You know, I have zero interest in celebrities. But I stumbled upon this interview with Chris Rock, and I thought his answers were very interesting.
Re. Barack Obama:
Dude, being the first black anything sucks. But the country was in shambles, and he's cleaning it up. If you properly clean a room, it gets dirtier before it gets cleaner. Ever come back to your hotel room before the maids are finished? My God! Republicans are complaining. Romney's complaining. But Romney's rich. He doesn't know shit about cleaning.
Re. the Trayvon Martin shooting:
When you get old, it's like, "Damn it, I've seen this." I'm from Bed-Stuy. I marched for Yusuf Hawkins, you know? I don't totally agree with Bill Cosby. He said it wasn't racial, it's a gun issue. Well, it's a gun-racial issue. You know what makes you approach a six-foot-three black guy in the middle of the night? A gun.
My first year on SNL, I made $90,000 dollars. And I bought a red Corvette for $45,000 dollars. I'm thinking, "I've got 45 grand left!" Taxes didn't even come into my equation. At the end of the first year of making 90 grand I was 25, 30 in the hole. We live in this baller, spend-money culture. But they never show you the outskirts of Vegas or Atlantic City. That's what most of the country is becoming.
Re. his childhood:
I was bused to a school in Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn in 1972. I was one of the first black kids in the history of the school. There were parents with signs: nigger go home. For all intents and purposes, the United States had been practicing apartheid until '68. I was spit on every day. I had water balloons with piss thrown at me. I was fucking Carrie.
That last part is what got me. Sorry, but I don't think of 1972 as being that long ago. Do you think those racists aren't still around? Do you think they didn't raise children?
Remember, in 1972, the Republican Party was busy wooing white racists in their notorious 'Southern strategy.' That was their brilliant plan to take control of the South and then control America.
And it was brilliant - politically, at least. It worked like a charm. Those racists are now the GOP base. The Republicans took the South from the Democrats and, with relatively brief exceptions, have dominated politically ever since. They've turned America to the right, the hard right. Even the Democrats have moved to the right.
Now, sure, they didn't bring back segregation. That was a lost cause. They don't even argue for such things anymore. They're very careful to pay lip service to racial equality, even as they wink and nod.
They're busy losing on other fronts, too - like gay rights. But they've used their political power to get what the GOP establishment really wanted (like tax cuts for the rich, plenty of wars, and a Supreme Court that equates money with speech).
Don't think that 1972 is gone and forgotten. Chris Rock hasn't forgotten it, I'm sure. I haven't forgotten it. Those racists haven't forgotten it. Even if you weren't born then, the past is in all of us. As William Faulkner wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."