I love Chris Rock’s stand-up act, but I hate the fact that he helped legitimized the belief many people have that Blacks can be split up into two neatly defined groups: Blacks and Niggers. I’m not a huge fan of any dichotomy (good & evil, etc.), but the fact that more and more people see this as a meaningful delineation really bothers me. Not only that, but many people don’t see this as a racist viewpoint.
It’s not just the use of the term nigger (which I personally abhor), it’s the distinction that is made. Whether it’s presented as blacks who act black vs. black who act white, or safe blacks vs. street blacks, the problem remains. Somehow, going from thinking all blacks are niggers to thinking only some of the are is consider progress.
Why is this attitude not considered disgusting and racist by much of the general public?
1)Because it is part of his stand up act. He hasn’t yet gone all Bill Cosby on they asses. While the joke has an element of truth and certainly a point to it, it is still a joke.
2)Because he is a member in good standing of the race in question. Jokes of that nature are always more palatable when they come from a person of the same race.
3)This could fall into 1 as a sort of 1a, but I’ll post it here to avoid a running gag. Because it is a really funny joke. If it were less funny, people would spend less time laughing and more time being offended.
Is it me, or is the board having some sort of humor deficiency lately?
Because it is not a new phenomenon and there is an element of truth to it. With any demographic group that migrates to a new culture, there is often friction between those who embrace the new culture and those that want to keep the “old ways”. Those that embrace the new culture often view those that don’t as “simple” or “backward” (niggers, FOBs (Fresh Off the Boat), etc). Those that want to keep the old ways view the other group as “sell outs” or as ignoring their heritage.
The difference is that Chris Rock is not talking about a split between blacks who embrace American middle class values and those embracing their African or Jamaican heritage. He is talking about blacks who embrace a juvenile “gangsta” culture of drugs, hos, crime and hip hop. You may disagree with his use of the racially charged term, but he is describing an actual phenomenon.
There’s always somebody who tried to be the funny guy. This has little to do with Chris Rock. I only mentioned him because the title of this thread comes from his act. All he did was point out something that exists. So no, he is not a spokesperson.
Again, this is not about Chris Rock. Yes, his jokes were funny. My problem is that people tend to generally think this is a valid dichotomy. There is nothing valid about the belief that all blacks can be split up into blacks and niggers.
OK, It’s pretty clear I should have never mentioned Chris Rock. I have no problem with him and I think his joke was funny. Since when is laziness, ignorance, and criminality part of black culture? This isn’t a old culture, new culture thing. You would have a point if the term nigger was a recent word exclusively applied to blacks who have exhibited that behavior. The term was applied to all blacks regardless of how they acted.
Well yes, that’s the sanitized version of how people view the distinction. However, there really is no distinction. Black people don’t fall into two separate groups. Like all people, there are losers among us, but no black person “acts white” or is a “nigger”. These terms have no real meaning outside of a racist construct. White people don’t only act a certain way that makes this a meaningful expression. I understand people view any black person in nice clothes who can speak standard English as an honorary white man, but it doesn’t mean this perspective isn’t grounded in racism. My problem is that this seems to be becoming more acceptable to express this viewpoint.
Look the word has a history. There was no distinction made…any African-American regardless of behaviour was a nigger. It was slur, used to put down whomever had the complexion to fit. We’ve been unable to excise the word from our vocabuary, and now need a reason to keep using it and not get tagged. Many a white person will say, “those niggers”, but I don’t mean YOU. WTF? The word has a meaning…it never meant ‘African-Americans who behave in a manner we don’t like’. And while I’m all for language modifying as time goes by, who are we kidding? I don’t, and I may be wrong, believe that when people say nigger, they mean those who Chris Rock makes fun of in his act…but I may be wrong.
The biggest sin, was that African-Americans incorporated the word into their own vocabuary; as opposed forcing it to remaining a slur; used against them as opposed to using it as a self-descriptor.
Think about it, can you go around saying that lazy Jews are kikes, but hard working Jews aren’t? It doesn’t transcend, because society didn’t allow it to…for some reason society has now managed to create a distinction between niggers and blacks, but I believe it is a distinction of convenience.
And while we as a society have slurs that relate to a specific behaviour for all ‘racial’ groups, those terms for the most part are unique, created for the purpose of isolating those ‘bad’ groups from the majority of their ‘group’.
I don’t believe nigger is one of those terms and most likely never will be.
