Actor and activist shares his concerns on the state of Hollywood, diversity standards, and the failures in public education while also emphasizing the importance of teaching civics to our children.
Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss recently appeared on PBS’s Firing Line, where he lambasted Hollywood elitists and issued a warning for regular Americans. Dreyfuss identified what he sees as the biggest threat to our freedoms and discussed the state of Hollywood, as well as how America is in grave danger due to the failures in public education.
The veteran actor, who used to identify as a liberal Democrat, admitted he has become much more libertarian in his old age. He started by blasting Hollywood’s diversity standards, which he claims make him sick to his stomach.
“They make me vomit,” Dreyfuss said of the representation and inclusion standards put in place by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscars eligibility in the Best Picture category. “This is an art form … no one should be telling me as an artist that I have to give in to the latest, most current idea of what morality is … I don’t think that there is a minority or a majority in the country that has to be catered to like that.”
These diversity standards require that a certain percentage of cast and crew come from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, are women, are non-heterosexual, or have cognitive or physical disabilities. Margaret Hoover also asked Dreyfuss whether he thinks there is a difference between representation in general and who is allowed to represent other groups, including the use of blackface.
“There shouldn’t be … Because it’s patronizing. Because it says that we’re so fragile that we can’t have our feelings hurt,” Dreyfuss answered. Moving to the topic of civics education, he was equally blunt.
Dreyfuss told Hoover a story of his own education in civics. He explained that his mother, a “communist, and she wasn’t kidding,” raised him in a very leftist community. His mother and one of his middle-grade teachers, a Republican who “never tried to keep her GOP atmosphere away from her teaching,” would debate American history.
Dreyfuss identified “the honor of dissent” as a pivotal missing element in today’s civics education.
“The idea that you sought the truth in history and you didn’t fool around about it. You told the truth. Period. And that was that. You don’t stop at the water’s edge and not commit to critical analysis,” he said.
Dreyfuss developed his Dreyfuss Civics Initiative curriculum in 2006. On DCI’s website, Dreyfess explains why he believes prioritizing civics education is crucial. “Teach our kids how to run our country, before they are called upon to run our country … if we don’t, someone else will run our country.”
Dreyfuss and Hoover delved deeper into his concerns about both civics education and civility generally.
“People confuse being exposed to an opposing view on any subject with being a traitor or with being a subversive. And that’s a kind of nonsense that is so immature that it’s beyond the immaturity of normal adults,” he said.
“I think we’re cowards … the idea that a parent would walk into a public school and say, ‘I don’t want my children exposed to opposing views,’ That’s wrong. That’s wrong of the parent,” he said. “I think we’re in the endgame right now. I think that we could let slip the greatest idea for governance ever devised, and we won’t even know that it happened.”
According to Fox News, Richard Dreyfuss believes that America is on the wrong track.
Dreyfuss’s message is clear: America is in grave danger due to its failures in public education and lack of civics education. He believes that the study of civics is crucial for the survival of the country, and that failing to prioritize it will lead to disastrous consequences.
His perspective is a wake-up call for Americans who may take their freedoms for granted and underestimate the importance of an informed and educated citizenry. Dreyfuss’s criticisms of Hollywood’s diversity standards and emphasis on critical thinking and dissent serve as a reminder that our values and beliefs should be questioned and scrutinized, rather than blindly accepted.
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