Chris Rock has interesting thoughts on class inequality & race relations

Chris Rock

Chris Rock has a ginormous interview in NY Mag to promote his new project, Top Five. Rock directs and stars alongside Rosario Dawson and Adam Sandler. He says the movie “feels like a Richard Linklater movie” with “a sprinkle of Nora Ephron in there.” It’s one of those walk-and-talk/Before Sunrise movies, sort of like what Chris Evans was aiming for with his recent TIFF sale. Or so I assume. I wonder if Rock’s movie will have an edgy, wicked spin or if he’ll play it safe. Dude is turning 50 next year. Despite his recent, semi-controversial SNL monologue, Rock isn’t as ascerbic as he used to be (which is fine – he’s still funny). We’ll see what happens.

This interview is pretty epic. I’m only skimming the surface of the full interview, and Rock is sharp-witted as always. He knows how to use his comedic skills to expose the truth of what people think (and are too afraid to say out loud) about important issues. Take it away, Rock:

Class inequality is real: “Oh, people don’t even know. If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets. If the average person could see the Virgin Airlines first-class lounge1, they’d go, ‘What? What? This is food, and it’s free, and they … what? Massage? Are you kidding me?'”

On political correctness: “It’s back stronger than ever. I don’t pay that much attention to it. I mean, you don’t want to p*ss off the people that are paying you, obviously, but otherwise I’ve just been really good at ignoring it. Honestly, it’s not that people were offended by what I said [on SNL]. They get offended by how much fun I appear to be having while saying it. Half of it’s because they think they can hurt comedians.”

He doesn’t tour colleges because they’re “conservative”: “Not in their political views but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody. Kids raised on a culture of ‘We’re not going to keep score in the game because we don’t want anybody to lose.’ Or just ignoring race to a fault. You can’t say ‘the black kid over there.’ No, it’s ‘the guy with the red shoes.’ You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive … This is not as much fun as it used to be. I remember talking to George Carlin before he died and him saying the exact same thing.”

On racial progress in America: “Grown people, people over 30, they’re not changing. But you’ve got kids growing up. I mean, I almost cry every day. I drop my kids off and watch them in the school with all these mostly white kids, and I got to tell you, I drill them every day: Did anything happen today? Did anybody say anything? They look at me like I am crazy. It’s partly generational, but it’s also my kids grew up not only with a black president but with a black secretary of State, a black joint chief of staff, a black attorney general. My children are going to be the first black children in the history of America to actually have the benefit of the doubt of just being moral, intelligent people.”

His views on race relations: “Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before. 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. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, ‘Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.’ It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.”

On those Bill Cosby allegations: “I don’t know what to say. What do you say? I hope it’s not true. That’s all you can say. I really do. I grew up on Cosby. I love Cosby, and I just hope it’s not true. It’s a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin, we lost Joan [Rivers], and we kind of lost Cosby.”

Can he stay edgy at age 50? “I probably can’t, but it’s okay. I didn’t recall a lack of edge in George Carlin. Joan didn’t seem to have calmed down at all. I don’t think they were thinking about edge. I think they were just thinking about, How am I going to be funny? It’s funny first.”

[From Vulture]

There’s a ton more where that came from including Rock’s theory on comedy being the great equalizer when it comes to racism and sexism. He discusses how Bill Murray’s Lost in Translation character embodies “what it feels like to be black and rich.” Rock also talks about the careers and deaths of Joan Rivers and Robin Williams. I’m not wild about how Rock ducked around the Bill Cosby mess in this interview, but there’s not much he could say about the matter. A lot of people (comedians especially) are still in shock about Cosby, but those Cosby stories are not new. It’s tough.

Rock covered a lot of profound ground in this interview. It took a few readings (for me) to grasp everything he says about race relations (the Ike and Tina metaphor could be read a few ways), but Rock makes so much sense. The dude gets it.

Chris Rock

Chris Rock

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN

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141 Responses to “Chris Rock has interesting thoughts on class inequality & race relations”

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  1. Abbott says:

    The whole interview is worth a read, even though it took me a good 30 minutes and I read the entire thing hearing Chris Rock’s voice.

    • Erinn says:

      I read these snippets in his voice as well. Glad I’m not the only one. I love when that happens though, because it generally means that it doesn’t seem like it’s super parsed or anything. It sounds pretty definite that he really holds these thoughts, and I think that’s what makes an interview great. There are some that I’ve read of actresses/celebs that just don’t sound like them at all. PR regurgitated crap, and it shows when that happens.

    • BeBeA says:

      Haha , same for me !

    • HappyMom says:

      Oh my god-me too. I’m glad I’m not the only one. He does have such a distinctive voice, doesn’t he? Or maybe it’s because my kids were just playing those Madagascar movies endlessly during our week long car trip over Thanksgiving . . .

      • QQ says:

        Unpopular Opinion; I HATE his comedy and Stand up and the Yelly- wait for the Punchline! Voice

        but I Always Find his interviews fascinatingly good as reads… i just wanna READ him and Not hear him

    • Ginger says:


    • Pinky says:

      Read the whole thing too. He’s so spot on in his observations. Such an insightful person, let alone comedian. Like the posters wrote below, I loved Everybody Hates Chris. It had his sensibility and spoke truthfully about race, while cloaking that honesty in humor. More people in positions of power like Rock, please!

      And since I have the floor…I would like for every black (and white/Asian/any other ethnicity) player on a professional sports team to do the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” pose at their games (if they believe an injustice occurred–or even if they just believe injustice exists in the way this country and its laws and its law enforcement treats people of color). Or to walk off the court/field/diamond/track, etc., and refuse to play for a few games in an act of protest. It’s time the people (men) with power and influence in the black community (athletes and musicians) take a united stand (in peaceful protest that very well might hurt their “owners’ ” wallets–and sadly, yes, 99% of their “owners” are white) in order to bring this discussion to the fore and make their “owners” take a stand and either unite behind them or lose their shirts. Because really, only “owners” have power to make changes happen in America. Doesn’t happen in a vacuum and a president can’t do it all by his (can’t include “her” yet) lonesome.

