chris-rockComedian/Actor Chris Rock sat down for a very interesting interview with Vultures’s Frank Rich and shared his views on Ferguson, Bill Cosby, President Obama, ‘racial progress’ and more.

Check out the interview snippets below and make sure to read the full interview on Vulture.

On Bill Cosby:

You’ve always been incredibly respectful and a fan of great comedians ahead of you. Have any ever been disdainful of you?

I mean, maybe Cosby early on, but he turned pretty quick. Other than that, nobody.

What do you make of what’s happening to Cosby now?

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, and we kind of lost Cosby.


On Ferguson:

‘When we talk about racial progress, it’s all nonsense’

What would you do in Ferguson that a standard reporter wouldn’t?
I’d do a special on race, but I’d have no black people.

Well, that would be much more revealing.
Yes, that would be an event. 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.

Right. It’s ridiculous.
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.

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.

Check out what Chris Rock had to say on President Obama on the next page.

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  • Chris Rock has been very honest about what he thinks. With him, there is no middle ground. He shows his views unashamedly. He is right to mention that just because white people in America now haven’t lived during the Maafa doesn’t mean that they lack white privilege. They have it. Also, his comments about various Presidents are interesting (his views on Bush and Obama are witty. Bush didn’t care. He just did what he wanted to do regardless of what people thought of him or regardless of how evil his policies were). Fundamentally, a strong leader is not a follower of consensus, but a molder of consensus. In other words, people should not worship polls, but they should follow their core convictions because it is the right thing to do. Yes, the reactionaries (including the rest of the right wing) will still hate us, but we maintained our principles in the process. Chris Rock has great intelligence.

    • Love.tweet.joi

      It was easy for GW Bush not to care when your dad has doneyour job before you and is readily available for advice. That’s a cush job compared to Obama’s presidency. A cush job that he still managed to F up.

    • That’s a great point. Bush Jr. lived a privileged life. His family has been involved in the CIA, reactionary movements, etc. Prescott Bush and George H. W. Bush had huge ties to the Western establishment. George W. Bush messed things up when the only thing that he had to do was to promote real change (and do revolutionary actions). Bush’s Iraq War, Katrina debacle, environmentally unsound policies, and seeing the recession start under his watch proves that his Presidency has harmed millions of Americans.

  • ALM247

    My Lord, how bad do I want to wave my hand and run laps around the room in agreement with Chris Rock’s comments? Yes! Yes! Yes! I have said some of these things myself, and it is a joy to have someone with a public platform who is not afraid to tell the truth about these issues.

    Chris can get away with this because he’s already rich, and he frames truth inside a comedic house.

    I saw Chris on “Sunday Morning” yesterday, and he said in the interview that he watches Joel Osteen and all of the tv pastors each week. He even said that a lot of them sneak into his shows, but he wouldn’t name names. It makes sense, because everything that he says above sounds like a sermon, in the best way possible.

    • Love.tweet.joi

      I’m mad I missed that interview. Chris Rock said it all! Of course it flew right over the heads of Yahoo commenters. Sigh. Those comments make me depressed.

    • I feel you.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      Never read Yahoo! comments unless you’re trying to contract syphilis of the eye.

    • Guest

      “Those comments make me depressed.”–That’s because you value the people making them.

    • Love.tweet.joi

      To be honest, yes, I’d like to live in a country where I am accepted as an equal. Your response saddens me as well. I’m sick of snarky internet comments from anonymous posters…usually other Black women with nothing constructive to add.

    • Guest

      That wasn’t snark. I was pointing out the root ’cause of getting depressed over whites racist and ignorant comments about blacks.

      You don’t need them to “accept” you as equal–you don’t exist for them–you exist because of God.

      Blacks put so much value on whiteness hence anything that comes out their mouth holds value to us.

      The funny thing is, this is exactly what Chris Rock is talking about here–“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.”

      We value them so a black president seems as progress, when in truth it’s them that needed to progress.

      My point was stop putting value on whitesness–they are no better then you–their LOVE or HATRED of us as black people holds no value. This is the main root cause of mental slavery.

