Chris Rock bashed Black people in a lazy Netflix special

Chris Rock blasted the jokes made by Black people in his new Netflix special Selective Outrage.

This was disappointing to see, if not surprising. I love a good laugh as much as the next person and understand the importance of sometimes not taking yourself too seriously. However, there is a big difference between that – and permanent harmful comments.

Addressing Will Smith’s infamous slap at the Oscars last year, Rock referred to the Smiths’ marital issues which led to Jada’s relationship with young rapper August Alsina.

“Everybody called him (Will Smith) a jerk… but he chose to beat me. You know what my parents taught me? ‘Don’t fight in front of white people’,” Rock said before dropping his microphone and ending the show with a stern look.

This conclusion that Will was morally deficient for attacking him “in front of white people” doesn’t hold up when you consider that just before the Oscars slap, he made an unwarranted joke about Jada’s alopecia medical condition in front of an audience. of mostly white people. For many years the rock has been pressing down on the Black people in front of a large number of white people.

How do these examples differ from “fighting in front of white people”?

Plus, it’s hard to forget that Rock, 58, walked away and had white comedians use the N-word in front of him in a resurfaced clip in 2018, losing a lot of fan respect in the process. The conversation, between Rock with Louis CK, Ricky Gervais and Jerry Seinfeld, was broadcast during a television special on HBO, in 2011.

Rock went on to mock Meghan Markle and Harry’s suggestion that racism is at the heart of the royal family, questioning the belief that the Duchess of Sussex was a victim of discrimination, adding that she was dealing with “i- law ** *”.

The comedian further emphasized the irony of Markle willingly marrying into a racist institution while claiming he didn’t know her history, while complaining about how she was treated.

“A dumb action because she did not know anything. (…) You did not Google this? It is the royal family – they are the original races,” he said. “They brought colonialism. They are the OGs. That’s like marrying into the Budweiser family and saying ‘they drink a lot’.. Shark Tank (American business reality television series)”.


Rock further described Meghan’s situation as a “black girl trying to be adopted by her white in-laws”, adding that this is not as difficult as a white girl trying to be adopted by her Black in-laws. is true in the context of a pervasive white power structure., Plus, why oversimplify the collective experiences of Black women for comedic value?

On the one hand, Rock admits that the royal institution is steeped in racism, but then he clarifies the impact it will have on a woman of color.

For the record, I also doubt that Meghan joined the royal family without knowing something about the institution, as do most reasonable people. There’s also a lot of confusion about the couple’s stance on race, to be honest. However, Rock’s humor about him missed the mark.

Misogyny and sexism have always thrived in the entertainment industries. Comedy is an area where female comics have been elevated, but it has also been a space where misogynoir is rampant.

Although Rock took a stand for women’s rights, talked about the “power” of female beauty, showed love for his daughters and praised famous Black women like Beyonce, it would be strange not to consider that there is a problem with Rock with black women. that should be examined.

Speaking of Jada Pinkett Smith, Rock claimed she tried to force him to quit hosting the Oscars in 2016 because her husband didn’t get a Best Actor nomination … and he looked really pissed about that.

In addition, he referred to her as a “slut” and a “predator” to viewers in his hometown of Baltimore, where the special was filmed. Again: was this necessary?

It’s telling that even though Will beat him after making fun of Jada’s alopecia, Rock was able to focus on Jada again. It’s like he couldn’t help himself. Sounds like a misogynist. Does Rock have a problem with a Black woman having sexual agency?

Maybe it does. After all, his assessment of the Kardashians—a wealthy, white family that exudes sexual agency—was extremely vocal.

“The Kardashians are inclusive. They love Black people more than Black people,” Rock said, implying that the family includes all kinds of characters as long as they meet the “Black” criteria like his one-time collaborator Kanye West, whom he branded on him. “bipolar rapper”, “crazy basketball player” Lamar Odom.

(Getty Images for Ralph Lauren)

Something about those jokes is heartwarming, in the context of drug addiction issues within Black communities and the fact that Black people are more likely to develop chronic mental health conditions due to factors including racial trauma, poverty and inadequate health care. The same is true in the UK. Maybe Rock is insulated from that specific reality because he’s rich and part of the establishment he’s now reluctant to criticize — but it’s something millions of people are grappling with.

I didn’t laugh at any of Rock’s specials because I found a lot of it lazy and lacking empathy for Black people. The special missed an opportunity to deliver some clever comedy which I believe it is capable of. And I say this as having enjoyed other aspects of his previous projects including Everyone hates Chris, Death At A Funeral and the Madagascar a series of films.

Rock’s regular failures in the race are unfortunate. He is an inspiration to many Black people, and has campaigned against racial profiling of Black communities. He spoke about the racism he faces “despite being famous”. Even his Good Hair The documentary, while not perfect, was a groundbreaking attempt to highlight the struggles black women face in and around the beauty industry.

Sometimes the good humor cuts close to the bone, giving it the ability to infuriate, shake and transform. He can address an audience by challenging their stance on issues, despite themselves, and making them question opinions.

The best kind of comedy is relatable to the audience and not honest. However, Rock’s position felt like an uneasy man commenting in an echo chamber. Although he insisted he was “not a victim”, the comedian had tears in his eyes and appeared to be seeking sympathy and affection from the crowd – at the expense of Black people – nonetheless.

This is not black and white or as simple as, “the special thing was crap, so let’s cancel the guy” – that’s not what I’m saying. There is scope for him to do some reflection and healing that he clearly needs, to grow and come out better next time.

After perhaps examining his own optional outrage and how that affects his world views.

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