Unethical Quote of the Day: Comedian Chris Rock

“Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks”

—-Chris Rock, in a 4th of July tweet

Crispus Attucks. Missed the fireworks.

Let’s see: what’s wrong with this comment?

Ignorant, racist, divisive, unfair, disrespectful, bitter, dumb, and not funny…what else?

In analytical terms: What an ass!

64 thoughts on “Unethical Quote of the Day: Comedian Chris Rock

  1. I truly fail to see what’s unethical about this.

    It’s ignorant? In what sense? It doesn’t demonstrate an absence of pertinent knowledge, unless you’re suggesting that Rock is mistaken and blacks generally were free in the new world circa 1776.

    Racist? What on Earth is racist about simply reminding people that severing the tyranny of the British Empire didn’t translate to freedom for all people in the new United States? What is unethical about reminding people that throughout the nation’s history, freedom has been a process and not a singularity that was bestowed once upon tow world and never thereafter wavered?

    Divisive? I don’t know, I’m about as white as a bleached sheet, and I don’t really feel divided against black people by being reminded that, historically, Independence Day means more to people who share my pigmentation than those who share Chris Rock’s. It’s only divisive if you look at it exclusively from a black person’s point of view and expect him to leverage it against the white community to cut into their celebration during this holiday. If, however, you think of the remark as being directed at white people, rather than against them, what you have is an opportunity to think about it and avoid the implicit insensitivity of saying, “This is the day when we all became free.” Paying attention to the reality of different meanings for different people is an example of unity, not divisiveness.

    Or maybe you didn’t mean that his remark divides whites against blacks? Maybe you meant it divides the nation between those who chant “USA!” to shout down any acknowledgment of past mistakes, and those who are willing to watch the fireworks, chuckle, and think, “Eh, it’s not utopia yet, but we’re working on it.” If that’s the case, then I don’t think that Chris Rock can really be blamed for speaking from one side of a fundamental division between worldviews.

    The remark is unfair, disrespectful? To whom? Slave owners?

    Not funny? Really a matter of opinion, and not ethics, isn’t it?

    • The problem with his tweet is that slavery has been abolished by law in 1868 and segregation by the SCOTUS in 1954.

      Yet after 144 years of NO legal slavery in America he still posts his bitterness in 2012.

      I am sure he is suffering being a free black American millionaire all his life.

    • Really. Well, I think that is disappointing and sad, Ed. I though better of you.

      Like Rock, you apparently don’t comprehend that the battle over slavery was first engaged in a serious and substantive way while crafting the Declaration; that the country’s representatives had no choice but to accept slavery for the time being as a condition precedent to crafting the nation at all; that the primary architects of American independence—Jefferson, Adams and Franklin, as well as a majority of the rest—-were opponents of the institution of slavery in principle and in America, and that the language of the document we celebrate today explicitly rejected slavery by its terms, and became a primary tool in the abolishing of slavery. Black freed men Americans played significant roles in the fight for Independence, dies in the field, and laid the foundations for what came before. In short, the Declaration was a powerful assertion of the right to liberty of all men, and was essential in establishing that end, and any African-American like Rock who fails to appreciate the effort of the founders on their behalf have chosen to exercise their freedom in the pursuit of division, ingratitude and ignorance, rather than happiness.

      His comment, and yours, are unprovoked and unjustifiable insults to the nation’s long battle for freedom and equality. The first step of a hard journey is not to be ridiculed because it didn’t complete the trip. And an educated and rational person should know that.

      To clear up your apparent confusion, Rock’s statement is..

      Ignorant…because it misrepresents the roots of the Declaration, its motives, its power and its results.
      Racist…because it judges the Founders by the color of their skin rather than by the humanistic and race-neutral government they were fighting to achieve.
      Divisive, because it attempts to alienate black Americans from a celebration that is equally the expression of gratitude and the obligation of all Americans regardless of color.
      Unfair, because it mischaracterizes a brave and transformative act as less than it is, a momentous achievement for human kind that a petty pygmy like Chris Rock could not even aspire to.
      Disrespectful, because the Founders, even the slave-holders among them, deserve respect and gratitude for having the courage to give birth to the country that allows an ass like Rock to make a living ridiculing people better than he is.
      Bitter, because the statement is ungracious and nasty, when waht he should be saying is, “Thank you.”
      Dumb, because it is facile and made in defiance of the facts
      And it’s not funny, because it isn’t funny to be ignorant, racist, divisive, unfair, disrespectful, bitter, and dumb.

