OSCAR nominee Morgan Freeman has discovered why he loves his home state of Mississippi so much - it's less racist than most other places in America.

The actor grew up in racial segregation in the Delta region, which was once considered the heartland of American racism, but he insists he never felt oppression until he moved away.

And now he has fond memories of his childhood, despite the fact he wasn't allowed to attend certain clubs and had to sit on the balcony of his local cinema because only whites were allowed downstairs.

He says, "It can't bother you if that's the way life is. If you were raised up in Africa and you ate worms it wouldn't bother you, would it? Same thing.

"I wasn't thinking about rising up and going up to the Paramount and demanding to be let in to the ground floor. I just wanted to go to the movies."

Freeman admits he once dreamed of getting far away from Mississippi, but now he lives there and owns a blues bar and restaurant in Clarksdale.

He admits the state is still one of the most friendly places on earth, despite it's dubious reputation.

He adds, "I grew up in a segregated society that was purposely, obviously, openly segregated. I wasn't given any BS about anything else and I went up to the north and you see it and it's insidious... You want to think you're free-er but you're not."

27/02/2005 21:12