If the pen is mightier than the sword then the tongue is mightier than a hashtag.
I’m talking about Chris Rock’s mouth and the Oscar So White hashtag.
Rock took on the Hollywood establishment on Sunday night, and of course it came with a heavy degree criticism like:
-He crossed a line.
-He didn’t address this.
-He didn’t address that.
-How dare he make a joke like this one, about why blacks didn’t protest until now?
Chris Rock: “You gotta figure that it happened in the 50’s and the 60’s and black people didn’t protest. Why? Because we had real things to protest at that time. You know? We’re too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematographer. You know when you’re grandmother’s swinging from a tree it’s really hard to care about Best Documentary Foreign Short.”
That’s why the blowback for that joke is mind boggling.
What he is saying here is, yes, on some level it is unfortunate that there were no black nominees for Oscars this year.
However, let’s get our priorities straight.
There are more important issues for black folks to be outraged about like, jobs, the economy, health care, crime and education.
You feel me?
It was Rock’s way of making both blacks and whites think.
He’s a comedian.
He’s supposed to be provocative – and ironic, like that Stacey Dash moment.
Chris Rock; “The Academy has taken steps to fix this problem. And that is why it is my honor to introduce the new director of our minority outreach program. Please welcome Miss Stacey Dash. ((Applause)).”
Stacey Dash: “I cannot wait to help my people out. Happy Black History month! Thank you!” ((Applause))
After Dash delivered her punchline you could hear crickets in the room!
Most people didn’t get it.
Because most of the people in the room were white, liberals who had no idea who Stacey Dash even was.
That’s no shade to Stacey Dash.
It’s just confirmation that sometimes we give too much attention, positively or negatively, for whatever reason to people like Dash with whom we might disagree.
We also give her comments, which only reach a certain, targeted segment of the population, too much credit when some things are better left in the dark not to be illuminated by twitter trends.
You still with me?
If so, here’s another one describing how racism in Hollywood exists in a more subtle form than the white, liberals who live there may consciously be aware:
Chris Rock: “It’s a different type of racist. Now I remember one night I was at a fundraiser for President Obama. A lot of you were there. And you know it’s me, and all of Hollywood. And it’s all of us there. And it’s about four black people there: me, uh let’s see. Quincy Jones, Russell Simmons, QuestLove. You know, the usual suspects right? And every black actor that wasn’t working. Needless, to say Kev Hart was not there. O.K.? So, at some point you get to take a picture with the president, and, you know as they’re setting up the picture you get a little moment with the president.
I’m like, “Mr. President, you see all these writers and producers and actors? They don’t hire black people, and they’re the nicest, white people on earth! They’re liberals! Cheese!”
So, is Hollywood racist?
Hollywood is no different than anywhere else or any other place or any other industry.
Here’s a broader question, is your workplace or company racist?
Look around you and be honest about the people who are constantly invited to the table or into the rooms where decisions are being made?
Who are the faces or the representatives of your company?
What do they look like and where do they come from?
Let’s move the “Spotlight” beyond Hollywood and ask ourselves is #MyJobSoWhite?