      You know, my father was crippled fighting to preserve the values laid out in that Declaration, and I take it as a personal affront to his memory, my values and this nation to have to read this kind of indefensible sniping at great, if flawed, human beings, doing great and good things that every one of us benefit from, on this day when every American with a brain, sense of perspective and self-respect ought to assert their pride in being an a citizen with a remarkable legacy, and in what a group of amazing, brave and brilliant men accomplished in 1776.

      • I have to agree with Edward here. So-called “Independence Day” is surely a bittersweet irony to many black people, who can’t help but notice the juxtaposition of people celebrating independence from Britain, and freedom for all men, and the beginnings of a country where their freedom was a bargaining chip used to craft the country together. Even more ironically, if England had won the war, black people would have received their freedom almost forty years earlier than in the United States.

        • It’s ignorant, no matter how they “feel.” The Declaration was the beginning of the end for slavery, whether modern day African-Americans acknowledge it or not.would And there is no guarantee that England would have ended slavery here. Are you saying that you and Rock think it would have been better for American blacks if the US had lost the Revolution? If so, a more unAmerican and illogical position is hard to imagine.

          • The Declaration of Independence was the beginning of the beginning of slavery in the entity soon to be known as the United States. When a slaveholder can pen, without blinking, the lines “all men are created equal…”, while all the while holding human beings in subjugation and degradation, one realizes that slavery isn’t going anywhere. There was a chance to be true the ideals of the words penned, and the founders blew it, leaving the problem for later generations to solve. Acknowleding that blunder is not an ethical lapse for the person pointing it out.

            As noted ethical dunce Fredrick Douglass once said in his famed speech, What is July the 4th to the Slave?, “He is a lover of his country who rebukes & does not excuse its sins.” He also said, in exactly the same sentiment as Chris Rock, “This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” While it may be uncomfortable to be reminded while celebrating America’s birth that at the time of it’s inception that it failed to live up to the promise of freedom for all it’s citizens, it isn’t wrong, either factually or ethically to remind people of this. There is after all, a reason why many black people also celebrate Emancipation Day or Juneteenth. For them, “Independence Day” will always be imbued with an unintentional irony.

        • No one should live in bitterness and revengeful about the past, no one. It will rob you of personal happiness and success and that would be a truly waste of life.

  2. The remark is blatently disrespectful to anyone who has fought for this country’s freedom and the freedom of slaves. If you crack open a history book, you can see the clear steps of how America moved to abolish slavery AFTER the country itself was free. Maybe this tweet wouldn’t be such a big deal from someone who has lived in the ghetto their whole life and never gotten anything good. But a millionaire celebrity who underpays his IMPORTED staff looks like a pompous idiot saying this. If he wants to be bitter and whiny on our nation’s birthday, perhaps he can pack it up and move to another country where he can really see what oppression is like. I’m sure his staff will enjoy the fireworks, even if they’re underpaid, overworked and treated like crap…right? I bet they’re getting a good chuckle over the irony. I guess we all know now why he lost his popularity – he ditched the written scripts and started saying what was on his mind, which is about as deep as a rain puddle in Holland.

  3. Au contraire. It’s very funny–just not ha ha funny.
    July 4 was a date back founded when slavery was legal. Why shouldn’t black people feel a little resentful when they had to wait another century for their own freedom, and MLK day is observed only lightly today. Practice empathy on this one, and ask yourself if you can’t just imagine the irony that people of color feel on this day.
    As usual, Chris Rock has his hand right on the knife edge of racism, twisting the knife while we laugh.
    I think you have a great batting average, but even a great hitter misses a few, and you missed this one, in my humble opinion.

  4. I guarantee you every person today who writes in against Chris’s comment is white.
    That should tell you something about the sources of divisiveness. It ain’t Chris–he’s just doing a comedian’s job, pointing out truths lying just beneath the surface. Most white people think we live in a post-racist society. Most black people don’t.
    (And where do you get the idea that the signers of the declaration wanted a race-neutral country? Even Abe Lincoln didn’t get that far a century later).