  2. Flahoola says:

    Brutally honest, and in the best way possible!

  3. SamiHami says:

    He makes some really insightful, interesting points. Not what I expected when I clicked on this story!

    • Penelope says:

      You must not be very familiar with Chris Rock– he is almost always incredibly interesting, insightful, and thoughtful. Love him.

  4. Frida_K says:

    “The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.”

    I love what he says about his children–such a proud dad, he touches my heart–and the whole comment, in and of itself, is interesting and true probably on several levels.

    Interesting guy, Mr. Rock. Funny, too.

    • Esmom says:

      +1 to everything you said. His remarks about his kids brought a tear to my eye.

    • doofus says:

      RE: the kids…

      I was just noticing that they’re all wearing Doc Marten boots?! awesome.

      and I love how each of them is dressed so…”wacky” is a good word, I guess…eclectic? very kid-like and it’s cute! the youngest looks SO happy to be there!

      • Cricket says:

        +1! love the faux fur boa! too cute!

        I loved what he said about his kids and his observations of their school. My hope is that we all see people as who they are not what color they are. As much progress that is made, hopefully fewer steps will be backwards..

      • Suzanne says:

        I’d be happy too if my daddy was one of the richest black comics in the country!
        They’ll never know what its like to want for anything…so why wouldn’t they be tolerant of whites. They have more than most whites or blacks! I like Chris…think he’s very funny and very bright. Good for him. Good for his family too!

  5. scout says:

    I believe what he says on “On racial progress in America”. Kids are very different and open now, much more than their parents’ generation. I hope for better future! 🙂

    • theoriginalbellaluna says:

      Not to be contrary, but as the mother of two generations (we had an unplanned miracle), one of which is multi-ethnic, I can say from experience this is untrue.

      Mum never raised me to see color, but to see the person inside. I’ve raised mine the same way.

      My two elder children didn’t start self-identifying themselves in terms of color until middle/high school, based on those around them.

      It’s not a generational thing; it’s a human being thing.

  6. Kiddo says:

    So true and a refreshing perspective.

  7. kri says:

    I think he makes some great points-he is so damn smart, really. I loved “Everybody Hates Chris”, and I’m a fan. I like his honesty and his humor.

  8. krastins says:

    “Or just ignoring race to a fault. You can’t say ‘the black kid over there.’ No, it’s ‘the guy with the red shoes.’ ”

    I actually don’t mind this, especially with kids growing up now. In his view it “erases” the problem with race, but IMO I feel like this may help a generation look at people with different skin color as just another person. We can visually see that some people look different than we do, and instead of labeling that person by their race some choose to leave it out all together, including myself. But maybe it’s different from the outside looking in.

    • Amy says:

      I think the reality to this though, and maybe this is something that will just need to grow in the world, as in when these children are adults they will better be able to live that way.

      But I think honestly not saying anything doesn’t change it. A child WILL know they’re black. Not necessarilly as a child (all children are innocent) but when you grow up…trust me the world will let them know they’re black. I think sometimes the belief that if you don’t mention it then no one will be forced to think of it just reveals more of the institution and subliminal ignorance of racism.

      • Lucinda says:

        I tend to agree with Rock that it’s silly you won’t use skin color as a descriptor to point out someone. If I’m in a crowd of mostly white people, and I want to point out something that happens to be about the one black person in the crowd, I’m going to say “that black guy” over there. Just like when watching a sport where the team is predominately black, if I notice something about the white guy, I say “the white guy.” It makes it easier to pick out that person. For me it’s no different than saying the blonde or the gal with the big hair or the kid with the red shoes. I pick out the most obvious defining factor.

        There is a difference though. My mom used to tell me stories about people that came to her door and if they were not white, she would ALWAYS tell me their race. In that case, where I’m not seeing the person and their race has nothing to do with the story, it’s irrelevant to mention it. But for her, it was completely relevant because their race always affected her reaction to them. if they were black and nice to her, she would go on about how surprised she was. If they were mean and black, that just confirmed what she already knew about black people (or whatever race they happened to be). That’s when mentioning race really is a problem.

      • Chris says:

        @Lucinda, I have the same experience with my mom. She went to the DMV the other day and wouldn’t you know, a “nice, competent, black woman” helped her with her forms. Nice, competent, AND Black!?!? Knock me over with a feather! I try to explain to her how her comment is racist, but she doesn’t see it that way. What can you do? Glad my child will never hear me talk like that. So yeah, making progress white people.

      • CC says:

        Yea, the black woman part does seem like an overkill.

        I’d be mostly surprised about a nice, competent employee at a DMV (or any public/government service).

        Then again, when it comes to profiling people, women as a whole went through this (and at top exec level, still are).

        Personally, I don’t care if my being a woman is singled out. I am, after all, the only woman out of 17 guys in a construction-related office environment. It is the thing that’s easier to single me out as, out of all the other colleagues. Not expecting anyone to describe my clothes or other physical characteristics when the most obvious difference between myself and them is my gender. I think the best I can do to offset the gender issue is by being competent and never bringing gender into it.

    • HappyMom says:

      When one of my kids was in kindergarten they came home and were relaying a story about another child at school. Trying to figure out which little boy it was, I said “Oh, the Asian kid?” And my son said “I don’t know. He didn’t tell me.”

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        LOL I love it. Kids really do not care about race or gender until somebody teaches them to. Sadly, at some point, somebody will.

      • Harryg says:

        I love that.

      • word says:

        @ littlemissnaughty

        It depends where you were raised. I was made fun of in Kindergarten and all of grade school and most of high school because I was one of the only non-Whites in my class. It was not fun…those kids were 5 and 6 years old when they started, so kids do care about race. I grew up in a different time I guess, though I’m still young. Kids now a days are better, but they are still getting bullied…and these kids are being raised by people of my generation (who still hold racist mindsets).

