Yesha Callahan

Isaiah Washington Wants Black People To “Adapt” To Racism

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Last night, Isaiah Washington appeared on CNN and spoke with Don Lemon about Chris Rock’s recent run-ins with the police and being pulled over. Rock has been posting his traffic stop selfies on Twitter, and they’ve been garnering a lot of attention. But Washington wasn’t there to talk against racial profiling. Washington actually suggested that black people should learn to ‘adapt’. On Twitter, Washington told Rock he should try getting a different car.

Washington apparently believes that it boils down to the type of car that a black man drives, when it comes to getting pulled over. In his interview with Lemon, Washington suggested that black people need to learn to adapt to survive.

“He needs to look at the area he is in and visit with the local police officers in that community … and question them as to why they are pulling him over specifically,” Washington said.

“We’ve been burdened for 400 years …. We are in a situation where we have to survive in extreme circumstances with people who are angry and those who are practicing white supremacy—they are on the hunt and they are angry,” Washington said to Lemon. “The onus is on us. If we don’t survive, we don’t live to fight another day—and that is what I was saying to adapt.”

Ahh, but nothing was mentioned about cops.

So black people, get rid of your expensive car. Drive a Prius. Adapt to racism. You’ll be alright….eventually. Also don’t forget to forgive and forget.

  1. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    Why buy three Priuses? The cops will think he is working a stolen Toyota ring!

    Seriously, I can see Chris Rock going to the police station and asking them why they are pulling over. Sometimes standing up straight and talking straight back to power eye to eye (I mean going to the station and seeing a local chief, not jawing on the side of the road with a traffic cop,) causes cops to back down and stop acting a fool.

    I, however, don’t see confronting racism as the same as adapting to it. It is wrong, and I will never stop demanding fairness.

  2. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    Interesting. Does anyone tell Jews to adapt to anti-Semitism in Europe? Hmmn…he hasn’t learnt from his comments that cost him his lucrative Grey’s role.

    • April 2, 2015 - Reply

      @AfroCapricornette

      He learned the wrong lesson. He is laying low, trying to survive, instead of standing up for himself.

      • April 2, 2015 - Reply

        @Anthony

        I agree, Anthony. It’s all about survival now for him and I actually do feel sorry for him. To have been at the top of your game and then … Still, it was a silly thing to say IMO.

      • April 2, 2015 - Reply

        @Anthony

        He’s still shell shocked so I’m going to choose to ignore his comment for now.

    • April 2, 2015 - Reply

      @AfroCapricornette

      No, just that their schools are too dangerous to insure. Jews in Europe had to assimilate years and years ago, but that doesn’t stop it. Let’s not make the same mistake in America.

      • April 2, 2015 - Reply

        @mrharmonicaman

        Didn’t realize that about the schools and insurance…hmmn. Still, I guess the word “adapt” is probably what rubs me wrong. I know we tolerate the daily utterances and actions we get at work, on the street, with other races/nationalities etc but it doesn’t mean we should pretend it’s not there.

        • April 2, 2015 - Reply

          @AfroCapricornette

          Of course not. In fact we need to recognize that we are all humans and that generally humans treat each other terribly. We are all on the same team and we need to start playing that way. There are much bigger fish to fry than insignificant trivialities such as religion and race.

    • April 2, 2015 - Reply

      @AfroCapricornette

      Good point.

    • April 2, 2015 - Reply

      @AfroCapricornette

      Good comment.

    • April 4, 2015 - Reply

      @AfroCapricornette

      Actually, Jews have adapted to a certain extent. Some Jews had to change their last names to pass for plain old White. Think Ralph Lauren, Larry King, any Caucasian named Isner (Eisenhauer), Redstone (Rothstein), Morningstar (Morgenstern), etc.

      • April 4, 2015 - Reply

        @ZORINO

        True. But they remained culturally Jewish through the generations, some families that is. C’mon, imagine if after the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, some talking head had told them to “adapt”. There would be calls for his/her resignation lol.

        • April 4, 2015 - Reply

          @AfroCapricornette

          They remained culturally Jewish because, in part, Jews are a people with one language and one religion. That’s the reason why people use Jewish religion and Jews interchangeably. Some people can’t tell the difference between Judaism, Israelite, and Hebrew.

          Whereas Africans have a gazillion tribes. A gift and a curse!!! Black Americans have been actually adapting for 400 plus years.

          The Charlie Hebdo people are in their homeland (France) and whites are still the majority ethnic group there. So, the French government is not going to ask them to adapt. To this day the ban of the hijab and niqab is a major issue in France. They’ve banned islamic headwear in schools, university, etc. They’re asking the Muslim Arabs to adapt.

          • April 4, 2015 - Reply

            @ZORINO

            It’s confusing the interchangeable religion and ethnicity description. Well, the ancient Israelites were a melange of different tribes that have merged or died out over millenia. I’m a bookworm and try to read up on this stuff. Read up on Mizrahi Jews who are said to be the “originals” and still exist today but in a minority.