      • The most offensive and know-nothing strain of current day liberalism, by far: temporal chauvinism, blaming white men for massive achievements that ultimately benefited us all, and blaming them for a result that was absolutely beyond their control. I don’t care whether the American mouthing such a ridiculous sentiment is black or chartreuse—it’s irrational, and wrong, both factually and ethically.

      • Wow! I never thought of that, but you’re RIGHT! Rock is exactly like Douglass. After all, slavery still exists, like when Douglass made his speech—Rock’s own parents were alive in 1776, so you can’t blame him for taking the failure to abolish slavery then personally. Most of Rock’s fellow blacks are in chains, and if he’s caught in a Southern state, he could be picking cotton tomorrow—just like Douglass. I never thought about all the parallels. And,like Douglass, Rock’s not allowed to vote, and could be lynched for being with a white woman. And Rock, like Douglass, lives in a nation where no blacks hold elective office, and no black man will ever be rich.

        No wonder his tweet reminds you of Douglass! And Frederick’s tweets were funny, too.

    • Really, Charles, so what? There are, I know, plenty of African Americans who know their history well enough to know that the choice was a US republic with slavery for the short term, or no US at all. Half the nation’s economy was based on slavery–it wasn’t possible, politically or economically, to end it in 1776. Throwing bricks about that now and withholding proper pride and appreciation of the 4th is, frankly, infantile.

      Plus,
      1. How does ignorance qualify as truth? and,
      2. I said race-neutral government. The principles articulated in the document make no distinction of race, and that was intentional. Yes, most signers, maybe all, thought whites were superior and would naturally run things. But the Declaration made it clear that any human had the right to rise as far as his ability and character would take him. MLK quoted the Declaration more than once.

      Rock was is ignorant, and you shouldn’t be defending divisive ignorance.

      • Really, Charles, so what? There are, I know, plenty of African Americans who know their history well enough to know that the choice was a US republic with slavery for the short term, or no US at all. Half the nation’s economy was based on slavery–it wasn’t possible, politically or economically, to end it in 1776. Throwing bricks about that now and withholding proper pride and appreciation of the 4th is, frankly, infantile.

        It isn’t infantile to mourn the fact that this republic used the freedom of its citizens as a bargaining chip to establish itself, condemning them to several lifetimes of forced labor, rape, bondage, and abuse. It is infantile to only want to hear about and celebrate the good things about America, without acknowledging and celebrating the people whose made a real, lifetime, painful sacrifice to make it possible, whose sacrifice came without even their consent. What is so unethical about acknowledging history, even the non-shiny parts where America did a grievous wrong? Realize that parts of American history resonate quite differently with different groups.

        • What is so unethical about acknowledging history, even the non-shiny parts where America did a grievous wrong?

          Independence Day is not the day to focus on the non-shiny parts.

          Would you bring up the Holocaust at Oktoberfest?

          • If they called it *Historical German Tolerance of Religion Day*, then yes, perhaps, the irony would be overwhelming.

            • You do know the difference between “independence” and “freedom,” right? Because your commentary doesn’t reflect that. One can be free but dependent, or independent but not free. “Independence” refers to no longer being subservient to the British crown. Slaves were given as much of this independence as whites were—they just had other chains to break. Details, details. Not that such nuances should stop Chris Rock from falsely implying that Adams, Franklin and Jefferson weren’t opposed to slavery…because he’s comic, and should be encouraged to foment hate.

      • Jack,

        Your rhetoric is getting the better of your logic.

        I made a statement about the (strongly) different opinions of one race vs. another, and you somehow made it about ignorance. Do you really want to go down that path w. regard to an entire race, Jack?

        My ex-wife is a black woman, very well educated. I first became aware of this sentiment when we were dating, and I wished her a happy Independence Day. “Whose Independence Day?” she asked me, and I never forgot my astonishment as I realized how ignorant I had been, and how I had been making assumptions about an entire race. It had SIMPLY NEVER DAWNED ON ME that a group that remained disenfranchised for another century might have slightly mixed feelings about the holiday.