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        At 5 or 6, they had most likely seen adults’ racist attitudes though. As you said, some kids today “are being raised by people … who still hold racist mindsets”. I’m saying kids do not care as long as nobody teaches them that race is a thing, that gender matters etc. Yes, they might see that somebody looks different than they do or that this boy has two moms or whatever but if you explain differences without judgment, they will most likely accept “different” as perfectly fine and not “abnormal” or “less”.

      • word says:

        @ littlemissnaughty

        It pretty much comes down to good parenting. If parents don’t use racist language, their kids won’t use it either.

      • Yup, Me says:

        Kids are most definitely following what they are being taught at home. Unfortunately, white parents often make the mistake of thinking that by saying nothing they aren’t passing along racist attitudes or perspectives. What that does, though, is the opposite of what parents are hoping to do. It takes deliberate, open, and frank conversations to teach kids inclusion.

        The book Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman has a great chapter on it (and other great chapters, as well).

        This article is also a good read:

      • Rusty machine says:


      • lrm says:

        My child used to refer to other kids by their shirt color, instinctively. And sometimes, their shirts were black….which didn’t always match up but sometimes did. And I was always a bit anxious b/c of the whole PC thing at the park. Even if I am not into it, I know others will respond judging and annoying.
        But yea, he’d say ‘the blue kid, the yellow kid, the red kid’ etc.

        That said, Chris Rock’s comedy re: women isn’t all that stellar, from the material I’ve seen over the years. He has daughters-but he does do a lot of stereotypical women material. Like how women will embarrass yo u in public b/c they know you won’t hit them, as a man. So, it’s not surprising that he’s not outraged about cosby, making it sound like it’s a one woman-one man ‘he said, she said’ kind of situation. Though, I do understand his position in an interview, to some extent. But Hannibal Burgess didn’t mind bringing it up.

      • lrm says:

        My child used to refer to other kids by their shirt color, instinctively. And sometimes, their shirts were black….which didn’t always match up but sometimes did. And I was always a bit anxious b/c of the whole PC thing at the park. Even if I am not into it, I know others will respond judging and annoying.
        But yea, he’d say ‘the blue kid, the yellow kid, the red kid’ etc.

        That said, Chris Rock’s comedy re: women isn’t all that stellar, from the material I’ve seen over the years. He has daughters-but he does do a lot of stereotypical women material. Like how women will embarrass yo u in public b/c they know you won’t hit them, as a man. So, it’s not surprising that he’s not outraged about cosby, making it sound like it’s a one woman-one man ‘he said, she said’ kind of situation. Though, I do understand his position in an interview, to some extent. But Hannibal Burgess didn’t mind bringing it up.

    • Santia says:

      I wish this were true. My son was told — in pre-school — that he couldn’t play with a group of kids because he had “different skin.” Kids definitely see color. Thankfully, as he’s gotten older and the kids have learned to filter themselves better, he doesn’t get it as much anymore. All in all though, I do see progress.

      • M says:

        That is so sad! I do think it is not practical to think kids won’t see differences but to not give too much attention to them. At the same time nip those sort of things in the bud. My boys have red hair so I’ve sprinkled in comments like “how would you feel if someone thought you were a certain way because your hair is different?” My 4-yr-old just noticed (ie commented) that his best friend has dark skin. I said “yep- and you have light skin”. Not sure the perfect way to react except to gently check in with them. My 4-yr-old also comments on other differences (who is short, has glasses, long hair, etc). My job isn’t to make them not see color but to make sure they do not make any connections or assumptions.

      • Peppa says:

        That’s terrible. I blame it on parenting because kids parrot what they see and hear. I used to be a preschool teacher, and I had a coworker tell me that once a three year old girl threw blocks and told a little boy he needed to go away and he didn’t belong there because he was black. When she told the parents, they got nasty and defensive. She said that told her right away where the child learned that behavior.

      • Dolce crema says:

        Well I’ve also seen appearance used as an excuse when they want to exclude someone. It happened to my friends child who has special needs. They invited a girl over to play and the girl started to prefer the younger brother who is neuro-typical (no special needs) and said something like “only the kids with blonde hair can play in the tent,” to exclude the special needs child. This was around age 5.

    • LadySlippers says:

      My children and children of friends always used hair colour as their descriptor of choice. ‘See the person with brown/yellow/black hair Mama?’ was often heard in my house. It honestly wasn’t something they heard from me. They did notice skin colour but to them it was relegated to the same importance as any other colour on a person — almost irrelevant (now this is very much me).

      However, they also grew up surrounded by people of colour as they were Navy brats. When we moved to the Midwest, my daughter was taken aback by her very white school — that was weird in her eyes. So I think it comes down to both parenting styles AND environment. If colour is seen as normal (which it is) then kids will view it as just another thing, not as THE thing that unites or divides us.

  9. prairiechick says:

    What he described as the culture on college campuses is NOT conservative. That’s just weird to say. Also, while I can see his viewpoint as a wealthy, educated black today, he is absolving an entire race from all responsibility regarding race relations, regardless of their behavior. It’s a strange interview.

    • Kiddo says:

      No he’s really not. What he says in essence is that it’s wrong to say look how far black people have come in race relations, when really, it is all about the extent to where white people have come. Black people haven’t been holding themselves down in society for so many years, white people have kept them there. As the attitudes change, the future gets better for everyone. Of course that is really paraphrasing, but that’s the gist I took away from it. If someone looks down on you, how can you be an equal in any type of relations? You have to be thought of as an equal first.

      • Kitten says:


        The point isn’t to absolve black people of any responsibility, the point is to acknowledge the foundation of repression that formed the dichotomy between white and black that exists today.

        In the larger context of his interview, it’s clear that he takes his parenting responsibilities very seriously and he wants to raise happy, healthy kids who will become productive members of society. He’s doing his part.

