Chris Rock: Niggas vs. Black People Essays

3225 Words Mar 31st, 2013 13 Pages
Chris Rock Niggas vs. Black people

This paper addresses the identity that is constructed of African-Americans through Rock’s language use of racial speech and taboo language. It also attempts to portray Rock’s function of the skit and the controversial attitudes that arose, including my own.

1.0 Introduction

‘Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you’.
Unfortunately for Randall Kennedy this limerick held no connotation that he wished to acknowledge, as he recites his Mother’s words, he finds himself in war with a word, a word that for every African-American is at the core of inflicted pain; Nigger. Kennedy narrates his Mother’s experience during the era of the Jim Crow segregation,
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According to Daniels (1989: 15), he states that comedy is not achieved through content alone, however when picking apart the history of African-American comedians on black comedy; it is in fact the content alone which becomes a pandemic with the characteristics of the comedians talk that sets off the entire performance. Dating back to the Minstrel era - the pioneers of comedy today, ‘Bert’ Austin Williams took stage to be the first black American to take a lead role on a Broadway stage, Williams first became noticed in Vaudeville as a successful double-act “Williams & Walker”. Williams and Walker were a success for the black community, their acts were a representation of their race but they entertained white audiences by delivering acts that included content which demeaned their race: using words such as, ‘coon’. At the risk of criticising the African-American race, they still, at the expense of their careers performed for the white audience and their expectations. This stereotype of African-Americans is one that became a collective ritual of rhetoric complaint and occurrence. In 1951, a TV show called ‘Amos ‘n Andy’ came to our screens but was cancelled in 1953 due to complaints from the NAACP (National association for the advancement of coloured people), who acknowledged the programme to be only one representation of black folks.
‘Stereotyping is a process of selective perception by which the complex character of experience is filtered

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