        Her father fought in the Korean War, where he had the occasional pleasure of sleeping in the mud with the other black troops, while the white troops got to sleep on wooden pallets. She herself, as has any black person in the US (and most of the world) in 2012, suffers frequent indignities, from DWB arrests to showing up for apartment rentals from a phone appointment only to find out the apartment had “just rented.”

        No black person I know is out making outrageous claims about the racist intentions of the Declaration, or its signers. This is not about revisionist history. This is not about ignorance, though that seems to be the high ground you’re misleadingly trying to take people to.

        Nor is it about biting the hand that feeds you, as one reader claims; did it occur to him that perhaps an intelligent, successful person might have a slightly more nuanced view of the Declaration than he does?

        This is very simply about a significant chunk of our population politely noting that the date of July 4 did not signify–as I once un-reflectingly thought it did–freedom for all. I fail to see the disrespect in that.

        So forgive me if I think your claims and those of SuperTroll to have some moral standing to be outraged at this sort of comment are pure drivel. Bluntly, you have as much moral standing as I do, having lost relatives to our Wars as well; and far less than just about any person of color in this country, who are daily acutely aware that we still do not live in a post-racial society.

        This has nothing to do with education, and very little to do with history. Everyone knows slavery wasn’t abolished in 1776, it doesn’t take a PhD to know that. But the majority culture tends to forget things that have to do with the minority. I now, because I once did.

        Which is what Chris Rock is reminding us of.

        Good for him.

        • Whoa, Charles. Are we talking feelings, or fact, fairness and logic? I acknowledge the feelings. People have understandable feelings of hostility toward people, places and things. I understand a black man who has feelings of resentment toward me, though I have never harmed an African American in my life. That’s not the same as believing it’s justified on the merits, and hostility toward the US and the Fourth is not.

          I wonder why you, a rational man, would have concluded that it was you who was ignorant, and your wife who was “correct.” It seems clear that the myth that the Founders’ achievement in creating America was a true and volitional betrayal of African Americans is passed down through generations, just like white racism has been passed down in communities, families and local custom. I know how often I have heard educated blacks who know better speak about how the framers of the Constitution regarded blacks as only a fraction of human beings, though they must be aware that the fractional counting of blacks was a crucial device by the free states to ensure that the slave-holding states did not have so much political power that ending slavery would be impossible. Why persist in this anti-American frame of mind? The unique government that was created by the Constitution and made possible by the Declaration, adopted the 13th Amendment; the rule of law established by it ended Jim Crow and school segregation, as well as permitted affirmative action. That government sent hundreds of thousands of men into battle to their deaths to realize the promise of equality in Jefferson’s words.

          Black Americans have every bit as much reason to celebrate the 4th as any others. Tell me: what good is served by adopting Rock’s ahistorical perspective? I look out on the crowd at the DC 4th of July celebration and see a dearth of black faces in a majority black city. Is this healthy? Does it help blacks, whites, Americans, the nation, race relations, mutual respect or civic dialogue for black Americans to hold themselves apart from the nation, patriots, the celebration of our origins, and recognition of the deeds of brave and visionary men? How? How is it productive to MAKE the holiday a white experience only? How is it helpful? How does it heal? I said Rock’s words are divisive, and they are. OK,they may accurately reflect a divisive attitude in black culture, based on by bitterness created by emotion and anger rather than perspective and rational consideration. But that’s not truth—that’s emphasizing a bias created by willful disdain for the truth. You seem to think that this makes it legitimate and right. It doesn’t, Charles. The Fourth of July is about American ideals, and it is those ideals that ended slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow, and is slowly but surely ending discrimination. By withholding their support of the Fourth, and symbolically, the good that is America and its meaning, blacks like Chris Rock are impeding racial progress, seeding the culture with resentment and hate, and undoing the painful progress that started in 1776.

          • The Declaration of Independence was the start of a process that continued to ending Jim Crow.

            No one can credibly argue that black people were freer on July 3, 1776 than July 4, 1876, let alone today.

    • There are certain things we do not say in today world!!! Like this Did you know that 85% of all violent crimes are committed by Blacks, and considering that blacks only make up 12-15% of the population thats a pretty big number. But if I stated that in public than i would be a racist! Right?? This whole country needs to focus on the real problems and thats the lack of work and turn around the recession we are in! We will never move forward if we concentrate on the mistakes that our nation has made and is continuing to make!!!