      • starrywonder says:

        Kiddo you are awesome as always and that is exactly what he means. Race relations improving is kind of an oxymoron

      • Pinky says:

        THANK you!

      • Alex says:

        Spot on with this comment.
        Read this interview yesterday and I was floored by it. So many great points on a wide range of topics. So kudos to Chris Rock for being candid

      • delia says:

        College campuses tend to have a conservative vibe because of the overly politically correct attitudes to the point where things can’t even be discussed openly because it’s offending this person or that. College campuses should be a bastion of free speech and lively debate but in reality censorship prevails,often due to a majority opinion that something is too offensive to even bring up. This is a pretty common sentiment – that with youthful passion can come a complete disregard for dissenting opinion.

        As for his race points- he’s stating basic truths. Black peoples capacity and capability hasn’t change or progressed. White society’s willingness to make room at the table for them institutionally and socially is where the progress was made.

      • grimmsfairytale says:

        @ kiddo
        This! To say black people (or any oppressed group) are really progressing passed their oppression is disingenuous. The people holding the power are the ones that need to progress. It isn’t embarrassing to say white people have become more progressive.
        Also, if you’ve been to a college campus, you have most probably encountered “liberal conservativism” wherein the campus is liberal in political views, but everyone will go out if their way not to offend anyone, and put trigger warnings in class descriptions. It isnt even about not offending PEOPLE, it’s about not offending their ideas. Ideas are not people. You should be able to criticize an epistemology or the result of an epistemology.

      • The Original G says:

        @prairiechick. What is strange is you basically saying black people fare at fault for being victims of racism and discrimination.

      • Peppa says:

        This. Exactly.

      • I Choose Me says:

        Nail meet head!

      • Dallas says:

        @Kiddo, who stated, “Black people haven’t been holding themselves down in society for so many years, white people have kept them there.” Can you please explain to me how the “white” man has kept the black man down.

    • Estella says:

      Agree 100% prairiechick. Kudos for expressing a differing opinion from the majority.

    • Amy says:

      You can see his viewpoint as a wealthy educated black man?

      So what would you be seeing if he was not wealthy?

      Also you really think his words are about ‘absolving’ blacks of all responsibility? That’s funny.

    • Zoe says:

      prairiechick- What do you think black people need to take responsibility for in terms of racism?

    • Marigold says:

      The word conservative has a couple meanings. It sounds like you don’t know the definition of the one he’s using. And, if even for a minute, you think black people played a part, for which they have been absolved, in their own repression, I’m guessing you need more than a dictionary in your life.

    • lrm says:

      Actually, PC is definitely conservative in my view. That’s been the strangest thing to me, now that i’m in my 40’s and this over the top PC stuff also feels suffocating and narrow minded. I think rock is saying i’ts not healthy for comediens or in general, and I agree with him. It becomes about policing one’s thoughts, NOT transforming thoughts into positive social action. It’s not real change; it’s orchestrated behavior. It may help on the surface, but also has negative aspects, such as policing one another’s thoughts and attitudes, concerned so much about correcting others and less on oneself. Plus, it becomes a preaching to the choir circle jerk most of the time, in my experience. Self righteous isn’t pretty, no matter who’s wearing it, and I find PC mindset to often include self righteous.

      • Trashaddict says:

        This. I find free speech being further and further squelched, particularly in the work place. So just because someone pays you for your labor they have a right to determine what you can and cannot say out loud? Our work place sent out a directive about accepted behaviors and not “rolling one’s eyes,” to the point of giving in to some really ludicrous demands by our clients. If we don’t point out the absurd in our daily lives, how are the people perpetrating absurdities going to realize how crazy they are behaving? The flip side is responsibility, common sense, and politeness – my parents taught me respect for others fundamentally.
        The “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture is not doing damage to anyone’s egos or injuring anyone. And is a reprise of the black power salute at the Olympics decades ago. It is something that needed to be expressed in the public forum. So keep pointing out the absurd, people – or you will lose the voice to say anything at all.
        George Carlin, RIP. Chris Rock, thank you.

    • Dolce crema says:

      There are so many uses for the word conservative but I agree with you that it didn’t make sense there at all. I think maybe he should say “my comedy is too radical for campuses”

      • delia says:

        His use of conservative is appropriate- to be intent on preserving existing conditions – apply that to overly pc minded kids who refuse to even hear a dissenting pov and that’s what cr is talking about.

  10. Uzi says:

    Have always loved Chris Rock, and love him even more after reading this!
    Thanks for the thought-provoking post…

  11. someonestolemyname says:

    I love several parts of his interview.

    But…for some reason I have never found Chris Rock funny.
    My Friends shake their heads and walk away dismayed when I tell them that ……hahaha

    • Renee says:

      I understand…not because I don’t find Chris Rock funny, but because I feel the same way about Dave Chapelle and people always look at me as if I am crazy when I disclose this.

      • someonestolemyname says:

        Ha. I get your feeling totally.

        I sometimes wish I could see or feel the funny in Chris as my friends do, but it just doesn’t register with me for some reason.

    • Erinn says:

      I get that too. Sometimes I find him SUPER funny. But more often than not I’m just kind of ‘meh’ with his humor. I really like him as a person though — it’s just not always my kind of jokes, I guess. Still think he’d be fun to hang out with though.

      • QQ says:

        Im like that about him too, Not Chappelle (his face alone makes me start to smile) But Chris? i Can go a whole comedy special like 😑 this dude isn’t funny he is just loud! but as i said Upthread LOVE reading his interviews cause his mind is like a steel trap

    • Santia says:

      I was like that with Eddie Murphy in his hey-day. Not everything/everyone is for everyone.

  12. LAK says:

    I love Chris Rock.

