Ashton Sanders On Racism

Moonlight's star, Ashton Sanders, thinks ‘America isn’t made for the Black man.’

Ashton Sanders, the young star of the Oscar-winning ‘Moonlight’ movie, opens up about dealing with bullies and racially motivated attitudes. His fans would be surprised to know that Ashton was bullied at school because of being too slim but this was a challenge that taught him that ‘different’ didn’t always mean ‘bad.’  “It’s really crazy looking back on my bullies or whoever was trying to torment me or tease me, because karma is just, like, crazy,” he says. “I think it’s cool to be different. That’s what cool is.”

Growing up in LA, Sanders has always known the racism existed but he never faced it personally before he started to travel and film.  “That’s something we just go through as Black men in America,” he says. “The fact that we have to be used to that, it’s ridiculous. People will literally say that they’re not racist or prejudiced within themselves, but actions speak louder than words. I have incidents almost every single day here, just walking down the streets or going into high-end stores.”

“America isn’t made for the Black man. Obviously, we are living in a progressive society, my generation, we’re paving ways and calling out bullshit, but I feel there’s an old American mindset that’s just imposed on people. The fact that I go on a train and I sit next to a white woman and she’s gripping her purse, or I’m in an elevator and can feel the tension of a white couple staring at each other because I’m a Black man and I walked in. Not that they’re feeling intimidated, but they’re uncomfortable. I don’t know what the fuck it is. It’s just weird.”

Anyway, Ashton Sanders is optimistic about the future. He remains inspired by the success of movies like ‘Moonlight’, ‘Hidden Figures’, and even ‘Get Out’. “I feel like there are a lot of stereotypical parts out there for black men, but I think we’re living in a time when barriers are being broken and it’s going to be such a pivotal, progressive time for art,” he says. “We’re living in a really dope time for Black cinema. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”




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