      • There are certain things we do not say in today world!!! Like this Did you know that 85% of all violent crimes are committed by Blacks, and considering that blacks only make up 12-15% of the population thats a pretty big number. But if I stated that in public than i would be a racist! Right??

        I think it would be racist, because the statistic you cited isn’t true. The following link shows that blacks commit about 26% of violent crime. Still too much, but nowhere near the 85% you cited.

        Click to access cvus40.pdf

        We will never move forward if we concentrate on the mistakes that our nation has made and is continuing to make!!!

        How does acknowledging history prevent you from moving forward? How can you correct your mistakes, and ensure that future mistakes are not made if you don’t delineate them as such in the past?

    • It ain’t Chris–he’s just doing a comedian’s job, pointing out truths lying just beneath the surface.

      Where did you get the idea that it is the comedian’s job to point out the truth that lies beneath the surface?

      • You are kidding, right?

        Try googling “the comedian’s job is” and see what you get.

        –Here’s a teaser: “as George Carlin once said, the comedian’s job is to figure out where the social line is and deliberately cross it.”
        –More: form the BBC, “Like Isaiah & Jeremiah, part of the comedian’s job is to observe life and challenge the way things are, or the way we look at the world.”
        –More: [from Dennis Leary] ““The comedian’s job is to find where the line in the sand is drawn and then cross over it.”

        Shall I go on?

        • I dunno, Charles. Was that your attitude toward Michael Richards’ rant? That sure crossed the lines. It also ended his career, and I’d call Rock’s tweet more harmful, if less overtly racist.

          • For the record, I agree with you that Michael Richards’ rant was way, way over the line. More importantly, nearly every media commentator and general public member agrees with both of us on that point.

            Chris Rock, however, has probably said exactly that same thing in HBO specials, DVDs and the like; and honestly not that many people get exercised by it. I don’t expect we’ll see Jerry Seinfeld trying to get him onto Leno to publicly rehabilitate him, for the simple reason he doesn’t need rehabilitation. It’s just not that far out there, IMHO.

            Rock’s tweet more harmful? I’d say we have to agree to disagree on that; I still see it as exactly in the mainstream middle of his stream of comedy, which I personally consider one of the smarter streams out there.

              • Have you ever seen Chris Rock perform? This joke is in line with most of his material. Its not racist, its not unethical, its just a joke. Watch one of his HBO specials and you will see that he doesnt let anyone off the hook.

                • I generally like Chris Rock, though I think his conception of public policy and history is less than informed. Rock appears on documentaries and other forums talking substance on race—when a comic does that, he better be damn sure that its clear when he is joking. I don’t see that tweet as a joke at all. It’s not funny, it’s snarky, and it’s crap. Lots of black comics get away with outright anti-white racism rooted in anger and bitterness. They should be called on it, People believe this crap, as the comments hear prove.

                  You know, even the slaves were given their independence from England in 1776—it just didn’t improve their condition much. It’s not called “Freedom Day.” There is no humor or fact or truth in the tweet. It just is calculated to piss off white people and mislead blacks. Nice job, Chris.

                  • Its no more meant to mislead blacks or piss off white people then his joke “There isnt a white person in this room that would szwitch places with me and Im rich.”

                    Iknow you dont like to agree to disagree so we will just ahve to agree that youre wrong and Im right.

                    • You really don’t see the difference? One is an arguable but perceptive observation/opinion, and the other is a lie and slander that many of his fans will take as confirmation of the justification for their own anger and estrangement from their country. One is “funny because it’s (kind of) true” (I’d switch places with Cris Rock, and I wouldn’t be as irresponsible as he is), the other isn’t funny because its a toxic lie that has impeded race relations. Comic have a lot of license, but not that much. Rock’s image is that he’s smart. Smart people do more damage than stupid people when they say something stupid, and his tweet was stupid. Not funny. Stupid.

                    • Personally, I would not switch with Rock because I find his “humor” vile and cannot listen to his annoying voice. I would be MISERABLE if I were him as there would be no escape from the mindset or sound. That does NOT make me racist or a skin head Nazi.

