A Critique of Chris Rock’s Oscar 2016 Monologue

Chris Rock’s Oscars monologue could have been so much for an Academy Awards Ceremony that is seeped in controvery, with celebrities boycotting from left to right: Jada Pinkett Smith for #OscarsSoWhite, and the only Trans Nominee ANOHNI for transgender rights and..global capitalism?

But no, the African-American host for the controversially white Oscars was unapologetic, and balked at his chance at really drawing out and unifying the theme of the scattered boycotts and social media attention.

Is Hollywood racist? Is Hollywood racist?
You know, that’s a…you gotta look at it the right way.

“Is Hollywood racist?” – that’s an easy question when caucasian actors and actresses play People of Color (POC) parts (see Emma Stone), and the number of lead character parts for POC is basically nil.

But Chris Rock reveals the first of many signs that he is working for the Academy, and does not support #OscarsSoWhite when he fails to immediately answer that question with a , “Hell yes!”

Instead he continues, not answering the question just yet, by comparing the #OscarsSoWhite controversy with lynching and slavery. Yes, it all looks so petty after he brings up the image of one’s “grandma swinging from a tree”

He’s irreverant, he’s funny in the stereotypically black way – like Tyler Perry’s work – and his whole monologue reeks of that awkward laugh-off that privileged people do when they are attacked. “Kids these days,” they say, twirling their stemware, “Am I right?”

Chris Rock is the spokesperson of the Oscars, and he does his job well. His race is just an added bonus.

So Chris Rock here – basically the Oscars man; I’d call him Oscar, but then it would be too much like comparing him to Oscar from the Proud Family – is speaking for the Oscars, he’s basically the Oscars – except, you know, black-er and funnier.

I’m going to repeat that, because how important is this revelation? Chris Rock is the Oscars – he’s views, his jokes, and his opinion are that of the establishment!

So of course his monologue is only as funny and conservative as tradition allows.

I mean, he perpetuates stereotypes, and says that not everything is about race, decrying the boycotts as useless in just 10 minutes.

Hey, if you want black nominees every year, you need to just have black categories. […] If you want black people every year at the Oscars, just have black categories like Best Black Best Friend.

 

He’s kidding right? He’s kidding… People laughed, right? Did he just advocate “Seperate but Equal”?

The whole idea that the Oscars categories should be racially seperated, and racially seperated in such a way as to perpetuate racial stereotypes is so surreal to me, because race is just a social construct.

There’s no innate universal rule – even though it may seem that way – that black people are the quirky sidekicks to the more serious caucasian hero/heroine. And there shouldn’t be awards that perpetuate such an idea.

Chris Rock is literally advocating for racial segregation in the Oscars, and I can’t tell if he’s serious or not. It’s absolutely maddening.

His monologue was an opportunity to validate #OscarsSoWhite (given the color of his skin, and all that), an opportunity to use the Oscars platform to speak about Hollywood’s racial inclinations, but he instead makes a bunch of awkward would-be jokes that barely distinguise his pro-Oscars ideology..

(My Monologue quotes are from the NYT)

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