  13. Marie-France says:

    I love Chris Rock and always have. I think he is brilliant at getting peoples attention on relevant matters without being boring, aggressive or pretentious. I agree 100% on his comment about how the world has changed. My children are 9 and 11 and when I commented on how great it is that the president of America is (half) black, they just looked at me shredding their shoulders. That do not even get the point which is amazing. I live in Europe and my father is half black while my mother is white so I grew up with people wanting to label me all the time. You really just want to be yourself: a mix of race, culture and spirit. Also agree on the Cosby comment. Sorry. Of course, I believe the women, there´s is no doubt in my mind that he is guilty. But I´m clinging to the memories of him being “the perfect dad” because it meant so much to me growing up.

    • Marie-France says:

      Obviously it should be “shrugging” their shoulders and “they” do not even get the point. And while thinking of Cliff Huxtable as the perfect dad, I hope that Bill Cosby goes to jail…

      • Debbie says:

        I see his point in Cosby and don’t think he is wrong in what he is saying. I agree, I 10000% believe those women, I think Bill Cosby is a rapist but this is the first I’m hearing about it and it’s also the first time I’m looking at Bill Cosby and not seeing doctor Huxtable. It’s not logical or rational but for my entire childhood he was the loveable dad, that thought Theo lessons, as much as I believe those women it is difficult to seperate who he really is and who I “knew” from age 4.

    • LAK says:

      I was going to add say the same thing about Bill Cosby.

      Considering how persuasive he’s been at being our collective cuddly dad metaphorically speaking, it’s pretty shocking to find out that he was actually creepy and criminal dad.

      A nightmare disguised as a lovely, embracing, comforting dream.

      I am in disbelief about it. I am shocked about it. And I hope they find a way to put him in jail.

      • lucy2 says:

        In Aisha Tyler’s recent podcast she said pretty much the same thing too. I think she said she felt duped by the image he’d created. It has to be even harder for younger comedians who looked up to him professionally and possibly know him personally, to come to terms with who he really is.

      • Cindy says:

        A true wolf in sheep’s clothing. Scary. Life is so sh*tty sometimes. (Okay, sh*tty a lot).

    • Peppa says:

      Did anyone see Jill Scott’s tweet about Cosby? Basically that she believes facts and not speculation, and that the media was trying to destroy his legacy. I think so many people, in the public AND in the industry feel so duped. I think a lot of people saw him as a trail blazer for black entertainers, and this wholesome dad figure, therefor they just refuse to believe he is a bad man.

    • Wilma says:

      What I liked about his comments on Cosby is that he really articulates the kind of mourning you have to do when someone you looked up to isn’t as wonderful as you thought he was. It’s obvious Chris Rock believes the allegations because he feels that Cosby is now dead to him.

  14. Estella says:

    I can’t say that I agree with all of his points (but maybe that’s my white privilege showing) though I do generally like Chris Rock and find him harmless.

    • Santia says:

      I don’t want him to be “harmless.” I want him to invoke thought and conversation on these serious issues! I really loved his hair documentary because it really tackled latent biases that people have about race and beauty. And he’s doing the same here.

  15. notpretentious says:

    I have to say that what he said is such a refreshing perspective on race relations in America. I can relate to having a child that attends a predominantly white school, and I find myself asking her questions like he does with his kids. The kids, mostly, are sweet, but she has been told before by one boy that she would be his girlfriend, except she was the wrong color, lol. The parents are still teaching division it appears. Why can’t we just let them make their own decisions about people?

    • Estella says:

      It is sad that this is true and sometimes even the school is the culprit. My friend’s daughter came home from school one day asking what an African-American is (her school was celebrating Black History month). She is one of two Black children in her class and had thus far never been judged or viewed herself by her different skin color.

      • lrm says:

        Well, that’s interesting. And also, AA’s are 12% of the US demographic, so 2 in a class of 20 kids is about right. I remember, when living in east africa for a few years, sometimes in remote areas kids would freak out b/c they’d never seen white skin. True story!

      • LadySlippers says:


        Living in Japan was a wake-up call for me for a variety of reasons too. Children would stare at us of European heritage as we were the first non-Asian people they had ever seen. And I never lost my ‘otherness’ feeling — even after 3 years.

    • Milena says:

      Wow. What was your daughter’s response to that? How did you discuss it with her when she told you?

      • notpretentious says:

        Well, my response was this. I told her that he is only responding to what he has been taught. And then she told me something that really surprised me. She said that she was not a black person. She has this honey colored skin and light golden brown hair that goes platinum over the summer. We are not mixed raced, meaning, the other ethnicity must be further along our lineage. Me and my husband don’t have white relatives that we are aware of, lol. So she is quite the conversation piece in our family and wherever we go really. I was once asked if she was my child, and also if her father was white. This was all when she was a toddler. Anyway, I had to break it to her that she was in fact black. The expression on her face was priceless!

    • Esmom says:

      While I think white kids are more color blind than previous generations, I think parents are sadly still teaching division. I see it in their veiled remarks on Facebook and saw it especially during the presidential elections…you could just tell which parents were trumpeting their anti-Obama stance based on what a few kids were saying. It was sad and scary to me, and eye opening.

      • Amy says:

        Yes, I think the illusion that there aren’t still kids growing up and accepting a discriminatory view of life is incorrect. It’s still there and even among the young.

        I still remember the teens on Twitter who posted they weren’t that sad about the young lady dying during The Hunger Games Film (I think her name was Rue) once they saw she was black. THAT should scare everyone.

      • doofus says:

        and Amy, people are apparently p-ed off about a black StormTrooper in the new Star Wars trailer.

        boggles the mind.

      • MrsB says:

        We had an incident when my son was in pre-school that shocked me. The class was very small – 10 kids, all white except for one kid who was mixed. Anyway, my son came home one day and told me that a little boy in his class told him that he shouldn’t play with the little boy who was mixed anymore because he had a black daddy. I was livid and honestly could not believe that a 4 year old would know/think something like that. Up until that point, my son never even noticed the differences in skin color.

