There seems to be a growing trend in Hollywood of Black stars insisting that racism is no longer a major issue in America, but they would have a hard time selling those claims to comedian, actor and filmmaker Chris Rock.
Rock is no stranger to using his celebrity platform to speak out about racism, and he garnered national headlines when he started posting selfies every time the police pulled him over. Within roughly two months he had been pulled over three times.
Now, Rock is sharing his thoughts about America’s race issues once again, as the nation witnesses the aftermath of the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man who received a fatal spinal injury while in police custody.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Rock touched on several race related topics ranging from the recent charges against the cops involved in Gray’s death, to revisiting those frequent stops by police.
“I’ve always been stopped by the cops,” Rock explained. “Cops stop Black guys who drive nice cars.”
Statements like these have underscored national discussions as race issues and race relations have finally obtained a secure place in the news hole. But Rock was quick to explain that these occurrences aren’t new—it’s simply the first time they haven’t been ignored in mainstream media.
“It’s not that it’s gotten worse, it’s just that it’s a part of the 24-hour news cycle,” he said before pointing out that white youth rarely have to deal with the same issues.
Studies have proven that white youth are just as likely to be guilty of the same infractions that so often land their Black counterparts behind bars or in an early grave at the hands of the police, yet they rarely face such severe consequences.
“What’s weird is that this never happens to white kids,” Rock adds. “There’s no evidence that white youngsters are any less belligerent, you know? We can go to any Wall Street bar and they are way bigger assholes than in any other Black bar. But will I see cops stop shooting Black kids in my lifetime? Probably not.”
Rock admits that he also didn’t expect to see officers charged in Gray’s death. He explained, however, that he isn’t exactly jumping for joy just yet.
“I am kinda surprised, and you know, unfortunately it may have something to do with the Black mayor and the Black police chief and all that stuff,” Rock said. “But, hey, charged and convicted are different—so we’ll see.”
What he is sure of, however, is the sense of relief he feels knowing he has two girls rather than two boys in country where Black men seem to have targets on their backs.
“Girls have their own things to worry about, but [getting beat up by the police] is just not a thing that generally happens to girls,” he continued.
While it should be noted that police brutality does impact Black women as well, it is a fair argument that they aren’t typically targeted as much as their male counterparts.
With race relations in America on what seems to be a steady decline, there has also been a lot of criticism and blame placed on the country’s first Black president. However, Rock doesn’t agree with the criticism. He referred to Obama as a “great” president and explained that he was never going to have the power to “solve America,” as so many expected him to do.