                      I would also not trade places with anyone in the Heinz family or Gore family.

                      See I believe it has NOTHING to do with color but in my belief that money does not compensate for things I believe are wrong or annoying. I think Rock is a shock-jock “comedian” and I believe his antics are purposefully in part to create and entice hate where he can.

                  • For some reason there is no “reply ” to your response to my last post so I will reply here.

                    You wrote:
                    ” One is an arguable but perceptive observation/opinion, and the other is a lie and slander that many of his fans will take as confirmation of the justification for their own anger and estrangement from their country.”

                    No they are just jokes, That’s it. Whether they are funny or not is up to the audience. Its not a political statement on Face The Nation. Its just a one liner that he threw out as a tweet.

                    His tweet is obviously a joke by the way it is structured. Its a set up line with a punch line. You as a director should be able to see that. If it helps say it in his voice with his delivery and inflection.

                    If it had been said by a prominent politician I would see your point but it wasn’t. It was said by a comedian whose primary goal and function is to tell jokes. Having an expectation that it is or should or could be anything more is like going to McDonalds and being upset that the food doesn’t taste like something you would get at the Inn at Little Washington. You go to one for burgers and the other for high priced cuisine and you hold them to different standards and different expectations form each.

                    • You can’t fall for that, Bill. A comic who deals in political commentary like Rock, Maher, Stewart, Colbert, Letterman, Woopie Goldberg,the Smothers brothers, Jackie Mason, Mort Sahl, Will Rogers, and others has a different accountability standard. They are not, like Jay Leno, Don Rickles, Dave Berry or Soupy Sales, in the “anything for a laugh” category. They court a particular partisan audience, and deal in serious commentary using humor. Ann Coulter is often as funny as Rock, as partisan as Rock, as shameless as Rock, but because she chooses the honest route of calling herself a political pundit, she doesn’t hide behind the “it was just a joke” dodge. Ditto Dennis Miller. When you use your humor to make political points, you should be judged on the validity of those points as well as how humorously they were delivered.

  5. It’s obviously a joke that didn’t work on twitter ,and may have not worked live, that and nothing more. You are blowing this way out of proportion.

  6. Lol. Ok people nobody alive today was in the fields picking cotton or getting sold off a cart. For them to be all bitter and trying to cast a shadow on this country’s main holiday is just pathetic and WHINY. If there are people who feel this country is so unfair, I encourage them to go move to another one!!! EVERY person of every race will encounter a racist – but for people alive today to be throwing shyte in our faces that we had nothing to do with (why don’t you go dig up our dead ancestors and beat them??!!) is just stupid. Considering half my tax dollars go to support people of other races on welfare who just don’t want to work and feel entitled, I think we’re all even here. 😛 #trollface

    • They can’t possibly sound any more WHINY than your comment. You need to have more tolerance for behavior similar to your own. If you don’t like the taxes, move to another country where there are none. I think there are still a few of those left.

  7. There is no need for black people to bring up racism on everything. Seriously, it’s always on the news, always in our faces, always shoved into our holiday celebrations. You know, you can tell a story once and it’s interesting. If you tell it 1,000 times, it just gets old and stale. Everyone knows what happened in history. For people who were not even alive then to be harping on about it like it was yesterday for every fricking thing, it’s hard to have any sympathy after a while. Many white immigrants faced pretty deplorable conditions moving over here too – working as slaves for rich people, losing their lives, limbs, etc. But try and find that in your history books. All kinds of people faced oppression in those days, some more than others. But this is today. We all ought to shut the bleep up and just be thankful for what we have instead of complaining about things that never happened to us anyway!! Right? #PutTheVictimCardAway

  8. What Chris Rock said was uncalled for…I am not white, I am not black. I am a natural born citizen of the USA. I am American and proud to be one. So what about the black people that did get their freedom when our country was born…is it OK for these black people to celebrate? Yes there were black people who became free such as Elizabeth Freeman. Sadly children look up to stupid and ignorant people like Chris and the example he has set by these ignorant words are shameful. He should apologize for this comment. If a white person would of said this it would have been ALL over the media. And for the man married to the women who said this is not my independence. So what? Just cause your one black wife feels that way does not mean all black people feel that way. I live in an area where there are many educated black people and white people are the minority here. And let me tell you, fourth of July is celebrated here! If you are an American, than this is your country. Respect, pride and honor in our country should be taught to our children, not stupidity and divisiveness.