      • Judy says:

        @doofus. I’m a little annoyed about that too. I’ll wait until I see the movie to find out why, but the Storm troopers are all supposed to be clones of Jango Fett. Jango is not black.

        As for Chris Rock, for my money he’s always been insightful. In my mind he is our generation’s George Carlin. What he says about race relations in America is perfect. It is about how far white america has come. Also I agree with him on the political correctness of the younger generation. I live in a very liberal town and I can’t open my mouth without my kids trying to correct me about: feminism, sexism, racism and ageism. And in some cases they don’t even understand the concept.

      • I’m not surprised–when me and my twin brother were in elementary school, my little brother would come home crying because none of the other kids would play with him–because he was black/dark skinned. I never had that ‘problem’ because I look white. And my little sister is in her first year of HS, and when she was in middle school, she had boys tell her that she wasn’t attractive because she was half black–and she is like super model beautiful (even at her age).

      • doofus says:

        “but the Storm troopers are all supposed to be clones of Jango Fett.”

        in the prequels, yes, but not in the later movies. the Imperial Stormtroopers were an evolution of the Clone Troopers (to which you refer). there were even (GASP!) female stormtroopers after they stopped producing the clones and started to use “recruits”.

        yes, I am an unapologetic Star Wars nerd. and I don’t even know that much compared to some folks!

  16. doofus says:

    “If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, ‘Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.’ It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t.”

    can someone please have Mr. Rock speak with Ms. Janay Rice?!…

  17. Amy says:

    LOVE the Ike and Tina Turner metaphor.

    The man is brilliant, and gosh his asking his kids everyday, “Did anyone say anything to you??” takes me back. My parents did the same.

    I have to agree with him and it’s an interesting reality of life I think specifically for blacks in America. It’s like the world was running at the same time in two different axis. One side claims they see and understand but when confronted with the facts are so shocked. “You mean black men get arrested THIS much more than whites? You mean THIS is how much income disparity exists?” Meanwhile black people are there looking worn because THAT has been their truth for so long going, “YES!!! WE’VE BEEN SAYING IT FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS!!!”

    Yesterday I saw a commenter on another site asked if white cops were just shooting black people a lot more now and had to laugh. Sure, that’s what it is. Not that this has been happening for so long and the media didn’t want to cover it because at the time it wasn’t profitable to hurt white people’s feelings.

    Being any minority is difficult in this country but you gotta love a system that brought people here against their will. Beat, raped, and broke them down. Made them turn away from their home and reject their skin and people. Then is shocked they’re angry, downtrodden, and struggling to find equal success.

    • Diane says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more. The sheer obtuseness of many of the so-called tv journalists is mind-boggling. No more Cronkites or Chancellors or Murrows for us. We get Ashleigh Banfield now. (Didn’t she used to be credible?) I’m 64 and white and I can tell you the problem with this country….old white men of European descent who don’t want to give up the stranglehold they have over the rest of us. First they tried to wipe out the native Americans to steal their land. ‘Manifest destiny’ they called it with straight faces. Then once they stole all the land, they went to Africa and stole people to work those lands. And this is the power elite in this country. They own us. Everyone of us who isn’t a member of their 1% ruling class. When Michael Brown was shot, all I could think was ‘nothing’s changed since 1963.’ A cop shot an unarmed black man and gets away with it. I don’t understand how deadly force has become acceptable as the norm. He was in his cruiser, Brown was outside. If they absolutely must shoot, why not in the legs? Won’t that stop somebody who’s supposedly advancing? It’s always multiple shots to the torso and head. This happens every week all over the country. White cop, unarmed black man. The sad part about Ferguson is that the legitimate protesters who absolutely should be protesting are being overshadowed by the minority of looters and pillagers, who make for good tv. Wilson resigned from the police force. It coincided very nicely with some vigilante woman raising a million bucks for the guy. You can expect to see him on the NRA and white supremacist lecture circuit and hailed as a hero. Oh, and Chris Rock is brilliant. Bigger and Blacker is my favorite stand-up routine.

      • Amy says:

        Exactly Diane.

        I think the situation in Ferguson comes down, again, to the fact minorities are seen as a monolithic group.

        There are peaceful protesters but because they’re of the same ethnic group they’re lumped together. When they refer to EVERYONE in Ferguson as a protestor it is incredibly insulting. But hey…why bother distinguishing between two groups of the same race.

        Also there was a recent headline about the shooting of a young 12 yr old black child playing with an air soft gun in a park. The video and facts emerging (funny how video never matches the officer’s story when it exists) is simply amazing. They roll up a foot away from this child and shoot him within 2 seconds based on video evidence.

        Meanwhile their claims of “He seemed 20” “He was brandishing the weapon” only ended a child’s life.

      • Diane says:

        What really scares me, Amy, is that over the last few years the Pentagon has been giving surplus weaponry and equipment to police departments all over the country, under the guise of ‘protection against terrorists.’ They’ve basically turned many police departments across the country into well-armed militias. Sooner or later, they’ll use those weapons against us.

      • LadySlippers says:

        •Amy• •Diane•

        My fear is the ramping up of the police force will create a horrible and unextractionable situation. The post-apocalyptic Young Adult books are becoming all too real — and no one is objecting.

    • Alex says:

      Ugh right? As a kid I was one of the few black kids in my neighborhood and in my gifted classes. In college I went to a private school in the south that was predominantly white. I never let it bother me as a kid but it did bother other black kids. I remember being bullied more for being “too white”. My other friends didn’t notice my “blackness” till we were older and I didn’t notice either. My parents never put a word to it until I brought it up when I asked what “being white” meant. It’s strange to think about as an adult now

      And yes it boggles the mind that people think racism magically disappeared somewhere or that every system isn’t built to funnel minorities from preschool to prison. I had to tell some friends to wake up because the Missouri KKK were out in the protests and they were shocked. Tell them about arrest stats? More shock. Welfare stats? Confusion. I have intelligent friends but they CHOOSE to ignore stuff like this. Because it makes them uncomfortable. I usually tell them that progress in this country has always been taken by force not peace because people like to ignore the reality when they are comfortable. And I always hate when people say all black people are lazy. Really?! I seem to remember that this country was build on the backs of MY ancestors not yours. That always shuts people up.

