That’s what Liam Neeson would say to Thomas the Tank Engine. And then the train would be no more.
“What’s that got to do with race,” you ask?
Well, if you’re asking me that, then you haven’t seen the latest Twitter mob of ragebait. And I envy you.
What I’m alluding to is Liam Neeson’s recent interview with The Independent.
“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way, but my immediate reaction was… I asked, did she know who it was? No. What color were they? She said it was a black person.
I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some black bastard would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.Liam Neeson
Naturally, without context, anyone would see that and think, “Oh, boy…how’s he gonna talk his way out of this one?”
But before you condemn this man for being a “racist,” just read on a little bit more.
“It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the fuck are you doing,’ you know?Liam Neeson
Neeson goes on to explain that he realizes what a terrible situation it was and that he’s learned a lot about himself from the experience, vowing to never do something so heinous again. You’d think that’d be enough for the Twitter echo chambers. But, no.
I’m not entirely sure what Martin’s birthday has to do with anything. I also doubt Neeson even knew it was the same day. And I have a feeling some people may see that as reason enough to call this actor a racist.
No, I’m not censoring the names of these people. Because they’ve thrust their deepest, most horrible thoughts into the public eye. Actions have consequences. Just like Neeson’s actions.
“I come from a society – I grew up in Northern Ireland in the Troubles – and, you know, I knew a couple of guys that died on hunger strike, and I had acquaintances who were very caught up in the Troubles, and I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland’s proof of that. All this stuff that’s happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that, you know. But that primal need, I understand.Liam Neeson
Revenge. It’s a dish best served cold. It’s also sweet.
Revenge is ice cream.
But seriously. Human emotions are strange things. Psychology shows us that negative emotions are simpler, more primal. It’s easy to fall into an angry pit, because being happy means your defenses are down. No one feels comfortable when their defenses are down.
I tend to agree with the black men on this one. Neeson has expressed himself in a naked, vulnerable way. He’s atoned for his shortcomings already. This is the kind of bravery we need more of. This is the kind of togetherness we need to foster.
What are your thoughts?
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Livingston, G.S. (March 27, 2010). It is easier to be angry than sad. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifelines/201003/it-is-easier-be-angry-sad
Michallon, C. (February 4, 2019). Liam Neeson interview: Rape, race and how I learnt revenge doesn’t work. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/liam-neeson-interview-rape-race-black-man-revenge-taken-cold-pursuit-a8760896.html
Twitter. (February 5, 2019). http://www.twitter.com