In an interview published last Sunday, award-winning author Toni Morrison shared her sincere assessment of race relations in allegedly post-racial America.
“People keep saying, ‘We need to have a conversation about race,’” she stated. “This is the conversation: ‘I want to see a cop shoot a white, unarmed teenager in the back, and I want to see a white man convicted for raping a Black woman … then when you ask me, ‘Is it over?’ I will say, Yes.”
Morrison, whose works often touch on social issues, went on to speak about racism in America and the wide economic disparities between classes in society.
“They don’t stop-and-frisk on Wall Street, which is where they should really go,” she suggested. “Race is the classification of a species, and we are the human race, period, but the other thing—the hostility, the racism—is the money-maker, and it also has some emotional satisfaction for people who need it.”
Morrison also spoke about the relation between economics and racism, and mentioned several recent high-profile police murders of unarmed, African-Americans young men, namely Michael Brown and Walter Scott.
“You understand, don’t you,” the 84-year-old writer says, “that this is not new, it’s in the press, which is good, but it’s always been that way. I have sons, they have to say, ‘Sir,’ if a police officer stops them. You know, strategies for getting around.”
Morrison won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her novel “Beloved,” won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, from her friend, President Barack Obama. Her latest novel, “God Help the Child,” is her 11th.