Ed Asner Says Stars Fear Appearing ‘Anti-Black’ Over Obama Criticism

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As someone as equally ambivalent about the idea of the U.S. military engaged in yet another Middle Eastern conflict as any other war weary American, I understand the need for people — particularly those in any nominal position of influence — to speak out. That said, I wish some people would know better than to speak in front of a live microphone in order to stop themselves from sounding like a fool. Such is  the predicament of one Ed Asner (pictured).

SEE ALSO: Black Congresswoman: Obama May Get Support For Syria Out Of Loyalty

The 83-year-old veteran actor has been making an impassioned plea that Congress not give President Barack Obama the authority to launch a military strike in the civil war ravaged country of Syria in lieu of reports that President Bashar Hafez al-Assad has used chemical weapons on his own people. Asner said, “We’ve been so God-damned stung in this country by false wars, repeatedly, that, how can you believe in any just war with the history we have had?”

Fair enough, but then the so-called liberal cited race as the reason why his Hollywood peers aren’t speaking out in droves.

According to Asner, ”A lot of people don’t want to feel anti-Black by being opposed to Obama.”

Yes, because saying racist things about President Obama is so uncommon.

And of course, of all places fighting the perception of being “anti-Black,” Hollywood is leading the charge. You know, that’s why there’s so much diversity in television and film going on in La La land.

Instead of retooling his language to sound something more reminiscent of the truth, Asner repeated that fallacy in an interview with one of the most truth-tweaking people working in television: Bill O’Reilly.


When asked about the “anti-Black” comment, Asner said, “It does appear in many liberals’ minds about how far to condemn a particular action by this President.”

I know old habits die hard, but there are so many White liberals who need to realize that Black folks have long realized that said White liberals can be as capable of employing racially charged rhetoric as their conservative brethren. I mean, plenty of White liberals will tell you that themselves. Talk to each other; each one, teach one.

Not to mention, there have also been Hollywood liberals who have spoken out against President Obama. This includes Matt Damon, who in the past has publicly taken issue with Obama’s policies. Only a month ago, Damon was asked about Obama’s second term, and he quipped, ”He broke up with me.”

Then Damon got specific:

“There are a lot of things that I really question, you know: the legality of the drone strikes, and these NSA revelations. He’s got some explaining to do, particularly for a constitutional law professor.”

Damon said all of this to BET.

As far as I know, the interviewer did not hear this and shout out in response, “YOU HATE THE BLACKS, MATT! YOU HATE THE DAMN BLACKS!” Moreover, I’m certain that if you pulled Matt back to that seat and asked him about Syria, he would continue to be critical of Obama.

Asner has a point about there not being as great of a push-back to Obama’s call for military strikes in Syria as there was a decade ago when President George W. Bush banged the war drums for an invasion of Iraq. It shouldn’t be hard to peg why, though.

In fact, Asner himself said, “We had a million people in the streets, for Christ’s sake, protesting Iraq, which was about as illegal as you could find. Did it matter? Is George Bush being tried in the high courts of justice?”

So he recognizes that people are complacent…but somehow thinks Hollywood liberals not speaking out in droves has more to do with race. He recognizes Bush toyed with both facts and international law to go to war — although Obama has not — but somehow thinks the likes of Barbara Streisand aren’t all over CNN condemning Obama over Syria because of race.

Gee, I can see how some might suddenly start to question whether Asner is “anti-Black.”

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick

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