In a lengthy thread on Twitter, The Good Place star William Jackson Harper detailed a “disturbing” experience where his charity work with military members bumped up against a controversial executive order from President Donald Trump.
According to Harper, he had arranged to have a virtual discussion of Malcolm X with military academy students as part of the his work with Arts In The Armed Forces (AITAF). While he couldn’t have been happier that the students selected the film, which he calls “arguably the greatest biography committed to film,” the situation took an alarming turn a few days before the virtual event when Trump’s executive order entered the scene. Here’s what Harper tweeted:
Two days before the event, I was informed that students at two of the academies would not be taking part for fear of running afoul of President Trump’s “Executive Order Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” which requires that federal and military institutions refrain from training material that promote a “pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors…”
Which meant they possibly couldn’t watch Malcolm X.
Shaken by the implications of the president’s order, Harper took the the administration to task for what he believes is outright censorship.
“I don’t disagree with the idea of combating race and sex stereotyping. But that is not what this order is about. This is censorship,” Harper wrote. “This executive order denies the very real experiences of so many minorities in this country. This executive order is rooted in the fictitious idea that the scourges of racism and sexism are essentially over, and that the poisonous fallout from centuries discrimination isn’t real. But all of these things are real, and they remain to this day some of the most salient malignancies in our society.”
In the end, three of the four academies still attended the virtual event, but Harper was still frightened by the fact that one academy abstained out of fear of backlash from the executive order. He ended his thread by urging everyone to vote. “If we don’t, we are whistling past the graveyard,” he said.
We can’t let this slide. I would encourage us all to stay vigilant, to question every single decision this administration makes, and every single word out of their mouths. Most importantly, WE HAVE TO VOTE. If we don’t, we are whistling past the graveyard. K. Bye.
— William Jackson Harper (@dubjackharper) October 5, 2020