Chris Rock Was Wrong On This One

A day for all Americans.

I generally love Chris Rock and think his comedy and socio-political statements are right on. Sometimes the things he says are harsh in the way they sound, but nevertheless it is also often hard not to see the truth in what he is saying.

I have to disagree with him though on what he tweeted on the 4th of July, a tweet that has not surprisingly sparked a bit of controversy.

Here is what Rock tweeted:

Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks.

Clearly Rock is having some fun with the statement and I get that. But what I think is unnecessary and wrong is to say the 4th of July is a celebration for Whites only. Last I looked, Rock, like me, is an American. The 4th of July celebrates the independence of this country, regardless of the circumstance at that time for Blacks, Native people, women, or anyone else. It celebrates the birth of an imperfect nation, but one that has evolved and is still evolving and one that allows Rock to be the millionaire I presume him to be. Were it not for that independence, this nation, and what he is free to do today, regardless of how it started, would not be here as we know it. That is a cause for everybody to celebrate, not just White people since they were not the only ones who have benefited from the birth of this nation.

Again, I get that he was partially joking. But I also suspect he was not totally  being facetious. For the part of him that was not joking, I say to Rock, Blacks and other non-Whites have great reason to enjoy the 4th of July, because it began a process that has given us a lot to be thankful for, as imperfect as it was at its inception.

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5 thoughts on “Chris Rock Was Wrong On This One

  1. I thought it was a funny comment-a joke. Yes, it did hold some truth to it (and I think that’s what truly upsets people) but it didn’t bother me all that much. Perhaps next time he should just keep a joke like that amongst friends or on the stage.

    • Earnest Harris says:

      Well I am not one for censoring people so I think he has every right to say those things wherever. And as I said, the thing is I am a big Chris Rock fan. For the very reason that he shoots so straight and sometimes (well a lot of the time) makes people uncomfortable with his political and social commentary. So I got his point. I just think some people who may not see the sarcasm will take what he said though and support the notion that only Whites should celebrate Independence Day. I just have to disagree with him on this one.

      But I’m still a big fan of his. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Sam McKissic says:

    I think that Rock’s comment was completely valid. He was simply highlighting a fact that many people choose to ignore which is that people of color were not made free by America’s independence. It wasn’t a statement about who can celebrate it now but it was simply a reminder that this was and is an imperfect country in which we need to continue to strive for the equality desired by our forefathers for all citizens. Although the writer of this article is correct in saying that this country continues to grow and that we should all embrace that, it is important to realize that when American nostalgia overcomes us and we think back to “our” Independence, it is a white one.

    People were upset because they felt this comment divided us and made white people feel badly but that’s simply because they’re weren’t reading into the message. The statement isn’t unpatriotic or anti-white or even anti-American. It is the one of the best ways for a comedian such as Chris Rock to express his feelings about a country he loves that increasingly seems to think it is beyond race when it is not. It is not a statement about who is allowed to be proud of the country’s accomplishments and independence.

    Another way to look at this is the common celebration of Juneteenth or watching the the new year come begin in some African-American traditions. Every year I read the Emancipation Proclamation and it gives many people (black, white, brown, yellow, and blue) a feeling of accomplishment to know that this was one of the first steps towards creating rights for non-whites (women excluded). Unfortunately that’s not a reality. The proclamation actually only freed slaves in the Southern states which mean that only a small portion of slaves were set free by that historic piece of paper. Knowing that is important to understanding the history of this country and seeing how far we have come. It’s not going to stop me from celebrating the moral significance of such a document and such a move by President Lincoln and essentially pointing out historical facts isn’t going to stop black people from celebrating the forth of July. Pointing out these facts will do nothing but educate people and that is something this country is in desperate need of at this time.

    • Earnest Harris says:

      You make excellent points my friend. And I get what you are saying. The only area we seem to disagree on is that while you and some others can see deep meaning and insight in Rock’s tweet, I am not so sure we can be sure Rock really was thinking on the level you are. Comedians have a tough job of course, making commentary and jokes at the same time. But like with gay jokes, as done by Tracy Morgan, or the recent rape joke, by Daniel Tosh, seeing deep meaning in a joke can be very difficult. It is a fine line no doubt.

      Thanks for your response.

    • I agree with you. People are just upset that Chris spoke the truth. Speaking the truth is not very popular in this country nowadays.

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