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Photo: Denzel Washington (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
27 Nov 2017
Actor Denzel Washington on Monday said the prison system is not to blame for crime in black communities, and that, “if the father is not in the home, the boy will find a father in the streets,” according to a report in The Grio.
Washington, who plays a criminal defense lawyer who works to address social injustice in his new movie, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” said positive changes for people in the black community starts with the way children are raised.
“If the streets raise you, then the judge becomes your mother and prison becomes your home,” the 62-year-old Washington said during a screening of his film at New York’s Henry R. Luce Auditorium.
“It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure,” he added. “So you know I can’t blame the system. It’s unfortunate that we make such easy work for them.”
Washington says people in the 1990s inspired him to stay hopeful about change.
“I remember when I was doing the movie ‘Malcolm X,’ and we were doing a speech up at Columbia, we had a bunch of students from Columbia University,” Washington told The Grio. “In between takes, we were talking about things and how tough the world is, and I was like, ‘With everything we’re talking about, does it make you want to give up?’”
And they’re like, “Oh, no no, we’re gonna change it,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh, I’m the cynic.’”
“So I pray that young people never lose that fire, I don’t think they will. And needless to say there’s a lot for them to work on,” he added.