On Twitter, Mr Sock-it-to-the-Man Chris Rock is angry he’s been denied the opportunity to grow up in a mud hut in what is now Angola:
Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks
The powerful have made the elevation of Rock’s inept and untrustworthy relatives (the mocking of whom has made him rich) an impossible standard of justice. Detroit is in ruins. Hip hop has gone from coarse to bloodthirsty. And Chris bleats away in between tweets about the Knicks. On Independence Day. Well and safely removed, you can bet, from the ghetto blacks he lampoons. What a dick.
Could it be that Chris Rock doesn’t understand the nature of his success? That, after all this time, he still doesn’t get they joke? That he doesn’t understand the consequences of his observations?
(Upon having his epiphany, fellow millionaire minstrel Dave Chapelle fled to Africa to consult with Lauryn Hill. Ms Hill is probably the least funny person on earth–but one of the few black Americans to actually give Africa an honest try; Chapelle went as if to be exorcised of his talent, and it may have worked.)
I think that over time every good Chris Rock joke will come back to haunt him, if he only has the awareness to catch on. I recall his take on the hyped token Colin Powell from 1996:
He’s so busy taking exaggerated offense at white condescension he misses the real insight. Will Chris Rock ever acknowledge how comically wrong he was here? The irony–Chris bellows that despite this condescension white America would never elevate this man (Powell, who would be obscure if he were white; but “edgy” Chris ain’t going there!) to the presidency; and then along comes Barack Hussein Obama (who himself thought his political career would be derailed by 9/11). And what is the mantra? “Oh he speaks so well.” Rock mimicked the language of condescension perfectly, but understood it less–no mean feat–than the whites who originated it. They meant it. Rock missed it. That should be in the act. Imagine him pacing and shouting like he does, admitting:
“Not only did I get it wrong, but Barack Hussein Obama! Motherfuckin’ Hu-ssein, Oh-fucking-Bah-ma! Colin Powell just came off too normal! I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about or white people have just gone crazy!”
He nailed the critique of Obama before Obama, but poor Chris doesn’t know, because once Obama showed up Chris became one of the mewling patsies he excoriates.
It’s remarkable how universal is the convention that everything must be hedged by the myth of white racism and the denial of black agency. The right-thinker has to compartmentalize aspects of the black American condition in ways he wouldn’t when considering other questions, deliberately or subconsciously avoiding inferences he would be allowed if the question wasn’t so loaded. Segregation is key!
So when the right-thinker sees, for instance, racial disparity in the professions he can only see discrimination by employers. He forgets that five minutes before he was condemning (with even less authority) the unfair racial disparity in educational achievement! No matter; the existence of a great, stifled class of black professionals, milling about outside the gates, is presumed; just as universities are cut no slack for the sorry state of black and brown high school achievement.
A cynical progressive has to appreciate the durability of disparity–an endless source of demagogy. Even as the earnest among them search out the source of minority underachievement like explorers seeking the source of the Nile (they’re somewhere below pre-school by now; see Steve Sailer’s Stolen Generation) progressives are conceding nothing. Where there is black failure there is white malice. Anything less acknowledges black inadequacy. When that happens, the scam is up.
But the unsubtle and incurious easily adopt the habits of faith over logic. So it’s entirely possible that Chris Rock has been these many years chronicling black buffoonery yet taking it to be of no real consequence and anyone who says it is for a bigot! And because this attitude has been mandated by the convention of our dishonest age, Rock’s tepid half-truths pass for coruscating honesty.