    • Love.tweet.joi

      The mental slavery you are referring to comes from actual oppression. Those words that I shouldn’t value fuels the actions that leave us dead in the streets. I don’t value their words because I think that some redneck stranger online is better than I am. I put value on the words because it’s coming from the group who are in power. What they think has directly affected my existence, and will affect my child’s existence as well. You can pretend that you aren’t sick and tired of being oppressed if you want. Or you can pretend that those words are coming from people who don’t hold positions of power. You can even pretend that you are exempt from oppression. I wont pretend because you think that slavery is solely a mental state. I wrote that post because quite often (especially as I get older) being a Black American wears on me.

    • Guest

      Sweetheart my comment was not intended to dismiss real oppressive conditions that blacks face nationally and globaly. Those are real tangible issues that need to be combated daily. But that still does not absolve the reality of mental slavery. There’s no need to pretend anything–wether they speak or not, you still SEE and KNOW who’s in power. That was the intent behind my comment. Mental slavery exist and a huge reason why, is because there are black people that still have a need for whites approval–hence why their words about black people have such a profound effect on you (and one time me) emotionally.

      If hearing whites say horrible things about black people makes you depressed, do you rejoice when you hear them say nice things about black people?

      I understand being angry; upset; tired; frustrated; overwhelmed; drained from all the injustice that blacks face at the hand of institutionalized racism, but it’s not their liking or disliking of us that needs to be challenged for this–it’s our lack of power structure.

      You really think the reasons that America doesn’t dare attack North Korea or China during times of strife is because they like Asian people?!? The answer is no (I’ve read countless praising AND desparaging comments about asians from racist whites, but guess what? They don’t get messed with because they have power.

      Not having economic power, political power, voting power, educational power, reparational power, representative power, legal power and on and on and on is the real root of our problems–Not the racist or cool things that are coming out of white peoples mouths.

      I was once like you, instead of focusing on the real issues at hand, I wasted countless energy on trying to understand why they don’t like black people and how sad that this exist and hurt that so many don’t care. Fortunately, I got out of the matrix and realized that I had wasted precious time and energy (emotionally and physically) on a fruitless goal. They are no better than you in any way shape or form, so their like or dislike of black people is worthless.

  • There have been times where I have been in disagreement of Chris Rock and have even side-eyed him when it came to certain issues. I almost skipped this article since I have been “unimpressed” with many predominantly mainstream Black celebrities and their opinions on issues pertaining to Blacks. However, he was largely on point and said a mouthful (alone) with the following paragraph:

    “Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it is unfair that you can get judged by something you didn’t do, but is also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn’t work for”

    If I could make a slogan out of this paragraph, I would print it on a t-shirt. Maybe, I would start off with “White Privilege: If you don’t mind claiming your family legacy, you shouldn’t mind owning your great-great-grandaddy’s actions”.

    • Love.tweet.joi

      Do they mind? Ever since the Ferguson riots, many of them seem to be owning their slave-owner ancestry quite well. In fact, I keep reading comments like “We should have never brought them here.”

    • ALM247

      That quote in your last sentence opens a warehouse full of cans of worms. It would be absolutely amazing to have the ability to view the “what if” scenario if the Trans-Atlantic slave trade never happened.

      I do wonder where would these folks work and take care of legal business, though? African American slaves built the majority of these historic city hall buildings, historic homes, other buildings on the national register, etc.

      L. A. Burr invented the lawn mower to keep the grass neat and manicured in front of all of those historic homes.

      If they had “never brought us here” then all of the cars would be running into each other (or there would be traffic jams everywhere) because Garrett Morgan invented the traffic light.

      All of these celebrity chefs who specialize in soul food and southern cooking learned the recipes and techniques from their grandmothers and great-grandmothers, who were taught by their mothers, who were taught how to cook by African American slaves and by Native Americans.

      J. Standard invented the refrigerator to keep all of that tasty southern food from spoiling.

      Frederick M. Jones invented the air conditioner. With all of the global warming going on, these folks should be glad to have air conditioners. Hell is probably going to be hot, so folks should be thanking Frederick Jones and enjoy his invention while they can.

