Many celebrities didn’t wait to see what the grand jury in Ferguson, MO had to say about the death of Michael Brown. They started firing off their opinions via social media long before we learned officer Darren Wilson wouldn’t be indicted in Brown’s death.
Kevin Costner isn’t like most of his peers.
The Bull Durham star is aghast at how the death of Brown or New York’s Eric Garner after altercations with the police lead to misinformation which makes its way into the culture.
What is the truth? I don’t know anymore — and we have 500 people trying to tell us,” Costner said in an interview on Variety’s PopPolitics on SiriusXM. “There’s megaphones coming at the whole world. If our stories are mixed up, we’re not capable for cutting through the noise and getting the truth.
The Oscar winner is on the promotional circuit talking up Black or White, a film he helped finance. The story follows a grandfather (Costner) fighting for custody of his mixed race child with a black family. So it’s understandable that reporters are quizzing him on race-based subjects.
Costner’s take on the recent police-related news stories differs rom his more vocal colleagues. But it’s his views on how race enters the conversation that truly sets him apart, at least when it comes to celebrity debates on the subject.
… what I think happens is a lot of times a conversation gets stopped dead in its tracks because if somebody thinks they are losing, race comes up even if the word has no place in the discussion. It trumps the point someone is trying to make, or what they are trying to talk about and it has no place there. Race has a place in our country and a terrible one, and it is one we are still grappling with, but oftentimes we just feel we know how to talk about it and if someone feels they are losing the argument the conversation breaks up, it stops, it just comes to a shrieking halt.
Costner isn’t as politically active as some stars, like Sean Penn or Alec Baldwin. Yet he actively stumped for then Sen. Barack Obama in 2008 and inserted himself into the politically charged BP Spill from 2010 by promoting technology he helped fund that helps clean up such ecological disasters.
In 2011, the actor ruled out a run for office.
I’ve had a very colourful life, and I don’t care for it to be brought up by an opponent,” he says with a smile. “In American politics, if you can’t defeat someone on the issues, you attack what they’ve done in their past, and, because I’ve lived a really full life, I wouldn’t want to put myself in that position.