I think you hit most of the points I would have made. However, I also think we may be getting too hung up on the word. It’s not just the word, it’s the dichotomy that’s a problem. Most racial groups aren’t split up the way black people are. I think that’s more of a problem than the word is.
Some words seem to have a built in meaning, regardless of how their use is meant. Nigger is one of those words, if used by someone who isn’t Black. When Cochell said what he did, it showed that he still holds to a view that Black people are somehow different from Whites. Even tho he says he hadn’t meant it in a derogatory way, that word carries its own weight of meaning. For him to use it in the way he did, separating good Blacks from niggers, shows that he understands this meaning, betraying a racist (mild or not) attitude.
FTR, I also dislike the term African American. Not as much, because I find the phrase merely awkward and not repugnant. What do I call a Black person in Poland or the UK or Cuba?
As they’re not American…Polish, Cuban and specify which part of the UK they’re in. If you have to ask what to call people of African ancestry in other countries, it’s not surprising you find the term African-American awkward…it doesn’t apply to them.
However, I also consider racists attitudes to be a normal, if unpleasant, aspect of human nature, along with sexism, ageism, nationalism… all those “isms” we use to divide people up into Us and Them come pretty naturally to most people, to some degree.
Seriously though, there is an aspect of black culture that does produce a culture of laziness, ignorance, and criminality, especially in impoverished communties. It is not unique to blacks, but it is very real. There are plenty of white communities where this is the case as well. We call them “poor white trash” or “trailer trash”. But basically it’s the same thing. The difference is that in the black community it is a more dispropotionate segment of the population.
Political corectness, IMHO, is the opposite of prejudice. Predjudice takes stereotypes and cultural and demographic trends and applies them individuals while political correctness stereotypes and cultural and demographic trends and simply pretends they don’t exist.
Then call them criminals…why call them niggers? What’s the purpose of that?
There was never a time when ANY white person, regardless of their social standing was called white trash OR denied the ability to function as a member of society, because they were all perceived as white trash and that’s the difference…remember white trash was still a step above being a nigger at a time when ALL African-Americans were considered niggers…regardless of their ’ culture of laziness, ignorance, and criminality’.
There is a history to this stuff…White people have to prove they’re white trash. African-American have to prove, they’re not niggers. A very different dynamic, and one that can’t be waved away with claims of PC.
Wow! What a concept: within any group of people you will find the good with the bad. Oh, my. Just trying to wrap my head around that has given me the vapors. I must go lie down.
Chris Rock’s act is a *comedy * routine. Comedians use hyperbole and distortions for its effect. I really don’t think many of Rock’s fans leave the show thinking in terms of the narrow dichotomy that you suggest nor do I see this dichotomy entering the public mindset.
I realize that there are some out there who have a hard time seeing shades of grey, but even for them it would be an improvement to see a group as having good *and * bad as opposed to *all good * or all bad.
Yeah, but I think the word respresents the dichotomy in it’s simplist form. It like the Madonna, Whore syndrome. There’s no allowance for full range of humanity in the African-American community. You’re either this paragone of virtue (good black kid) or you’re a welfare cheat, who has a culture of ignorance and criminality (nigger).
However by pointing out that an African-American is ‘good’ kid, the logical conclusion is that he is the exception to the usual bad ones that are running around.
While i understand your relutance at focusing on the word, I think that it’s sheer ugliness as a term, reflects the ugliness of the attitude it represents and is a slap in the face for some people who view such discomfort as a matter of thin skinness or PCness gone amuck.
Although Chris Rock is a comedian, many people take him and his words more seriously than a thousand Jesse Jacksons, Colin Powells, and Condoleezas.
I’ve heard the nigger/good black dichotomy shit paraphrased out of probably a couple dozen white mouths (and a couple of black ones).
This bit has served to reinforce the dichotomy in these peoples’ minds. Although it was not intended to do so, obviously – Chris Rock just wants to entertain and get paid, he’s not looking to revolutionize consciousness that I’m aware of.
The “well he’s just a comedian, who cares what he says” response is inane.
And while you could say that anyone who takes the words of a comedian to heart is an idiot…well, yeah, pretty much. Dick Gregory, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, et. al. had a lot of good things to say and a sizable impact, but I’m not going to immediately take anything they might have to say to heart. That does not, however, mean that there do not exist people who will.
Such is life.
It’s sad and it isn’t fair, but until enough people who don’t look even remotely similar have fucked this country to a medium-brown, these racial distinctions and their historical backing will exist.