This is one of the most inspiring events we have here at the White House,” Obama told more than two dozen Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard members in the sixth annual Wounded Warriors Project’s Soldier Ride.
The cyclists, many missing arms or legs, serve as “a reminder that all of us can do our part to serve the men and women who serve us,” Obama said.
“And I’m glad to see you’re all decked out in the stars and stripes,” he added, “because I want anybody who sees this ride go by to know that they’re in the presence of heroes.”
The Soldier Ride “raises awareness of our nation’s Wounded Warriors who battle the physical and psychological damages of war,” said the White House. SOURCE
To believe that the Obama administration has not struggled to reduce unemployment and create an environment for job growth is simply disingenuous. Something I would never have expected from a brilliant actor like James Woods. Where are his unkind remarks for the Party of No who refuse to compromise on all things to work with the president in job creation? Despite the obstacles that the GOP has consistently put in front of the president we have seen the unemployment rate drop from a 10.1% high back in July of 2009 to it’s current 7.5%.
The truth be known, I kind of know where James Wood is coming from. I know many progressives like myself who were raised in the segregationist South during the 50’s and 60’s find an uncomfortable connection with the attitude of older whites who seem openly hostile to those they feel are over playing the race card.
What makes this all so regrettable to me is that I have always held James Woods in high esteem as one of the most talented character actors of our time. That will likely not change but now we see the success of his ability to disguise his true character when playing roles that show sympathy to people who suffer in our society, often for reasons they have no control over. Showing a side of him that resents the president’s comments regarding young black males perhaps enabled him to give an outstanding performance as Byron De La Beckwith in the 1996 movie, Ghosts of Mississippi. De la Beckwith was the white supremacist and Klansman from Greenwood, Mississippi who was found guilty in 1994 for the murder of the black civil rights advocate Medger Evers back in 1963.
The truth be known, I kind of know where James Woods is coming from. I know many progressives like myself who were raised in the segregationist South during the 50’s and 60’s find an uncomfortable connection with the attitude of older whites who seem openly hostile to those they feel are over playing the race card. It is not that easy to completely rid your memories of a time when hate for blacks predominated most Southern white culture.
And yes it is racist when a white man can’t understand that blacks today, especially young black males, are still victims to a more subtle form of racism that is often expressed by whites in their demeanor when they see them in a public place.
Even those of us whose parents were not flagrant bigots still lived among relatives who looked at blacks not much differently from the days when people like Thomas Jefferson himself, who reviled the institution of slavery, still felt that they were “by their habits rendered as incapable as children of taking care of themselves” and “his paternalistic belief that slaves were incapable of supporting themselves in freedom and his fear they would become a burden to society”
I have struggled to rid such feelings from my being all of my life but recognize they still exist when racist comments from the likes of James Woods come out. And yes it is racist when a white man can’t understand that blacks today, especially young black males, are still victims to a more subtle form of racism that is often expressed by whites in their demeanor when they see them in a public place. Of course it is not racists to not acknowledge blacks in public. But when the body signals that emanate from, say a young white woman with children, as they alter their path away from them and draw their kids in oh so slightly closer, such actions can project a fear based on ingrained views they were raised with.
Some whites may feel that because the outward signs of racial discrimination are no longer prevalent or legal as they were in an earlier era, blacks have no legitimate standing to raise the race issue any longer. But this is more of an opinion derived from never having truly known deep-seated racism.
If most of us were honest with ourselves we would acknowledge, regrettably, that such prejudices still exists. It doesn’t mean we need to feel guilty for them but we need to divest ourselves of the attitude that any claims of racism by blacks and other minorities are always without merit. They clearly are not.
Even today racism is imbedded at some level with most white kids. Not overtly with the vitriol it once was but nonetheless taught by parents who are often not that aware they are doing so.