    • Love.tweet.joi

      So many White people truly believe in their heart that all Black people have done is pick cotton and kill people. And no amount of our story will change that. I have a family member who hates his own people. His mindset is that had we not been slaves, all of our contributions would have eventually come from them….because they are so much smarter than we are. This coming from a babyboomer raised in New York.

    • ALM247

      You have a living, breathing, Uncle Ruckus in your family?

    • Love.tweet.joi

      Oh yeah, and it’s odd because he married a black woman. I can only assume that he wasn’t always this way. Something happened. He got discouraged. But he’s too much of an AHOLE for anyone to find out why he is the way he is. Oh, while his wife is dark skinned, the lighter the woman, the more he respects her. Speaks volumes to his marriage.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      ‘…he married a black woman.’

      At first, I was surprised that you said that, but then a second later I found that it doesn’t and I’m not speculating on, or denigrating their relationship, I want you to understand that. In my (limited) travels, I have found that some Blacks who did not choose to ‘marry out’, as it were, can behave as though they got ‘the only good one, the one like me’, or subconsciously marry for the community, but desire for themselves. Some have the, ‘I can’t harbour irrational disdain for Black people, I married one’ attitude (‘My best friend is black’), which can bleed into a disingenuous kind of self-criticism. I think of it as the way that James Baldwin criticised America versus the way that Don Lemon does, if that makes sense.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      I’m very interested in your testimony, but I can’t exactly upvote it, you know? All I can say is that that’s a sad case, roll my eyes at the ignorance of his views and thank you for sharing your story.

    • The issue by and large as I see it, is that white people don’t know Black History, which is an extension of American history. The nerve of white people to say “they should be glad we bought them here”. The first time I heard that nonsense was in high school and the boy was dead serious. The arrogance and superiority complex of some people is astounding.

    • Mary Burrell

      @ALM: There is a blog i comment on quite frequently and one of the thread post about white inventions and how blacks didn’t invent anything. Many commentators listed the many accomplishments you just listed, and you would not believe how white commentators said these were all myths and lies and that the black commentators were just delusional. I feel they might have been trolls but many whites don’t acknowledge the contributions black people made to this country. Remember Thomas Jefferson didn’t want to acknowledge Benjamin Banneker’s as a scientist, and his almanac. He (Jefferson) didn’t think blacks were intelligent and nothing more than animals.

    • blogdiz

      Mary you aint never lied I actually saw a poster indicate that All of the things that are featured in Black History month were made up so Black people could feel good about themselves !!!!!!

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      ‘Hell is probably going to be hot, so folks should be thanking Frederick Jones and enjoy his invention while they can.’

      HA! You are my friend!

    • I was strictly talking about the ones in denial.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      ‘But my parents didn’t own slaves!’

      They didn’t? I had no idea! That changes everything!

    • Mary Burrell

      @Jo ‘Mama’ Besser: Yep, they always want to pull that one out of their asses.

    • Exactly. Those bigots always say that. The bigots ignore the fact of white privilege irrespective if their parents owned slaves or not.

    • Unless, their ancestors were abolitionists (and even some of them had their biases), their ancestors are just as guilty. If their great-great-great parents weren’t slaveholder’s, they were either overseers, klu-klux-klan, or apologists. There’s several books about how poor white people (against their own interests) united with elite whites to formulate the foundation of white supremacy.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      And it continues. These poor whites vote as they do because someone led them to believe that it’s Black people that are keeping them out of the 1% They cleave to the people who suck them dry without realising that the elites are laughing it up over how stupid and gullible those ‘rednecks’ are. They fell for the belief that the Devil doesn’t exist.

  • Mary Burrell

    He pretty astute. I really liked his take on the issue of race. White people don’t want to talk about race because if you let them tell it there is not racism, it’s just the blacks always whining and playing the victim and pulling the race card. Black people are just reacting to their racism. They are the one’s who constructed this demonic system. I agree with him about taking the black folks out of the equation. Have a talk with them. Some of them seem incapable of self reflection. They will not sit down and think what part did they play in creating this polarization in this country.