Although the First Amendment protects the right of comedians to joke about virtually anything, there are some subjects that simply aren’t funny and are extremely distasteful.
According to The Daily Wire, famed comedian Chris Rock didn’t get the message.
In a new comedy special for Netflix, Rock joked about “racist” police shooting white people to make it appear as though they aren’t racist.
“Here’s my question,” Rock began in his “Tambourine” special. “You would think that cops would occasionally shoot a white kid just to make it look good. You would think every couple of months they’d look at their dead n**** calendar and go, ‘Oh my God, we’re up to 16! We gotta shoot a white kid quick!'”
“I wanna live in a world with real equality,” he continued. “I want to live in a world where an equal amount of white kids are shot every month. I wanna see white mothers on TV, crying, standing next to Al Sharpton, talkin’ about, ‘We need justice for Chad.'”
Rock’s joke wasn’t only tasteless — it wasn’t based in reality.
As it turns out, police do indeed shoot “white kids” in greater numbers than “black kids.”
Black Harvard economist Roland Fryer found this to be true after compiling thousands of police use-of-force incidents from 10 large police departments across the country, according to The Washington Times in July of 2016.
Though Fryer concluded that police were twice as likely to engage physically with minority suspects than with white ones, “we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account” when it comes to greatest use of force, officer-involved shootings.
Around the same time, The Washington Post reluctantly agreed with the conclusion that more white people than black people are shot by police based upon their own analysis of police shooting statistics, though their analysis showed that when the raw numbers were adjusted for population percentages, blacks were roughly 2.5 times more likely to be shot than whites.
Even the reliably liberal “fact-checker” Snopes reached a similar conclusion, that based upon population percentages and absolute numbers, more white people were shot by police but at a slightly lower rate than black people.
In 2017, data scientist Roland Jeannier published several visualizations of the statistics compiled by The Post on police shootings, and again found that more whites than blacks were shot and killed by police, but that blacks were shot at a higher rate owing to population percentages.
However, when he further adjusted the numbers based upon the poverty level of the different races, he found that blacks and whites were shot and killed by police at a near equal rate, suggesting there was some sort of underlying economic factor at play that went deeper than mere racial differences.
The Washington Times also reported in 2016 on a study by Washington State University researchers which found that police officers were actually more reluctant to use lethal force against black suspects than white ones.
That study, which took place from August of 2012 to November of 2013, involved 80 officers from the Spokane Police Department who took part in an hour-long battery of tests unrelated to race. The tests involved the use of laser-equipped real handguns in a simulator that included “randomized” scenarios of encounters with suspects of different races, and found that officers were three times less likely to shoot black suspects than whites, and also took longer to pull the trigger on black suspects than whites.
All in all, it’s clear Rock told an unfunny and factually incorrect joke. Furthermore, portraying our men and women and blue — the people who risk their lives to protect us — as people who take lives for fun is beyond the pale.
Just imagine if the roles were reversed. If a white comedian made a similar joke about shooting blacks on purpose, the outrage would be astronomical. Where’s the outrage now? All we hear is crickets.
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