    • Thank you. I decided that the readers arguing with me yesterday were on Ethics Alarms because they didn’t celebrate the 4th….a skewed sample. I was waiting for a response like yours, because I knew they had to be out there.

      • Jack,

        This kind of silliness reminds me of nothing more than folks back in the 70s who argued that if someone didn’t put flag decals on their car they were unpatriotic. Love it or leave it. If you don’t like this country go somewhere else. All that STUPID stuff.

        I defy you or anyone else to tell me I’m unpatriotic. Or that I don’t celebrate the 4th. It is insulting, and you shouldn’t be tolerating that kind of nonsense from people–much less encouraging it yourself, as you just did in this last comment.

        The tone-deaf inability to distinguish symbolism from the thing that it is supposed to symbolize is exactly the kind of jingoistic, narrow-minded thinking that got us into Vietnam and Iraq, gave us great ideas like Freedom Fries, and generally make us appear completely clueless elsewhere in the world.

        In a country so full of diversity, it is astonishing how intolerant the majority can be. And by the way I’ll lay $100 that Americana, who says “I am not white, I am not black,” is white.

        Just because your version of being American fits certain stereotypical symbolic ways of celebrating independence doesn’t mean it should be the only way. Isn’t that what this country is supposed to be about?

        • But Charles, we’re not talking about patriotism, are we? We’re talking about someone trying to foment hate and bitterness between races by misrepresenting reality. No, refusing to wear a lapel pin or fly a flag isn’t unpatriotic, but someone who says they won’t do these things because the US is an evil force in the world, a la Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, IS unpatriotic. Not celebrating any holiday is a personal choice. Denigrating the event that launched the celebration, however, is something else, especially if it is based on misrepresentations and confusion. It’s not nonsense. I think it’s even more important than I originally thought, based on your comments.

          I think the determination to hold the Founders responsible for not ending slavery when it was not possible to do so, and refusing to respect and honor the founding of the US based on a factually wrong reading of history is affirmatively harmful to both races and the nation, as I wrote before. I lost a great deal of respect for Thurgood Marshall when he said, late in life, that the 4th of July wasn’t his holiday, as a black man. It was inexcusable—he owed his fame, in Brown, and his career, on the Supreme Court, to that day. What the hell was he talking about? It was just bitterness and ingratitude, and as a leader and scholar, inexcusable. No wonder so many African-Americans take the same destructive view. Marshall carries 100X more weight than Chris Rock. But Rock’s comment was no joke, and neither is the damage done by the widespread attitude that you seem to be endorsing.

          • But Charles, we’re not talking about patriotism, are we? We’re talking about someone trying to foment hate and bitterness between races by misrepresenting reality.

            But the whole thing is, Rock was not misrepresenting reality. This is what he said: “Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks” Slaves were *not* free on that day. That much is indisputable. One former slave even wrote a very famous speech about it. Since slaves weren’t considered citizens either before or after the War, their status was unchanged. What is the point of celebrating independence from British rule when you can be sold on the auction block at any time? Whether slaves enoyed fireworks is up for debate I suppose, but doesn’t seem to be the bone of contention.

            You mentioned upthread that all Americans were free from the (metaphorical) shackles of British rule, those cruel despots who demanded taxes from their subjects. But what of the millions of people left in literal shackles, to be whipped and raped, used and abused? You seem to want all black people to mindlessly wave a flag, and forget the sacrifices of their ancestors, whose own lack of both freedom and independence made this country possible, because the existence of slavery during this time makes you feel uncomfortable, and perhaps puts some of the Founding Fathers in a less than heroic light.

            History can be uncomfortable, and may even be divisive. However, to state facts, as Rock did, is not racist, nor unethical.

