Last night I watched the new Comedy Special on Netflix featuring Chris Rock. I will refrain from sharing my indifferent opinion on the entire skit, instead, for the purpose of this blog, I want to break down one particular segment that I feel requires some rebuttal.
Chris throughout his skit mentions his children, being a father, a husband, an unfaithful husband, and offers some thoughts on how you should parent, love, and change. To “Mr.Rocks” credit, I feel most of the advice was genuine, with his experience being the enforcer to his words. One part in particular really made me cringe in disagreement. In story, Chris speaks about his recent outing to his daughters high school freshman orientation. Although his comments on the bullshit teachers preach to kids about the world is fairly accurate and comical, I disagree on his view on teachers telling students, “You can be whatever you want to be!”
The punch line was, “If you can be anything you want to be then why did you chose to be a Vice Principle?” Followed by an array of laughter and claps from the audience.
Okay, Mr. Rock, I see you. I feel you. I don’t think we should give advice we haven’t taken ourselves. My question though…
If the Vice Principle doesn’t preach this to your kids, who is?
His answer to such opposition, “We need to teach kids the real truth. Like, maybe like 4 of you can be whatever you want to be. I see like 30 Uber drivers in the crowd!”
The crowd erupts again in laughter.
Yes, Mr. Rock, this is true. You’re exactly right, out of all the students in the orientation, less than a handful will really do, be, and achieve all they have ever wanted. This is the hard reality and I feel honesty is exactly what is required to be taught to young generations.
Where I must slighlty challenge you is your position that we should engrain the truth in the fashion of telling kids of color and minorities that they will always be punished from the “white man” and to expect a life of oppression. I do not disagree that racism and prejudice does not exist in our world, because this is far from the truth. I do not disagree that children should be informed on the realities of life.
I disagree on your delivery. You suggested multiple orientations for blacks, asians, mexicans, and other groups that he felt are oppressed in America. You suggested we tell these kids they, “Aren’t special,” and, “Ya’ll aint shit.” He went into explaining that we need to tell these suppressed groups that their lives are always going to be answering the “white man.”
I understand this is comedy. I get it, it’s jokes. As a comedian of his reach and position of power however, the influence of the words spoken have a great impact on the world. Jokes aside, this shit isn’t funny.
C’mon Chris! The “white man?”
He cracks a joke that no one in the audience is in the “white man group,” so they are all “cool.” He is referencing the big G, the government. I get it, statistically you might have some validity.
How is beating down the problem ever going to be the means to finding a solution?
Like, when is this shit going to stop. Oppression starts with us. Yes, I am a white, male, privileged man who never has had to worry about racism and a lot of the bad shit that happens in this world. Yes, true. Also true, when you implant an idea into a young mind it molds such minds to think in particular patterns. If you tell a young mind that it will be oppressed simply due to the fact they breathe, this puts children in an even greater disadvantage to win in life. Since children spend more time in school than they do at home, it's absolutely crucial that children hear positive affirmation. If a child's environment teaches them to already think this way, how do you think they will be when they grow up and have children of their own? The viscous cycle continues.
How about we continue to tell students they can be whatever they want to be? How about we do express that life’s going to be hard. Yes, it’s going to be hard. So fucking hard.
If you believe Chris, so be it.
I’m here to plea in agreement to our duties as human beings that it’s our job to express to children of all backgrounds that they absolutely can be whatever it is they want in this life. It won’t be easy. Most will fail. Most will give up. But, for the few, the few that see it through, the few that never give up, those few, will be rewarded and it doesn’t matter what the color of your skin is, where you grew up, and all the shit that has happened in your life.
Life doesn’t reward a particular color of skin. Life rewards those who refuse to live oppressed in their pursuit of receiving the maximum enjoyment out of life.
Winners win. Losers lose. You choose.
18 For 30.