      • doofus says:

        “I remember being bullied more for being “too white”.”

        this was a problem in my high school. any black kid that did well in their classes was considered a “sell-out”, or was “acting white”. it made me sad to hear that…doing well in school is a BAD thing?!

      • word says:

        @ doofus

        That’s ridiculous isn’t it? So all “white” people do well in school and all black don’t? That whole notion of “acting white” or “acting black” is extremely ignorant. This is still happening with teens today…go on youtube, instagram, vine and you’ll see the “jokes” being made. Also, we need to remember this is not a black and white world…there are many other ethnicities as well.

      • The Other Katherine says:

        Alex, you’re quite right about otherwise intelligent white people choosing to not learn uncomfortable facts because those facts make them feel bad/guilty/ashamed, etc. I’m white, and I know quite well that, in spite of believing strongly in the equal rights and dignity of all human beings regardless of color or ethnicity, I harbor some level of residual racist attitudes by virtue of growing up in a racist society (by which I mean all society that exists in the world today). When I see these thoughts and feelings in myself, I try hard to examine them and change them, and to ensure they don’t translate into actions that hurt other people. Doesn’t mean those thoughts don’t exist, though, and it’s *dangerous* for people to pretend to themselves that their own racism/sexism/homophobia/etc. doesn’t exist. Denial stymies progress.

        I think an awful lot of white people who want to be non-prejudiced, good people, can’t reconcile their desire to be good and high-minded with the fact that, due to the society around them, they have their own residual racism to deal with. It’s much easier to believe that their own psychology is above reproach and that the psychology of the other good white folks they know must be too. If white people really, truly think about it, most of them also feel intense guilt about their own white privilege. Much easier to pretend white privilege doesn’t exist.

        That’s a lot of words to say, basically, well done for using facts to remind the white people in your life that racism is still alive and well in 2014. To fight evil, the first step is to acknowledge that it exists.

      • Dena says:

        I’m black. I performed extremely well in school & had friends from across the racial/ethnic/cultural spectrum & have never been accused of acting white or of wanting to be white. As a matter of fact, the other black students and a good majority of the “minority” students were glad I was there “to represent” and to disprove racial/ethnic stereotypes in upper level classes and to be on debate teams and on various committees in general. They thought/felt that whites were more comfortable with me (even now). Shrugs shoulders. What I did run into was white teachers & white students thinking that I was some sort of spoke-person for my race and all black people in general. I’m not.😄

      • Alex says:

        Yep when my friends and I have talks about this stuff they always seemed shocked by the fact that I had more issues with other black kids at my school. It doesn’t surprise my other black friends because they all had similar experiences. But its another midset that black people striving for more, talking differently, being in the smart classes was somehow not black enough. Its part of the problem because shouldn’t we ALL want that? Its another association that is deemed negative but for me if “acting white” got me to where I am now I just don’t care. But its sad that the term even exists

      • LadySlippers says:

        •The Other Katherine•

        Latent racism is an issue and it sounds as if you and I are similar in the fact that we are willing to confront whatever
        ‘-ism’ we face.
        It’s a fight I feel worth fighting — even if it’s only myself that I do battle with.

  18. savu says:

    I agree with so much of what he says. And it’s sweet to hear how concerned he is for his own children, I love seeing him as a sentimental black dad who worries about his kids at school. And I’m glad that he has no horror stories of race issues affecting them.

    I just wanna throw it out there that he was on Today yesterday with Matt Lauer and it was SO FUNNY. You could tell Matt hated him. It was hilarious, definitely worth a watch.

  19. GiGi says:

    Yes! I just linked to this on my FB page this morning… I love what he says about race. It is NOT the responsibility of the people being oppressed to fix it! It is (in the case of the US) a White problem, not a Brown or Black problem.

  20. Kitten says:

    Brilliant, thoughtful guy. Huge fan or Rock.

  21. MAP says:

    He is brilliant. Smart, funny. An interesting voice. And, a vampire. How can he be 50?

  22. bns says:

    Ugh, I love him. He’s so smart.

  23. Ag says:

    so brilliant, so thoughtful, so freaking on-point. i wish that everyone was somehow required to read this, maybe it would give some people food for thought.

    and, he’s a vampire, right? we’re onto you, dude.

  24. Sarah says:

    What a great interview. I love his comments about his children being the first generation to be appreciated for who and what they are. Re: Cosby – yes, the allegations are old and go back years. But for many people – myself included – I had heard bits and pieces but never seen the whole sordid thing put together. I think most people probably feel as Rock said – please don’t let it be true. Even though now I think it most certainly is true.

  25. chrisrockfan says:

    Chris Rock forever – so brilliantly funny. He knows how to poke the bear with honesty just enough to wake him up not to invoke an attack. I hope this sells more #TopFive tickets! I can’t wait to see this movie!

  26. Jess says:

    I love Chris Rock and thought he made so many good points. Not surprised that a really intelligent comedian (they’re all smart but some are supersmart) can make us look at race relations and “progress” in a new way. But I was disappointed to see him essentially duck the Cosby issue.

    • Esmom says:

      His take on Cosby didn’t bother me because I got the sense that he’s still trying to process the whole thing. I’m sure once he does he will have more to say.

  27. Jem says:

    Oh my God he really DOES rock. Love you, Chris!!!

  28. littlestar says:

    I understand why he danced around the Cosby issue, but to say he hopes it’s not true? Come on man, so many women have come forward!

    Overall interesting interview with great points. I’ve always found Rock to be kind of annoying and not actually funny. He’s a great commentator, but not funny at all in my opinion :S.

    • Dena says:

      Not defending but at the time of the interview 20+ women probably hadn’t come forward. Just saying . . .

