Since August, this country has been engaging in one of the most controversial, intense, and sometimes ignored issue we as all Americans must face: racism. After the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri by the hands of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson there’s been a spotlight focused on how Black Americans within this country are still poorly treated.
Overall, there’s been a look at how there are still race issues when it comes to the treatment of Blacks, Latinos, and other non-white Americans in this country.
From school, to work, to any other social institution there has been hot topic discussions regarding how people of color are treated in relation to whites. And after the failed indictments seen last month in bringing justice for the slaying of Brown and Eric Garner—a black man from Staten Islandwho was murdered by New York City Officer Daniel Pantaleo—there’s been a rise in protests demanding a change to the institutionalize racism that permits the continued mistreat of non-white Americans.
But in-regards to the treatment of Blacks, Latinos, and non-white Americans in Hollywood—and outside really—there’s been one celebrity who has been outspoken. Using both his Twitter account and whenever he’s being interview to discuss the matter of race in this country, comedian and actor Chris Rock has been sharing his insight on this country’s issue with race and hitting it exactly on the nose.
While promoting his upcoming film Top Five, Rock does not contain his thoughts on race relations in this country to his Twitter but has also been utilizing his interviews for the film as a platform to vent and share his thoughts on the subject and its relation to politics, role models of color, Ferguson, Hollywood, and other social settings in this country.
In his most recent interview, Rock decided to present an essay in-which discusses his personal experience as a black man trying to break into the entertainment industry that’s mostly more welcoming to whites and how Hollywood treats Latinos and non-whites who are trying to do the same as he once did.
When talking about being Black in Hollywood, Rock describes how Black actors who are already established tend to help out other Black actors break into the industry. From his experience, Rock relates how actors like Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and Keenen Wayans helped him with his earlier roles because there was ideally no other way to break into the industry and no one else would really help to do so.
“And I try to help young black guys coming up…Eddie didn’t have to put me in Beverly Hills Cop II. Keenen Wayans didn’t have to put me in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. Arsenio didn’t have to let me on his show. I’d do the same for a young white guy, but here’s the difference: Someone’s going to help the white guy. Multiple people will. The people whom I’ve tried to help, I’m not sure anybody was going to help them.”
On the matter of Latinos in the industry, Rock describes how there appears to be a Latino slave state occurring within the entertainment industry. According to Rock, Hollywood doesn’t truly appear to be “Mexican Enough” because Latinos are not exactly being hired to appear on the silver screen but perhaps clean them and care for those who control the industry itself.
“Forget whether Hollywood is black enough. A better question is: Is Hollywood Mexican enough? You’re in L.A, you’ve got to try not to hire Mexicans. It’s the most liberal town in the world, and there’s a part of it that’s kind of racist — not racist like ‘F— you, nigger’ racist, but just an acceptance that there’s a slave state in L.A. There’s this acceptance that Mexicans are going to take care of white people in L.A. that doesn’t exist anywhere else. I remember I was renting a house in Beverly Park while doing some movie, and you just see all of the Mexican people at 8 o’clock in the morning in a line driving into Beverly Park like its General Motors. It’s this weird town,”
Rock then goes on to question this acceptance on the treatment of Latinos in the industry, and how Latinos—just like Blacks—in this country are capable of having more of a role within the entertainment industry like other white actors if given the voice to do so.
“You’re telling me no Mexicans are qualified to do anything at a studio? Really? Nothing but mop up? What are the odds that that’s true? The odds are, because people are people, that there’s probably a Mexican David Geffen mopping up for somebody’s company right now. The odds are that there’s probably a Mexican who’s that smart who’s never going to be given a shot.
And it’s not about being given a shot to greenlight a movie because nobody is going to give you that — you’ve got to take that. The shot is that a Mexican guy or a black guy is qualified to go and give his opinion about how loud the boings are in Dodgeball or whether it’s the right shit sound you hear when Jeff Daniels is on the toilet in Dumb and Dumber. It’s like, ‘We only let white people do that.’
This is a system where only white people can chime in on that. There would be a little naiveté to sitting around and going, ‘Oh, no black person has ever greenlighted a movie,’ but those other jobs? You’re kidding me, right? They don’t even require education. When you’re on the lower levels, they’re just about taste, nothing else. And you don’t have to go to Harvard to have taste.”
Largely what Rock talks about in his essay, as well in other vehicles where he wants to be heard, is the continued acceptance of the barriers placed by the existence of institutionalize racism. Whether it’s in education, business, or whatever other mode of a societal structure there is some form of a structure that permits the continued acceptance of whites retaining the ability to progress and gain power while non-whites are either limited or lack any mobility to do so merely because of the color of their skin.
While there has been progression in breaking down institutionalize racism within various institutions, the presence within important areas are still very present. One such area is the police department where racial discrimination is largely practiced because it is still—in some way—being trained and accepted by those who are sworn to protect us all.
It’s this notion why there’s been an increased in protesting across the country; joining in really with the protests that’s been occurring in Ferguson since Brown’s death. Civil unrest is the only way to voice the concern of something people do not agree with, feel safe with, and no longer want to be burden with in order to stir change within the institution where this problem exists.
Another way to end issues that trouble us: become informed.
Much like what Rock has been doing through his Twitter and interviews, he is trying to reach out and get people to start critically thinking about the problem with race in this country. When you think critically about a subject you begin to think of ways to solve it. So, while we are in a state of unrest and we know have the matter of race under a microscope hopefully it can be solved so that there will not be another Sean Bell, Tamar Rice, Eric Garner, or Michael Brown incident.