Well, this is a pretty crazy case. In an interview with The Independent, Schindler’s List star Liam Neeson admitted he once strolled the streets with a cosh (a bludgeon) looking for a ‘black bastard’ to kill. He wasn’t clear about when exactly this incident occurred, but it was some time ago. These terribly malevolent and racist thoughts came after Neeson had heard news of a close friend having been raped by a black person.
Neeson, now 66, recalls the story with such deep regret and shame for not only having the thoughts but actually carrying out the action of searching for a black person.
“It was horrible, horrible when I think back, that I did that. And I’ve never admitted that,” he said.
“It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it. When I eventually thought, ‘what the fuck are you doing’, y’know?”
There’s no denying that even having such harsh thoughts is wrong. There’s also no denying that it is perfectly natural for thoughts to turn horribly negative after hearing such shocking news about a loved one.
Of course, the keyboard warriors of Twitter in all their glory had no time wasted to post their opinions. Fans were jumping down Neeson’s throat for admitting a very natural and human incident that occurred in his past.
“But my immediate reaction was I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.”
Not how old were they? How tall were they? You just asked what colour were they? I don’t care how sorry you are, Liam Neeson, that is disgusting. https://t.co/sCDVTBCBIx
— Hannah Al-Othman (@HannahAlOthman) February 4, 2019
Liam Neeson being ready to take any Black life over what one person allegedly did just shows how meaningless and inconsequential black lives are to some.
Even him telling the story demonstrates a level of privilege and understating that there may not be repercussions.
— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) February 4, 2019
Liam Neeson: I was racist for two weeks but I came out stronger x
— bolu babalola (@BeeBabs) February 4, 2019
Now, I’m certainly not saying being racist is okay in any sort of way. But it is innate in our human nature for negativity and darkness to spark when we hear a loved one has been marginalised, especially when it is something as inhumane as rape.
The difference lies in whether we actually do something about it.
I’m not speaking for what Neeson would’ve done should a black person had approached him at the time. The fact that he was able to stop himself at some point and correct his thoughts, and then actually admit them to a journalist for the world to hear given his status, is something quite honest and human. He, at least, admitted something many people can relate to.
You’re not a bad person for having perfectly human thoughts. It isn’t always fair to jump down someone’s throat for a mistake that they’ve made in the past and very clearly have learnt from.