            • Rephrasing a falsehood doesn’t make it less false. The 4th, called “Independence Day,” celebrates more than the technical separation from the Brits, which really didn’t happen until we won the war. It celebrates the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the nation as well, both of which greatly benefited every single African American living in this country today (as well as the rest of the world). The fact that blacks—most of them at least, were not free is irrelevant to the celebration, and irrelevant to black Americans showing fair respect for the brave and far-sighted men who were architects of the world’s first modern republic. Lots wasn’t accomplished in 1776. Women still couldn’t vote; whites could be indentured into servitude; there was cruel punishment, and religious persecution. By Rock’s idiotic and ignorant standards, nobody should celebrate the birth of the nation.

              This is NOT a white holiday, and it is a racist statement to say so. You can spin all day…it doesn’t make Rock less of an irresponsible jerk, if he knows the history, or an ignorant and reckless one, if he doesn’t.

          • He didn’t miss represent reality -I mean what is that? He spoke to a historical reality in a comedic manner. Twisting reality is stating that the founding fathers were attempting to create a race neutral country. I applaud the few founding fathers who spoke against slavery but we know they were a minute miniority. On the 4th I honered Crispus Attucks & the hope this country actually becomes fair & just for all.

  9. Like Charles, I also celebrated the 4th. with my neighbors at our annual parade and picnic. My husband and I hung our flag that he brought back from Viet Nam. We sat on our front porch last night and watched the neighbor kids set off fireworks and had the hose handy so they wouldn’t set our house on fire.

    Chris Rock made a good point in typical Chris Rock style. It reminded me (and apparently, Deery) of a similar point Frederick Douglass made over 150 years ago. “Invoke: to appeal to or cite in support of justification.” No one said Chris Rock is exactly like Frederick Dougalss, but he brought him to mind. Rock’s point should give everyone pause, then they should go out and celebrate the 4th any way they wish. Or not.

  10. My forefathers were loyalists and native Americans~the loyalists were kicked out in the snow with their kids on Christmas~we fought the Americans when they invaded Canada~Should I be bitter? Hell No! This is my country good or bad! Long may Old Glory wave. We are condemned for slavery! May the union dead rise up and condemn the desecration of their giving of their all to get rid of the scourgr of slavery!!!!

  11. Maybe next April 18, Rock will humor the world with a similar tweet about Zimbabwe: “Happy Mugabe takeover day the country’s a mess but of course the proper guy is in charge.”

      • For some reason I cant reply to your replies to my posts. so here we go.

        I figured out what the problem is.

        You don’t what funny is, or at least your taste is 30 years out of date, when you say :

        “Jay Leno, Don Rickles, Dave Berry or Soupy Sales, in the “anything for a laugh” “category.

        Jay Leno has never been funny. Ever. The only people who think he is funny are the people who thought Carson was rude and obscene. Leno should be the MC on a cruise ship not hosting the Tonight Show.

        Rickles hasn’t been funny in 30 years but in his day he was a as you say “anything for a laugh” comedian. And most likely the closest to Chris Rock. Either him or Buddy Hacket.

        Dave Berry is what white yuppies in the suburbs think is funny. That’s about it. I’ve never seen his humor or thought highly of him at all.

        Soupy Sales I wont say anything bad about because he is well Soupy Sales and I always thought he was funny.

        But the main problem is I don’t see Rock as a “political” comedian like you do. As for the ones you did mention I don’t pay attention to any of them, especially Maher and Miller. I find the two of them to be arrogant “know it alls” that if I saw them on the street I would push them in front of a bus.

        Basically I just see him as comedian, you obviously don’t, its not like he was Bill Hicks.

  12. What is astounding is that anyone with even minimal intelligence would find Mr. Rock’s (I’m still not sure who or what he is) comments worthy of notice. I mean, it’s not as if he were anybody IMPORTANT or anything.

  13. Fred Luter explains it

    But you cannot deny the fact that there will be some, and there are some, who still have a problem with the skin. And I told folks yesterday that I was talking to, we don’t have a skin problem in America. We have a sin problem. And until we deal with our sin problem, we will always have a skin problem.

    Now that is the truth that lies beneath the surface.

  14. Its simply true. Its funy also. It was a clever way to remind us all not everyone benifited from yhe end of British reign. If truth makes one uncomfortable that’s a mental health issue. I don’t see why Blacks & Whites simply didn’t just get a chuckle out of it.

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