Comedian Chris Rock has built his career around his refusal to shy away from controversial topics — most notably, race relations. Some of his most famous jokes center around the semantic nature of the “N-Word,” whether or not white people should have the right to use the term, and what African-Americans should do to avoid being pulled over by the police. Recent developments seem to show that his jokes come from a serious, anecdotal place.

 

From the beginning of 2015, Rock has been pulled over three times by suspicious police, even during instances when he was not behind the wheel. Refusing to take the perceived racial profiling lying down, Rock quickly snapped selfies of himself prior to each encounter, then posted them to social media. One of the photos had the caption “…wish me luck,” indicating not just inconvenience but legitimate fear from the black comedian.

 

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Chris Rock posts selfies of himself getting pulled over time after time after time to prove a point about race relations and police bias in America. (thedailybeast.com)

While not necessarily a brand, Rock’s use of social media has generated a great deal of interest in this social justice cause. The Washington Post quoted a statistic indicating that in general, police pull over blacks 23 percent more than they do whites. Once stopped, African-Americans also have a significantly higher likelihood of having “investigative” actions conducted upon them, such as searches.

 

Rock’s name brand and wide reach counters people who have generally ignored the problem, or cited these encounters as more socioeconomic based than racially based. This impromptu “campaign” has worked better than others — Starbucks comes to mind, whose #RaceTogether campaign recently drew a storm of controversy for trivializing the topic. Rock’s plight feels personal and shows a face that draws legitimate sympathy; no printing of wishful words on coffee cup required.

 

Use of cameras and social media seems to have a proven effect on reducing police brutality and decreasing public grievances on the matter. The hope is that if everyone — not just notable figures. like Chris Rock — can do their part to shine light on the issue, we will see an increase in police transparency and make a definitive difference on race relations.

 

Do you think this is a viable strategy in combating police profiling? Comment below or tweet @connerws to tell us how you feel!