Chris Rock: “My Children Are Encountering the Nicest White People That America Has Ever Produced”

Victoria Will/AP

New York Magazine’s Frank Rich has an incredible interview with Chris Rock, in which the comedian discusses everything from what’s happened in Ferguson, his new film Top Five, to Bill Cosby’s tarnished legacy. It’s an eye-opening conversation wholly worth reading for every detail.

But Rock’s most compelling meditations might be found in his deeply personal descriptions of what it’s like to raise two daughters under the country’s first black president, while wrestling with complex notions of what real racial progress in America means to different people. 

On his two daughters, Lola and Zahra:

I mean, I almost cry every day. I drop my kids off and watch them in the school with all these mostly white kids, and I got to tell you, I drill them every day: Did anything happen today? Did anybody say anything? They look at me like I am crazy.

How Lola and Zahra view the current First Family:

…You’ve got to remember, they’re so young. Zahra was 4 when Obama was nominated. So as far as they’re concerned, there have always been little black girls in the White House.

On kids and racial progress:

It’s partly generational, but it’s also my kids grew up not only with a black president but with a black secretary of State, a black joint chief of staff, a black attorney general. My children are going to be the first black children in the history of America to actually have the benefit of the doubt of just being moral, intelligent people.

How his daughters are growing up with the “nicest white people that America has ever produced:”

So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years…The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.

Read the interview in its entirety over at Vulture.