Having been raised with the slogan “If you want to make it in this world, you have to be twice as good as the white man to triumph in life”, Idris Elba’s success has over the years experience racism.
The British actor shared his own experience of racism when he took part in Intelligence Squared’s a live Q&A, “The Reckoning: Kwame Kwei-Armah and Idris Elba on the Arts and Black Lives Matter”.
“Success has not negated racism for me. Asking me about racism is like asking me about how long I have been breathing. The only time black people have “any consciousness” about their race is usually about “racism”.
“That stays with you regardless of whether you become successful or you beat the system,” he said.
Opening up on the work ethic instilled in him by his late father Winston, who was from Sierra Leone, and his Ghanaian mother Eve, Idris recalled them insisting, “If you want to make it in this world, you have to be twice as good as the white man,” a belief he said became like a “mantra” to him.
The “Beasts of No Nation” actor explained while he was good at football, he worked just as hard at cricket “because I was always of that mindset.”
He added, “Before you know it you realize you are quite multi-faceted… you have to have your fingers in many pies.”
Idris has gone on to forge a successful career in Hollywood following his breakout role in HBO’s “The Wire”, starring in Marvel’s “Thor” franchise, and “Avengers: Infinity War” as well as bagging the lead role in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”.
In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist and fight against it.
SAY NO TO RACISM.