Director Tyler Perry has a new show that that debuted on TLC last night, but what caught most people’s attention is the color of many cast members.
Perry, BET reports, is taking heat for the number of white actors in the show, which is called Tyler Perry’s Too Close to Home.
Unfortunately, the show is facing a lot of backlash from Perry's core audience, who feel the cast isn't close to home at all. This time around, Perry decided on an all-white cast for his series, drawing criticism from his loyal fans across social media.
TMZ caught up with Perry and asked him about the criticism he has received.
“Are you really asking me about that?” Perry responded. “That is so ridiculous, man. People are people. People need to let all that go.”
Perry’s response is similar to the message Morgan Freeman delivered a number of years ago on 60 Minutes when the actor was asked how he felt about Black History Month. Freeman implied that Americans focus too much on race and said we should "stop talking about it."
It's is a message that we don’t hear very often. Sexuality, gender, and race today are often treated as core aspects of one’s identity. The notion that people are just people often is viewed as quaint or “troublesome.” It's even “a little bit racist,” according to the Odyssey:
Saying you don't see race groups every person of every different and unique nationality and culture into one assimilated group. We will never be able to learn, grow and advance as a society without the ability to express our culture and accept cultures that are different from our own.
Similar arguments have been made in the Guardian, the Atlantic, and the Huffington Post. These articles share a common thread. It’s the idea that if we don’t focus on race, we can’t correct the culture of white privilege that exists in America in all of its forms.
By viewing people as people, we’re told, “we will never, ever understand the walk of anyone who doesn’t share the same skin tone or culture, nor will they understand ours.”
When Perry says “people are people” and Freeman says the way to get rid of racism is to “stop talking about it,” they are pushing back on a powerful paradigm.
Is Perry’s view that “people are people” one to be embraced? Or is impractical and inhibit us from achieving racial equality?
Jon Miltimore is the Senior Editor of Intellectual Takeout. Follow him on Facebook.
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