    • Trashaddict says:

      I don’t think hoping it’s not true comes from denial. I just think it’s because it’s so sad to think about Cosby doing something like that. It’s sad in so many ways.

  29. Carrie says:

    My facebook feed immediately blew up with people criticizing him but the honest truth is every point he made was valid.

  30. delia says:

    He’s always a tell it like it is kind of guy that I wish he had been less weak in his Cosby response. He knows he’s guilty and as should have made a cutting joke at his expense.

    And I think he’s a really insightful comic but tends to make horrible movies because he’s not an actor.

  31. Veruca Salt says:

    This is a really good read, Chris Rock comes as an honest and truly genuine guy.

  32. Lucy says:

    Great interview! He’s brilliant.

  33. Zoe says:

    I love what he says about how people would feel if they knew how rich rich people are. I just had my first big international work trip and flew first class all over Europe. I cannot tell you how luxurious first class is. It’s ridiculous. When I got back from my trip I told my husband I now understand why rich people tend to act so much more entitled than the rest of us. The entire world revolves around reassuring them of how special and important they are. Also, it’s not merit based at all. I worked a hell of a lot harder when I was poor than I do now (and I’m not even rich!)

    • word says:

      Not only that but the richer you get, the more free things you get. It’s so crazy.

      • Zoe says:

        Yup. On my work trip I used my credit card twice in 2 weeks because all the stuff at the fancy clubs (not nightclubs, rich people clubs) was free. Although I had to get special permission to get into one club for some meetings because they typically don’t allow women. Well unless they’re prostitutes.

      • lrm says:

        Yes, and Chris Rock obviously knows the rich thing by experience himself, at this point. I disagree with him that lost in translation is a movie about rich black people, though. Yes, he experiences a parallel through being rich and black, but LIT is an experience of culture shock, and not limited to being a black minority or a class minority. I’ve experienced similar ‘awake while dreaming’ sequestered experiences in the same way that the movie portrays; trippy experiences are not just about money, celebrity or race. We’re all so self-absorbed-but everyone on earth is having a life experience. While the system is rigged, that doesn’t mean each person’s life experience or story is designed or chosen to oppress someone else’s.

    • Dolce crema says:

      🙂 oooh what’s your job?

  34. anonymous says:

    I am a white female who was raised in the 1970’s in rural Mississippi by a father who was a klansman. At a young age I felt what I heard was wrong. Kids can know.

    I tried to defy him and the culture in covert ways as outright defiance led to beatings. Ultimately he kicked me out of the house at age 12, after learning I had befriended a black girl.

    I find that the way I sense and identify racism differs from others generationally as well from many in my profession, public health.

    • LadySlippers says:


      {{HUGS}} and KUDOS to you for seeing that your father was wrong. That takes a strength many people cannot even fathom.

      I think a great many of us come at racism/sexism/anti-Semitism etc. from different avenues. That doesn’t invalidate anyone’s experience though as we need differences to be seen and heard in order to irradicate inequality and associated ‘-isms’.

    • Amy says:

      Wow. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      Indeed I imagine you have seen some truly horrifying things as the daughter of someone with such a vile perspective.

      Thank you for rising above it.

  35. misstee says:

    I don’t know why everyone is giving him a pass – its easy to call out Whites these days – its harder to call out one of the cultural heads of the Black community since the 80’s, but that’s exactly what he should have done – otherwise the message persists – ‘our lot are ok, its the other lot we need to worry about’ you know the exact same massage whites used to prop up inequality.

    He is a coward

    • Pinky says:

      “Giving him a pass?” What kind of “pass” is that? Bye, Felicia. I said good day!

    • Amy says:

      Coward? Please.

      Do you even know when he gave this interview and what the situation with Cosby was at the time? I’d say it wasn’t until November that this issue really got media attention and many women came forward.

      In other words shuffle that attempt at deflection elsewhere.

  36. Milton Friedman says:

    where’s the free food at the airport ??? liberal genius…

  37. Gabon says:

    “White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before. 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.”

    It’s interesting to hear his perspective on race relations but I can’t say I agree with a lot of it. I think race relations are in some ways worse than they ever have been and Ferguson has clarified that. Yes, the world is more politically correct. You’re allowed to have an opinion if it’s approved by liberal thought leaders. But why can’t you own your own thoughts? If I disagree, then I’m the infidel. My feeling is that a lot of people are marginalized if they stand independently and assert they believe in people working hard, respecting laws, and justice and equality for all and not just some. With regards to Obama, I don’t personally think it’s progress that he was elected. Anybody with a resume as thin as his would never have been elected but the electorate voted to reverse course and show how progressive they are and here we are. Have things improved for most blacks under Obama? It’s great that kids grow up seeing opportunities but economically speaking, the answer is a resounding NO.

    • delia says:

      Bush Jr only had his surname to recommend himself actually for election at state and federal levels. Jeb is the son who worked harder but all gwi did was stop being an alcoholic by 40 and bam! Guy gets handed a governorship.

    • sad says:

      Have to agree with that in many ways race relations are worse today. Grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. Was raised by parents who taught us that your skin color and economic status don’t matter when it comes to how you act…do you have integrity and character or not? Grew up in Mississippi, btw. Went to integrated public schools.
      What makes me sad is that many of the black people with whom I work I can feel their anti-white bias against me including just short of open hostility. Sorry not trying to hijack this topic, but it’s the truth in my world. And it makes me very sad and frustrated and, yes, sometimes angry.

  38. Kelsey says:

    He’s a wee cracker 😍😍

  39. I Choose Me says:

    Not the biggest fan of his comedy but Chris Rock nearly always has something interesting and insightful to say. Loved this interview and the conversations it sparked in the comment section.

  40. Denise says:

    I love Chris Rock. I’ll admit I don’t think he’s as funny as he used to be, but I think he’s a very intelligent man and always has something worthwhile to say. And my god, that man does not age. What a lovely family, too.