Hollywood leading man Idris Elba rejected wokeism and its obsession over identity politics in a powerful interview, saying he is “always curious why this is fascinating to people.”
Elba was promoting his latest project, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with Esquire magazine.
“It’s a question I get asked a lot,” Elba answered. “I don’t go to my Black friends, in conversation, and ask them to tell me about racism. Have I ever faced racism? Yeah,” he continued, seemingly able to separate the fact that some people are clueless losers while not condemning an entire people with pejoratives like racist or supremacist.
The actor appeared miffed and annoyed at the trite line of questioning, saying, “If we spent half the time not talking about the differences but the similarities between us, the entire planet would have a shift in the way we deal with each other.”
Elba makes a great point. Plenty of people are not just turned off, but revolted by the idea of focusing only on a person’s race when computing their supposed worth in society. For a black man like Elba, it must be doubly worse. He must go through life every day wondering if people praise him only for having a certain skin color rather than a real skill set.
“As humans, we are obsessed with race,” he lamented. “And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth. Racism should be a topic for discussion, sure. Racism is very real. But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be.”
With that said, Elba dropped his bomb on Western culture’s unhealthy and toxic obsession with racial politics, “I stopped describing myself as a Black actor when I realised it put me in a box.”
“We’ve got to grow,” he urged. “We’ve got to. Our skin is no more than that: it’s just skin. Rant over.”
Elba elaborated on this idea of moving past the superfical focus on a person’s race. He declared that he wanted his story of success to be an inspiration for others – anyone – who overcame the odds and personal struggles. Indeed, that is a human story. People who are white, black, brown, male, female, and any other woke identity all share the same human struggle. Elba is not a role model for just blacks, but anyone who identifies with his perseverance.
“I accept that it is part of my journey to be aware that, in many cases, I might be the first to look like me to do a certain thing,” recognized the actor. “And that’s good, to leave as part of my legacy. So that other people, Black kids, but also white kids growing up in the circumstances I grew up in, are able to see there was a kid who came from Canning Town who ended up doing what I do. It can be done.”
He finished with a poweerful anecdote that he didn’t take to the big screen out of the lack of other black actors or to motivate just the black community, but to set an example of working hard. “I didn’t become an actor because I didn’t see Black people doing it and I wanted to change that. I did it because I thought that’s a great profession and I could do a good job at it,” he said.
“As you get up the ladder, you get asked what it’s like to be the first Black to do this or that,” the actor explained. “Well, it’s the same as it would be if I were white. It’s the first time for me. I don’t want to be the first Black. I’m the first Idris.”
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