Idris Elba Infuriates the Left With Comments About Being a ‘Black Actor’

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Actor Idris Elba caused something of a meltdown during a recent interview when he made a comment about race that does not jibe with progressive orthodoxy. But people’s reactions to his point say quite a bit about how they think.

While speaking with Esquire UK, Elba said he no longer wishes to be identified as a “black actor” and explained that he wants his accomplishments to be recognized outside of his race.

“As humans, we are obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth,” Elba told Esquire UK. “I stopped describing myself as a Black actor when I realized it put me in a box. We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to. Our skin is no more than that: it’s just skin. Rant over.”

The past decade has shown us that Elba’s words are a gigantic “no-no” among progressive circles. They reacted just as anyone could have predicted: With outrage.

Screenwriter Kellee Terrell lambasted the actor for his comments, accusing him of playing the “good colorblind negro.” She wrote:

There’s an innocuous way that Black folks in Hollywood like Idris, Terry Crews, etc—play the “good colorblind negro” to have individual success. Meanwhile,Black folks like Gina, Gabrielle, John Boyega, etc, reject that bullshit to ensure COMMUNAL SUCCESS.

Just an observation.

New York Times author Shanita Hubbard argued that it doesn’t matter how Elba chooses to identify because of racism and bias:

Can somebody explain to Idris Elba the way HE self-identifies is not what “put him in a box.” The four walls of the proverbial box he is referring to are comprised of little things called  racism, discrimination, bias and prejudice. You cant rename yourself out of that box

Journalist Ameshia Cross also chimed in, saying that Elba was taking a “dangerous path.” She tweeted:

Whether he defines himself as a Black actor or not, film directors and studios do. Does Idris transcend stereotypical roles absolutely, so does Denzel, Poitier, etc. Something about Idris’ commentary here doesn’t sit well. I get where he’s going, but he took a dangerous path

However, some came to Elba’s defense, including actor John Boyega, who argued that the criticism should be aimed at folks in Hollywood who typecast black actors:

I think we should fixate on who is typecasting and putting actors in boxes because of this. Not on making weird adjustments for them. We continuously focus on what we have to do so they don’t do this or that. Very worrying. We BLACK and that’s that.

Another actor named Chris Greene said he made a similar move to Elba and highlighting the problem with Hollywood’s casting practices:

I stopped calling myself a “Black Actor” long time ago…soon as I did the auditions stopped coming in.

Love that you are shining light on this man.

For his part, Elba was not moved by the criticism. He also took to Twitter to double down on his stance:

There isn’t a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not. Being an ‘actor’ is a profession, like being an ‘architect’ ,they are not defined by race. However, If YOU define your work by your race, that is your Perogative. Ah lie?

The bottom line is that Elba can identify however he wants. Yes, Hollywood has had a problem with typecasting black actors for decades. It has been the subject of criticism for as long as I can remember. The film industry, despite the proclaimed “wokeness” of the decision-makers, has had problems with how it has handled issues pertaining to race – especially when it comes to casting. It’s not difficult to see why Elba would rather be known more for his work than his ethnicity.

But this also highlights another problematic way of thinking. There are many who believe that their ethnicity or skin color is the primary part of who they are as a person. Some folks treat their race as sacrosanct. Folks like Elba seem to view their ethnicity as a part of who they are, but not the encapsulation of their identity. He would likely identify as a black man, an actor, husband, father, and other traits.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

Not viewing one’s race or culture as the sole – or even primary – defining feature is more healthy than limiting oneself to these characteristics. But too many seek to define us by our skin color instead of other important traits that shape us into the individuals we become. On the left, it has become its own industry and political apparatus, which is why they hyperfocus on racial issues. It might be a destructive force in American society, but it makes too effective of a political weapon for them to give it up.


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