With harrowing novels like The Bluest Eye, where a young black girl from Ohio feels inferior because of the color of her skin, Toni Morrison has never shied away from racial discussions. Her latest book, God Help the Child: A novel, delves into the issue of colorism within the black community as a light-skinned mother can’t seem to love her dark skinned child.
So it comes as no surprise that she was asked about recent events like the protests in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, which were spurred on racial profiling and unjust treatment. During an interview with Goodreads, the Nobel Laureate expressed her relief that the subject of police brutality is being brought to the forefront.
“I’m hoping that it makes a difference. It made some,” she said. “There’s a lot of interest now in correcting police procedure. I always say when the first white kid, unarmed, gets shot by the cops, then we’ll know. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been shot, but they haven’t been shot unarmed. A 12-year-old boy [Tamir Rice], you know? But at least it’s in the forefront, and many people are talking about that now.”
The protests in Baltimore were sparked by the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died from a spinal cord injury suffered while in police custody (his death was recently ruled a homicide). Other stars to join the conversation include Morgan Freeman, who said “f—k the media” for its coverage of the protests, and The Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg, who tweeted, “Don’t denounce our pain as savage. What’s savage is the cruel inhumanity and brutality of the police. Condemn that.” Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams shared similar thoughts in his own Twitter essay.