Washington, DC (CBS DC) – Will Smith, during The Hollywood Reporter’s awards-season Actor Roundtable, talked about the difference between prejudice and racism.
Smith said, “Everybody is prejudiced. Everybody has their life experiences that make them prefer one thing over another — it makes them prefer blond hair over a brunette; if you see somebody with dark skin walking down the street, you have a different reaction than you have [with] someone who is 5-foot-1 and white.”
He also believes that the word “racism” might imply something worse and “your race generally is superior.” Smith has encountered racist people in Hollywood and he chooses not to work with them.
He said, “And I have to say, I live with constant prejudice, but racism is actually rare — someone who thinks their race is superior.” Smith wasn’t the only African American at the roundtable, they also questioned actor Samuel L. Jackson about if actors could fight racism and he responded with, “No.”
Smith, though, replied with, “As actors, we have the ultimate power. Historically, story combined with imagery moves humanity forward. What we do — not that it’s a responsibility, but it is the ultimate forum for changing people’s hearts and minds.”
Smith in February made a similar comment about how fixing America’s problem would require change. He believes in 2010 that many in the industry cared more about race than money and he called 1999, “A great time to be black in Hollywood.”
In October, Atlanta Black Star reported that Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett donated $150,000 to the ‘Justice…or Else” campaign which marched around the National Mall in Washington, DC. Now Smith is starring in “Concussion” and it’s receiving Oscar buzz.
In “Concussion” Smith will play Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered brain injuries leading to death among football players.