Remember that time the Internet kind of lost its shit because Meryl Streep was quoted as saying something
kind of really stupid? Namely, that "we're all Africans, really"? Well as it turns out, that's not what she said in full, and the Internet maybe conflated Streep's "misrepresentated" quote with the racist drivel of Charlotte Rampling. However the full quote, corrected by an article on Mashable, is no more intelligible.
This all started at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this month during a panel led by Streep, jury president. When the all-white panel was addressed with a question about diversity, Streep reportedly seized the opportunity to answer this question to the best of her ability. Part of her response did indeed include the sound bite, "We're all Africans, really." I don't know what she was actually trying to drive at, but here's the response in full. Per Mashable:
CORRECTION: Meryl Streep’s “We’re all Africans, really” comment was a direct response to a question about Arab and African films, not a response to questions about the Berlinale Film Festival’s all white jury, as the article and headline originally suggested. A recording of the panel shows that Streep’s original comments were misrepresented in subsequent reports.
At the panel, a reporter from Egypt spoke about how the festival had a film “representing Tunisia, the Arab world and Africa in the main competition” and followed that up with a question for Streep: "How do you see this part of the world? And is it easy for you to understand that culture? And are you following any of the Arab movies?”
This was Streep’s response.
“Yes, in fact I’ve just seen a film called Theeb, which I loved. I saw Timbuktu recently … I don’t know very much about, honestly, about the Middle East, and yet I’ve played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures. The thing that I notice is that we’re all, there is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture. And, after all, we’re all from Africa originally. We’re all Berliners, we’re all Africans, really."
As Jezebel points out, this clarification comes some weeks since the original story ran, and it's unclear what prompted the correction. (Perhaps the wrath of a scorned Meryl?) Is this a better response? Maybe not. In any event, maybe it's time white actors take a break from commenting on Hollywood's diversity problem for a minute?