Is Liam Neeson racist?

Is Liam Neeson racist?

Alex Hanks

World renowned actor Liam Neeson recently recalled disturbing events regarding the sexual assault of someone he knew. The suspect was an African-American male, and Neeson said that following the attack he waited around in hopes of killing “some black bastard” in revenge.

While Neeson’s actions are disgusting and disturbing, I think they present the opportunity to bring up a very real conversation on the spectrum of racism and implicit bias in a very divided society.

We can’t ignore the fact that Neeson is not the only individual in our communities with this paradigm. Unfortunately, even some of our teachers, coworkers, and friends share some of the same beliefs that Neeson expressed on the night he wanted to kill a random African-American male, regardless of whether they were the suspect or not.

When your skin color gives you the privilege to have the desire to “kill a black bastard,” open conversation about racism and prejudice needs to be had. It’s long overdue.

Neeson openly acknowledged his actions and displayed a sense of shame and remorse in the process. While the incident transpired over 40 years ago, many individuals today still have the same mindset Neeson did on the night he was planning on murdering an innocent African-American man.

What appalled me was the fact that following the attack, his first question was to ask his friend the race of her attacker. That seems to be a long standing trend in racist actions of individuals. Why does race matter, and why was Neeson’s recount of the situation so shocking? This is primarily because he openly admitted to being racist and sought help. That’s incredibly rare. Yet he shouldn’t be praised for it, because it’s something everyone with prejudice should be doing. Society tends to put emphasis on race whenever tragedy strikes. It’s the typical “us vs. them” mentality that has plagued the U.S since its founding. It makes me wonder how Neeson would have responded if she said her attacker was a white man instead.

It was amazing that Neeson was ashamed. When you show remorse, there’s room to seek help and improve your methods of thinking. We can’t label Neeson as a racist monster yet. While his actions are gross, he is in the process of changing his mindset and working towards being a better member of society. It would bridge the gap in our country if more individuals took that approach. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being white, but there is everything wrong with and not using your platform to promote a society in which we can all coexist regardless of color.

The thought process Neeson had that night is the reason Trayvon Martin isn’t with us today. It’s why Philando Castile isn’t home with his daughter. Black Lives Matter (BLM) can’t be the only ones having open conversation about racism in a divided society. I encourage everyone to strive for equality like BLM, because it’s time to move forward. I’m pissed at Liam Neeson to put it lightly. But I also think that Neeson’s admission was powerful, and has the potential to inspire prejudiced individuals to seek help and work to be better citizens in such a racially infected society.