Harry Belafonte: Race Relations Are a ‘Reversal’ From the 1960s

Harry Belafonte on Oscar Diversity: Race
Dan Callister/REX/Shutterstock

Harry Belafonte says the Oscar controversy is a symptom of the troubling race relations in the country, which are in a “retrogression” since the Civil Rights era of the 1960s.

On Fareed Zakaria’s Sunday-morning CNN interview show, airing Feb. 14, the host asks Belafonte if the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations is simply a matter of two bad years, since Hollywood is said to be full of liberals.

“I don’t think it’s just two bad years,” says Belafonte. “If you look at the spectrum of race relations in this country, on a lot of fronts, there is a retrogression, there is a reversal,” he says, citing gerrymandering in voting districts and employment records as two examples of a new wave “of racist practices.”

Belafonte adds, “I think what we achieved in the Civil Rights movement to what we’re now practicing as a nation — there is a reversal.”

Asked if the election of President Obama has been a factor, Belafonte answers, “I think a black man in the White House has awakened a lot of dichotomies.” He says the rest of the world sometimes saw America as powerful but reactionary, and the election sent a different signal. However, the election “also awakened a right-wing energy. Nobody expected that we would ever elect a black man to be president. When that reality was established, it shocked a lot of racist forces in this country … There is a force in this country that says ‘no black man should ever be at the helm of this country.'”

Belafonte received a Governors Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in November 2014, electrifying the crowd with a hard-hitting acceptance speech.

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  1. N Schultz says:

    Belafonte is part of a much larger group of Farrakhan/Malcolm X/Al Sharpton race baiters who seek out opportunities to keep racism alive by stoking racial divisions. Life in Obama’s America for the black man has moved precipitously worse in terms of income disparity, unemployment, incarceration, out of wedlock births etc. If Belafonte (and Zakaria typically) wants to discover why race relations have worsened and why the oscars have worsened I would (1) look at themselves as the problem and desire to keep racism alive and (2) if blacks are less 15% of the population than at MOST 15% of the Oscars over t i m e would go to black actors. Settle down Harry……and stop throwing stones in glass houses…..

  2. Wake up and admit that racism is alive and well in the white house right now. Obama had the opportunity to make race relations better and instead chose to follow Alinsky and do nothing but lob grenade after grenade. Of his long list of failures, this could be one of the largest, if not the largest.

  3. jedi77 says:

    Surprised at the posts on this board.
    I honestly had no idea that Variety’s readers were this ignorant.

    There must be a link from Fox News or O’Reilly to this article somewhere.

    Pointing out some very real problems with racism, doesn’t make him “hate” white people.

    • And from what rock did you crawl from under? Huffpo? Salon? What a cop out – pointing out “everyone else’s ignorance” and not even addressing the issue. Many people are just sick and tired of hearing black people talk about racism without owning it or taking any responsibility for its continuing and lately, strengthening divide in this country. Not all black people, but those most guilty tend to have the loudest voice only to be amplified by a complicit media.

  4. Jude says:

    Mr. Belafonte has for many years hated the United States. He is a communist. He is a voice that need not be heard–his opinions mean nothing

  5. Blacks and all manner of anti-whites have been beating racial awareness and racial agitation into my head for about ten years now. Well now I am “woke”, now I am truly racially aware.

    Don’t be surprised. In fact I should thank them, for waking me up to the truth.

  6. carlos broker says:

    It’s quite apparent that Belafonte has a load of Caucasian genes. It is quite ironical that he harbors such a hatred for the Caucasian race. He certainly does not make things better by his comments, which fuel the fires of racial hatred.

  7. charlie says:

    Don’t Blacks ever get tired of whining? From the clueless Obama (and wife) to the movie stars making millions in Hollywood, it’s whine whine whine. You can always return to mother Africa, just
    remember to take Asshole Sharpton with you.

  8. Joe Neckbone says:

    Belfonte is a race pimp.

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