            Yeah, Africa with its gazillion tribes is something else…lol. I’m from 3 tribes (parents are from 3 diff tribes) but just go with my dad’s tribe, as it’s done. Then ppl say I don’t “look” the tribe so I give a summary of my background and they go, “aaaaaahhhhh!” Lol.

            France is a secular nation hence the ban. I took a gap year there during 9/11 and saw how the mood shifted 24hrs after the attacks. Muslims targeted and all that and you’re right, they had to adapt. Also don’t forget that Sarkozy and Hollande (former and present Presidents) are of Jewish heritage. Whether or not they’re practicing, I dunno….

  3. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    That’s not what he said lol. Chris Rock is not an average person.. and how many Black men drive G-Wagons, less than 0.1%? That’s not the same as telling Black people to adapt.

    If you’re a high profile persona with meetings to catch, the highway is not the place for protest. It’s too costly. What I would say is Black people should install cameras in their cars, play stupid, and then sue the hell out of police departments. But even this solution isn’t worth Chris Rock’s time. I get where he’s coming from.

    • April 2, 2015 - Reply

      @TeflonD

      Okay, I only read the tweet before, and just realized he did an interview with Coon Lemon.

      He is still correct. I think people misunderstand what he’s trying to say. Adaptation does not mean bending over. It means evaluating the situation and then modifying your response to maximize your chances of survival. Consider the context of hatred and power systems that he alluded to. Anyone that has studied Darwinism and evolution will understand that adaptation is even superior to strength.

      • April 2, 2015 - Reply

        @TeflonD

        Darwinism was used to degrade us and promote immoral capitalism. Black people already know how to adapt we’ve been doing it for centuries.

        • April 2, 2015 - Reply

          @Anonin

          The fact that people exploit something does not invalidate it as a scientific fact.

          • April 2, 2015 - Reply

            @TeflonD

            Also doesn’t change the fact its a concept most races already practice before it existed.

            • April 2, 2015 - Reply

              @Anonin

              I don’t get what any of that has to do with what he’s saying. If you’re not collaborating, then you’re competing. Darwinism here essentially applies to a long-run survival of the fittest.

              If you disagree with Isaiah, then state your case. I personally do not see what traditional methods have done for African Americans besides getting shot down in the streets, having their families torn apart, getting their culture diluted and bastardized, getting indoctrinated to eurocentric ideals, being relegated to consumerism, and being forced to operate as dependent, second-class citizens.

              The people talking about complaining at the police station are impractical. Do they really think that the same white folks that run the justice system aren’t conniving to propagate a racist system that benefits them at other people’s expense? Racism exists because white people not only benefit from it, but most of them subscribe to it. That is a mathematical reality. No one, I repeat, no one is going to give you power. Especially when a lot is as stake for them. The police chief hates your guts. What you can do though, is fcuk up his budget. At least, until you can get him off your back. What Black folks need to understand is that when you integrate into a capitalist system that structurally, privileges one group at the expense of another, what you have is a permanent underclass.

              Did you watch the interview? What Isaiah is basically saying is that when you have a losing hand, it’s better to live to fight another day. You can lose battles to win wars. It ain’t checkers.

  4. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    I watched the entire interview and it would be a good idea for others to do so as well. He said that we are “at war” and that “white supremacist” police officers are angry and want to harm us. I didn’t find anything he said to be untrue and his remarks regarding driving certain types of cars were taken completely out of context.

  5. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    He was using the word “adapt” in the military sense. He wasn’t suggesting capitulation.

  6. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    SMH. BYE BOY!

  7. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    I’m greatly disappointed in Isaiah Washington. He also said that hat black people should not call themselves “Black.” He should be the last one to tell people to adapt to racism. Some folks have been “adapting” for centuries and that hasn’t worked. Doing the same thing over and over again and trying to get a different result is not working.

    There can be no token accommodation to a system that doesn’t respect us as human beings. Chris Rock has every right to legally rive whatever car tat he wants to. Some crooked cops have racially profiled and killed people irrespective of the car that the person has drove. The new Black ideology is not only ignoring the past. It is about cowardice and a lack of seeing that racism can never end unless we fight evil.

    • April 3, 2015 - Reply

      @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

      Well I’m ok with us renaming ourselves. I say Afrikan should be the choice but UNFORTUNATELY “Blacks” are always being named by our oppressor instead of naming ourselves so everyone’s viewpoint will differ.

      • April 3, 2015 - Reply

        @EbonyLolita

        I respect your views on this issue. Me personally, I have no problem being called black or Afrikan. I am of black African descent. Also, Black is beautiful. That truism refutes the lie of white supremacy. Dr. King, the Black Panthers, etc. said that Black is beautiful and they were right. The oppressor have called us the n word, etc. and they hate blackness. WE LOVE BLACKNESS.

    • April 4, 2015 - Reply

      @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

      When he said he doesn’t refer to himself as Black it’s because he researched his family tree/dna. It appears that his ancestors are from specific tribes/ethnic groups in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Therefore, he prefers to use the name of “his” tribe.

      Unlike here, in Africa people usually identify as [fill in tribe] before they do race/skin color. Just like a typical white European doesn’t identify as White first. An indigenous person from Münich identify as Bavarian first, then German, then European, and then maybe White. Just like a white French person from Strasbourg identify as Alsatian first before they say they’re Caucasian. As a matter of fact it’s forbidden by law to classify people by skin color or race.

