Chris Rock: Racial Progress Really Means White Progress
An interview Chris Rock recently gave to New York Magazine demonstrates the comedian’s prescient views on race during a very reactionary time in the media landscape. During the interview, Rock pitches the journalistic report he would do if a network were to send him to Ferguson. (Please, someone send Chris Rock to Ferguson).
Network and cable news stations are probably not eager to be seen as treating Ferguson like a source for standup comedy. Nonetheless, Rock’s idea for a journalistic report in Ferguson is to ask only white people about their views on racial progress in America. No doubt that sounds like marginalizing black voices on a topic that is clearly about them. But Rock argues that racial progress really measures the extent to which white people have become less prejudiced.
He takes President Obama as his primary example:
“So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years.”
Rock explains that racial progress is the result of new generations of people who accept diversity more than their parents because they grow up around it. In his Big Think interview, signer/songwriter Wyclef Jean shares a similar view, that racial stigmas pass with new generations.
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