Chris Rock on Bill Maher and race
Some excerpts from an interview with Chris Rock by Frank Rich for New York Magazine:
What do you make of the attempt to bar Bill Maher from speaking at Berkeley for his riff on Muslims?
Well, I love Bill, but I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative.
In their political views?
Not in their political views — not like they’re voting Republican — 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.
When did you start to notice this?
About eight years ago. Probably a couple of tours ago. It was just like, 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.
The increments of change seem to be so much tinier than we wanted to believe when the Civil Rights Act passed 50 years ago, or when Obama was elected in 2008.
Yeah...There’s always going to be people that don’t know that the war’s over. I’m more optimistic than you, but maybe it’s because I live the way I do. I just have a great life, so it’s easier for me to say things are great. But not even me. My brothers drive trucks and stock shelves. They live in a much better world than my father did. My mother tells stories of growing up in Andrews, South Carolina, and the black people had to go to the vet to get their teeth pulled out. And you still had to go to the back door, because if the white people knew the vet had used his instruments on black people, they wouldn’t take their pets to the vet. This is not some person I read about. This is my mother.
...Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense...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...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.
It’s about white people adjusting to a new reality?
Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it’s unfair that you can get judged by something you didn’t do, but it’s also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn’t work for.
You live in New Jersey.
I’m in Alpine. That’s not Jersey. That’s like Beverly Hills with freaking snow.
And with Chris Christie. Were you caught on the George Washington Bridge?
I was caught on the bridge! He didn’t do it to mess up the bridge. He did it because it just messes up the whole town around the bridge. Just imagine: a whole town paralyzed.
How did you react when you found out it might be politically motivated?
You just want to choke somebody. If you live near the bridge, you know you’re going to have like seven bad days a year. But you hate to think one of them is on purpose.