      • April 4, 2015 - Reply

        @ZORINO

        Hello.

        Here is my response. For a long time, white supremacists and other evil racists have denigrated the beautiful, sacrosanct word Black in offensive ways. Racists have always slandered the word Black and classified it as evil, nefarious, and with other negative connotation. The truth is that Black is Beautiful. This truism has been expressed by our black heroes for generation from Malcolm X, Dr. King, and to the black Panthers. It is a great thing for Mr. Washington to discover more information about his African ancestry. That is great of him to use DNA research to figure out his relatives in various African tribes. Yet, there is nothing wrong with a person calling himself or herself Black and acknowledging his or her African tribal/ethnic heritage at the same time. That point makes me disagree with his argument. Now, he has the right to call himself what he wants. He’s a grown man.

        Likewise, I have the right to call myself Black. No document and no law (made by human lives) will prevent me from considering myself Black within my own conscience. Just because certain laws forbid classify people by skin color or race doesn’t mean that it is immoral for people to call themselves Black. Black is beautiful. Also, Washington is wrong to say that adapting to change the type of car to drive will someone lessen the threat of racial profiling. Black people of a diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and who drove a diversity of cars have been the victims of police terrorism and racial profiling. Crooked cops should adapt and stop their unjust, brutal occupation of black communities. Racists should adapt and reject racism/white supremacy completely. Black people are always called to “adapt” but our people have always adapt for centuries.

        The system is corrupt and the corrupt system must end, so a real system of justice can be established.

      • April 4, 2015 - Reply

        @ZORINO

        You are well travelled, Zorino. I have an ex-uncle in-law from Strasbourg and he always identifies as Alsatian from Alsace first. Why? Apparently, Alsace changed hands between Germany and France many times in history as it’s right on the border. Now, it’s in France but the old timers still consider themselves German. You are very right.

  8. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    He cold be driving a yugo if he is a black man he will still be messed with. He sounds foolish

  9. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    Duhhhhh, Black people have already adapted. We been abdapting for almost 400 years. It is not the strongest that survive, it is the one who is able to abdapt to his or hers’ environment that survives,

  10. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    What Isaiah said may be jarring to some of us but I think a lot more of us “adapt” than we admit. When we make sure we are better dressed than the occasion to ensure we don’t get profiled out in public. Those of us who told our kids and other young men not to wear hoodies because it make them suspect. There are so many ways we already adapt and assimilate in order to not be seen as the other. If I understand Isaiah he believes survival is better than confrontation. I a descendant of rebels may not be in full agreement but I understand what he is saying. But it is hard to go out and confront racism everyday if you don’t adapt to the daily onslaught it will drive you over the edge. Part of survival in an oppressed environment requires adapting survival skills both physical and mental.

  11. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    We as black people have been adapting to the system of white supremacy since our Ancestors were shipped to this country. I can’t respect Isaiah’s passive attitude on this subject. It shouldn’t matter what vehicle a black person drives, be it a Hyundai or a Bentley. The fact is no one should be harassed by cops because of their ethnicity.
    Racism and class-ism is a system that was invented to establish and enforce power and control. It appears that Isaiah has given in to the system, instead of fighting against it.

  12. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    Isiah shut up so I can continue to like you.

  13. April 3, 2015 - Reply

    I can’t stand this arrogant azzhole and his point is moot because the crooked cops will pull a POC over in a busted car just as often as an expensive one. According to their logic, poor folks with busted cars probably have warrants. See: shaking the City of Ferguson down as a case in point. Isaiah is another fool ass fool.

  14. April 3, 2015 - Reply

    Wayment…. was this the same man screaming RACISM when they gathered his ass up and OFF of Grey’s Anatomy. They’re really pushing the emasculated black men out into the media with their B.S. Just be nice and it’ll go away #NewBlack isms.

  15. April 3, 2015 - Reply

    Haven’t black been “adapting” for over 500 years?

  16. April 3, 2015 - Reply

    Some celebs should not be allowed to speak. Throw the ball and shut up. Sing the song and shut up. Tell the joke and STFU! Sometimes I wish these people who aren’t really educated or informed about anything other than entertainment or sports would just drink a big glass of STFU.

  17. April 4, 2015 - Reply

    i think we’ve physically adapted after 400 years of slavery and jim crow. accommodation may be what he’s getting at — changing internal mentally to fit external reality; i.e., mentally it’s ok for him to have a mercedes because he’s earned it and he can afford it. the reality of it is driving while black. He gets a negro wake up call even though he is an actor who has earned the right to drive whatever he wants. to accommodate, he got rid of his mercedes and got two toyotas. now that was hard.

    while trying to accommodate, he has absorbed the norms, values and mores of the dominant culture – he is a natural citizen, speaks the same language, educated, supposedly shares the same ethic and moral values of the dominant society and has done so his entire life — the process of assimilation. but, the dominant culture does not absorb him into their culture — he is rejected; i.e., the dominant society does not allow him to assimilate. he goes back to accommodation?

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