Morgan Freeman on Bigotry: ‘We Are Hardwired to be Biased’

The sixth season of the Science Channel’s Morgan Freeman-fronted series Through the Wormhole premieres Wednesday, and its first episode could hardly be more timely. The episode’s title: “Are We All Bigots?”

Freeman’s show “explores the deepest mysteries of existence,” according to the Through the Wormhole website. The series asks questions about race, religion, and science, with Freeman serving as narrator. This season’s episodes feature titles like “Can Time Go Backwards?” and “Why Do We Lie?”

In the sixth season premiere, the show tackles what Freeman calls a human’s natural tendencies toward bigotry.

“It’s human nature,” Freeman told the Hollywood Reporter. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t have wars and that kind of stuff that’s gone on since the beginning of human existence.”

The actor did, however, propose a solution to the problem:

“If we accept that … in fact we are all bigots, that we are hardwired to be biased, then we can accept that, ‘OK, that’s going to be the first thing in our brains, but the second thing in our brains can be our cautious efforts at acceptance.'”

The episode is particularly timely in the wake of the violent protests that have gripped Baltimore since the death of 25-year-old African-American Freddie Gray.

According to the New York Daily News, the episode features a segment in which a video game simulation is used to discover whether people would be more likely to open fire on a suspicious-looking black man as opposed to a similar-looking white man. The episode was shot well before the latest unrest in Baltimore, before even the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August.

“Unfortunately, the tragedies over the last year and in recent weeks made this even more timely, but that’s one of the strengths of Wormhole as a brand – to encourage people to look at things through a different lens … and dig deeper into the root cause [of issue] and hopefully have a positive [solution],” Science Channel production VP Bernadette McDaid told THR. “We’re hoping the [episode] will highlight subconscious biases and be the first step toward change.”

The show does not shy away from controversial and complex topics. Another episode in the sixth season will ask the question “Are We Here for a Reason?” Freeman told the Daily News he is looking forward to that particular episode.

“One of the final answers that we came up with in that particular episode is that the purpose of life is to disseminate information,” Freeman told the paper. “So that works for us.”

Through the Wormhole‘s sixth season premieres Wednesday night at 10/9 Central on the Science Channel.


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