LeVar Burton is one of the most celebrated Black actors of his generation, but during an appearance on The View, for a short time he became a teacher and gave the show’s co-host Megan McCain a lesson about what “cancel culture” means.
Initially, Burton talked about hosting Reading Rainbow, his groundbreaking role in 1977’s Roots, starring alongside Whoopi Goldberg in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and his new gig as one of the hosts of Jeopardy. But McCain had other ideas.
The exchange began when McCain asked Burton about Dr. Seuss Enterprises deciding not to publish six of their children’s books because of racist images. She asked, “What do you think of that decision and about the cancel culture surrounding works of art or artists that are controversial?”
Burton, who recently did a voiceover for a Seuss Foundation video, praised the creator of the Dr. Seuss series, Theodore Geisel, but pushed back against the cancel culture concept.
“In terms of cancel culture, I think it's misnamed, that's a misnomer. I think we have a consequence culture and that consequences are finally encompassing everybody in the society," Burton told McCain. "Whereas they haven't been, ever, in this country.”
He went on to explain, "America, specifically our xenophobia, has crept into every aspect of our culture. And we have a tendency in this country to otherize everybody: Asians, Hispanics, Blacks. White normative culture has always been this way when it comes to the 'other.' We have tremendously racist underpinnings in this country.
"And the sooner we make peace with it, come to terms with the fact that this is part of the fabric of America,” he continued. “Only then are we prepared to do anything about it—make lasting systemic change."
To catch the entire segment of Burton on The View, check out the clip below:
Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage