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“Breaking Bad” actor Bryan Cranston is confessing to his so-called “white blindness” after living through the pandemic and the calls for racial justice in the last couple of years, declaring, “I’m 65 years old now, and I need to learn, I need to change.”
In 2019, Cranston was approached by Matt Shakman who asked him if he’d be interested in directing a play based on Larry Shue’s 1984 comedy “The Foreigner.” It involves an Englishman who blocks the conversion of a Georgia fishing lodge he’s staying in into a Ku Klux Klan meeting place. He reportedly turned down the director position.
“It is a privileged viewpoint to be able to look at the Ku Klux Klan and laugh at them and belittle them for their broken and hateful ideology,” he noted in an interview with the LA Times. “But the Ku Klux Klan and Charlottesville and white supremacists — that’s still happening and it’s not funny. It’s not funny to any group that is marginalized by these groups’ hatred, and it really taught me something.”
Cranston thought the play was funny for years. Now, he’s had an epiphany of sorts over social and racial injustice causing him to confront his own “white privilege.”
“And I realized, ‘Oh my God, if there’s one, there’s two, and if there’s two, there are 20 blind spots that I have… what else am I blind to?'” Cranston ironically wondered.
“If we’re taking up space with a very palatable play from the 1980s where rich old white people can laugh at white supremacists and say, ‘Shame on you,’ and have a good night in the theater, things need to change, I need to change,” he asserted.
“I’m 65 years old now, and I need to learn, I need to change,” Cranston told the LA Times.
Cranston has now turned to another offer, a role as Charles Nichols in “Power of Sail,” which is directed by Weyni Mengesha and written by Paul Grellonng. According to the Times, Cranston plays “an aging, highly respected Harvard professor who faces intense backlash for inviting a white nationalist and Holocaust denier named Carver to speak at his annual symposium. As student protests intensify, Nichols presses forward, claiming his intention is to give Carver and his repugnant ideas a thorough dressing down in a debate.”
An avowed “free-speech absolutist,” Nichols proclaims, “The answer to hate speech is more speech.”
“Power of Sail” highlights characters who question the limits of free speech. For this reason, the actor believes conversations involving the topic can be changed.
“There need to be barriers, there need to be guard rails,” he unconstitutionally asserted. “If someone wants to say the Holocaust was a hoax, which is against history … to give a person space to amplify that speech is not tolerance. It’s abusive.”
“Free speech limits”?
That is all.
— Rotten avocado (@RottenAvocado78) February 18, 2022
Wow! What a jerk! You don’t get to limit free speech in American jerk!
— Lynn D. McGlenn (@Lynndia) February 18, 2022
“What is safe? Well, emotionally safe. Without judgment, safe. All-inclusive, safe. Empathetic, safe. And that’s what gives me hope with new generations,” he argued. “Because it’s a beautiful thing to say, ‘We’re all entitled to be who we are without judgment.’”
“The pandemic-fatigued world is deeply fractured and anxious,” Cranston commented, adding, “We’re all feeling very tight and constricted. I think the mask is just a manifestation of how we feel.”
“As we work to shed those masks, we must shed our false conceptions of the rosiness of pre-pandemic America. The process of examining our problematic beliefs will be clumsy,” he warned, “and there should be room for those who make mistakes and are honest and brave enough to admit to those mistakes, and to apologize.”
“Somewhere in this more hardened world — this less civil world that we find ourselves in — someplace, somewhere, lives forgiveness,” Cranston concluded.
Who knew @BryanCranston was a total loser?
— ELIJAH 🇺🇸🇦🇺 (@ElijahSchaffer) February 18, 2022
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