Interviewer: Chris it’s interesting watching you in this documentary. I mean as we end off here, you’ve given us a snapshot of America and I wonder, since you began doing this -since you began doing this standup comedy – since you began deconstructing what’s happening in America, how do you feel like the country has changed? How do you feel like things have changed in the last couple of decades?
Chris Rock: Umm White people have got a little less crazy. That’s all. That’s it.
Interviewer: What does that men (with a laugh)
Chris Rock: Umm it means that
Interviewer: ‘Cause there popping more pills partly
Chris Rock: That I mean. You know that you can say that there’s progress and all of this but when you say it’s progress, you’re acting like what happened before wasn’t crazy. You know what I mean? Oh segregation we’ve made a lot of progress and there’s no more segregation. Segregation’s retarded. It’s crazy to think that you’re better than somebody and they can’t eat with you and segre…that’s crazy. That’s insane behaviour, you know what I mean? Just to think that on any level, that’s like kinda insane. So you can say that Black people have made progress but that would – To say that black people have made progress we deserve to be segregated. The reality is White people got less crazy, see what I’m saying?
Interviewer: I got ya
Chris Rock: Does that make sense?
Interviewer: Chris Rock, thank you for this man
Chris Rock: I didn’t suddenly – my father didn’t suddenly deserve to eat with people because he earned it. The people who were denying him his rights got less crazy and that is what has progressively happened throughout the years. You know, people are not getting less crazy about gay people. You know it’s like, people are crazy man.
Interviewer: Thank you for this
Chris Brown: Alright
Interviewer: Appreciate this.
Since so few can be bothered to say it, I will. That was ableist as fuck. Are you listening Colorlines? Asking, “does Chris Rock have a point? Have people with privilege suddenly become “less crazy,” does not accurately represent this video. For the record, using quotation indicate that you knew that there was some messed up shit in the video.
I think that Rock was expressing some very valid points, but to attack the neurologically atypical like that is low. Not only did he use the word “crazy” repeatedly, at one point he used the word “retarded”. I wondered, even as these words were coming out of his mouth, if he even realized that he was being ableist, and attacking people in his own community under the guise of challenging Whiteness? Yes, it is possible to be both Black AND disabled.
Every tine he used ableist language in this conversation, he undermined the point he was trying to make abut racism. There can be no doubt that racism is an absolute evil, and that White supremacy needs to die a quick death today, but so does disableism. You cannot talk about oppression employing the language of oppression. All this does is support the hierarchy pyramid, because it enforces the idea that someone always has to exist on the bottom. This continues to be a huge problem in circle justice circles.
Rock has a good history of speaking truth to power as far as racism is concerned, but he continually fails when it comes to sexism, and now we can see that he has also failed when it comes to disableism. It is not political expediency to ignore ableism in a discussion about race; it is supporting an oppression. Race does not trump disability, and this hierarchy of oppressions bullshit needs to end if marginalized people are ever going to move forward.
What lessons can we learn from what Rock had to say, and do you believe his point was obscured by his ableist commentary?