Chris Rock just showed the world the difference between activism and complaining. Instead of quitting or boycotting the 88th Annual Academy Awards, which is unlikely to have much effect, the actor took the stage and used the bully pulpit it affords to actually spend a little time in real talk about what Hollywood’s “racism” problem actually is: opportunity, or more to the point, lack of opportunity.
“I am here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as ‘The White People’s Choice Awards,'” Chris Rock opened the monologue. Not many people really likes to have their privilege shoved in their face — yet somehow Chris Rock managed to hold up the actual problems demonstrated by the #OscarsSoWhite controversy with a measured wit and humor that forced us all to take a long, hard look at why it bothers us, and in some cases — why it doesn’t.
You realize, if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job? That’s right, you all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.
Covering everything from Jada Pinkett Smith boycotting, and the reason that he indeed did not boycott, to the fact that white actors just get more opportunities to work in roles that will probably garner nominations Rock still managed to make the speech funny.
The issue of racism in Hollywood is not a “microcosm” of the racism in the United States, other than much of the underlying difficulty boils down to lacking equal opportunity. Like Rock says, the racism in Hollywood is of an elitist variety, in his words “sorority,” where people like black actors, they just aren’t “Kappa’s”.
The racism most black Americans feel every day is of a more “you might get killed today doing something that will get a white person a ticket,” variety.
Watch Chris Rock rip the band-aid off and expose exactly what the problem is, “not everything is racism, not everything is sexism,” but some of it is and it is up to us to call a spade a spade, and up to us to correct it. One of the ways to be sure to never correct it is to ignore it.
Watch the full monologue here, courtesy of YouTube:
Featured image via screen capture