The Rock family in Everybody Hates Chris is one that is loving and caring towards one another, providing its audience with useful life lessons and positive morals throughout the show’s seasons. However, despite the familial normality and values presented, Chris and his family experience discrimination from society because of their race and class.
Discrimination Through Schooling
Discrimination in Everybody Hates Chris is especially prevalent in the Season 1 Episode, “Everybody Hates Jail”. The main plot of this episode is the opportunity for Chris to attend a class field trip to Washington D.C, in which he would have to raise $30 dollars by selling cookies around the neighborhood. Early in the episode, when the class field trip is being explained, Chris’ teacher assumes that him and his family cannot afford it and goes on by saying, “If your people can’t afford to pay cash, I’ll see if we can accept food stamps” (Chis Rock “Everybody Hates Jail).
Other than this statement clearly enforcing the stereotypes of the era, the point about this statement that sticks out in my mind the most is how Chris’ teacher refers to his family as, “Your people”. By Chris’ teacher saying this, it is almost as if she believes that African Americans, Chris’ ethnicity, belong to a different society or are held to a different standard than the Caucasians of the time period. Due to Chris’ race, his teacher instantly assumes that him and his family cannot afford to attend the field trip. Following this statement, as Chris’ teacher further informs the class that they will be taking a charter bus, Chris’ bully responds by directing a derogatory remark to towards Chris saying, “Prepare to sit in the back, Birmingham”. From this scene alone, it is clear that Chris Rock wanted to reach out to his audience regarding the discrimination that he encountered during his schooling.
Discrimination by Police
Besides discrimination through schooling, the Season 1 Episode, “Everybody Hates Jail”, also includes the act of racial profiling by the police towards Chris. As mentioned earlier, Chris was given the task of selling cookies, in order to raise enough money to fund his class field trip to Washington D.C. After initially having trouble selling cookies, having only sold 2 to his father, he decided that he needed a new strategy. Having seen the success of Risky’s business by simply saying that his product is, “Straight off the bus”, Chris mistakenly decided to try this strategy as well. Initially, business was going great as Chris was selling more cookies than ever before. However, Chris’ luck eventually runs out as a police officer arrests and accuses him of being the suspect that high-jacked and stole cookies from a delivery truck. After failing to convince the police officer to believe the truth of the matter, Chris was put into a suspect line-up, which is where racial profiling is depicted.