Actor's past haunts present
The Moore you know - Donnie Moore
Liam Neeson recently has been embroiled in controversy about racist statements he made on a promo tour for his new movie.
In the interview for his movie, he talked about a time he wanted to seek revenge as the premise of the film he was promoting.
In his story, he talks about a time his friend was allegedly assaulted by a black man. In his initial response he went on to talk about how he went out to seek revenge, hoping any black person would provoke him.
His direct statement was "And I did it for maybe a week, hoping some 'black bastard' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could ... kill him".
Even after making these statement, he insists that he is not racist, but the statement speaks for itself.
The true issue with the statement is in the idea that black men do not have the right to due process if a white person believes they are guilty.
This mentality is the rea- son some 3,000 plus black bodies were brutalized and murdered in the south by lynching. For too long white people have felt they have agency over black bodies that have no connection to them.
Neeson felt that he was the hero of the story when he first told it to the reporter. This mindset that because his friend may have been wronged by a black person, he felt he had the right to take the life of any black person is terrifying.
He says that if it were a white person he would have had the same reaction. This idea seems hard to believe. He targeted black men because he knew if he were to go through with this planned murder, he would not get in as much trouble as if he were to kill a white counterpart.
Many have come out to commend him for acknowledging his struggles with racism. But there should be little to commend, due to the lengths he went to. The other thing we should
acknowledge is, when he told the initial story he showed little remorse for the behavior he once subscribed to. It was only after getting backlash for the horrific comments he made, that he turned it around.
While healing can only happen once we allow the problem to be seen, that does not mean we just let past wrongdoings go without some accountability.
The first thing to comes to mind when you hear Neeson's story is the story of Emmett Till. Till was a 14-year-old boy in 1955 and was brutally murdered because a white woman said he was making advances at her.
He was killed by Roy Bryant, the accuser's husband and J.W. Milam, his half-brother.
They were put on trial and were not convicted of any crime. They both later admit- ted they did it but could not be charged due to double jeopardy laws. The woman who had started the claim against Till later recanted as well.
Not to say that the stories line up perfectly, but Neeson had the same mental thought as Roy Bryant of wanting to protect his friend. They both do so through the use of racialized terror of black men.
While Neeson did not hurt anyone, but the mere idea that he would leave his house in search of a "black bastard" to murder speaks to what he sees as justice.
The last thing that must be addressed is that he did this on a promo tour. This was not an admission he made about his racist past to some doctor. He was telling this story for monetary reasons and using this story to show how much of a man he was.
This shows that he truly does not know what was wrong with what he said or why what he said was so hurtful.
We do not know if Neeson truly still holds any of these beliefs and we must admit that people can learn and grow. But at the same time, to reach the level that he did, you truly need hate in your heart to consider such an act.
Donnie Moore is the Thunderword opinion editor.