5 Interesting Things Anthony Mackie Said About Race and Politics

Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele
Anthony Mackie
Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Anthony Mackie is playing a campaign manager in his new film, Our Brand Is Crisis, but judging by his recent interview with the Daily Beast, he can go a few rounds on the Sunday-morning shows about politics and race. 

Here are five interesting tidbits from the interview:

1. He has a bad case of dèjá vu with a few political issues, and with how they’re regurgitated every election cycle. He thinks the nation hasn’t moved the ball forward on a lot of important topics, like health care:

We’ve been arguing and fighting about the same [s—t] for 60, 70 years […] Kennedy, all of them, had free health care aspects of their campaigns. They’ve been talking about this forever. It’s the same stuff. Politics are so cyclical. We haven’t moved on to anything.


2. He doesn’t think we’ve moved the ball forward on race, either, and suggests that some politicians are playing to the racist fear that black and Hispanic Americans are supposedly taking stuff from white Americans: 

When Lyndon B. Johnson ran against Goldwater, Goldwater’s whole campaign was, ‘If we give them the right to vote, the next thing you know they’re going to be sleeping with our daughters and taking our jobs, living in our houses.’ Now: ‘If we let Latinos in, they’re going to be sleeping with our daughters, taking our jobs.’ It’s the same thing.

3. He’s not feeling how the Supreme Court took a huge bite out of the Voting Rights Act. He thinks that kind of legislative tampering will inconvenience some people who are trying to vote:

So now you go to the state of Florida, which was a huge electoral state, and they closed down like 60 [Department of Motor Vehicle offices]. In order to vote, you’ve got to get your voting card. You get your voting card from the DMV. You mean to tell me your little 75-year-old grandma in the bay is going to drive 70 miles to the DMV and wait in line all day just to get her voting card? No. She’s just not going to vote. And that’s what’s scary—and we let them do it.


4. He doesn’t think you need a black director to direct quality black films or black performances. He spoke specifically about the idea that a black director should direct Chadwick Boseman in Marvel’s Black Panther film:

I don’t think it’s important at all. As a director, your job is to tell a story. You know, they didn’t get a horse to direct Seabiscuit! The thing is I don’t think the race of the director has to do with their ability to tell a story. I think it’s all about the director’s ability to be able to relate to that story and do it justice. I think men can direct women, and two of my greatest work experiences were with female directors. So I think it all depends. May the best man—or woman—win.


5. He thinks the Republicans are suffering at the polls because they haven’t a clue how to court or retain black voters: 

The weird thing, what I find so remarkable, is that Republicans have been trying to capture the vote and rework the delegation of voting rights since Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Since he signed that, the Republicans have not figured out how to get elected without the black vote. George Bush kind of cracked it by getting the Latino vote by going the Christian route, but they haven’t been able to figure it out.


This Daily Beast interview was conducted before his controversial comments about supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy, comments he later retracted, saying it was all a joke. This interview paints him in a better and much more informed light.

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Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.

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