Former “Grey’s Anatomy” star Isaiah Washington had a suggestion for Chris Rock about how to avoid being stopped by the police — and it did not go over well.
Wednesday, the Hollywood Reporter ran a story noting that Rock had been involved in police stops three times in less than two months, and each time, he Instagrammed a selfie to document the experience.
“I sold my $90,000.00 Mercedes G500 and bought 3 Prius’s, because I got tired of being pulled over by Police. #Adapt,” Washington tweeted.
Almost immediately, Washington was accused of trucking in respectability politics and offering a solution for a symptom — getting stopped for Driving While Black — rather than the larger problems that inform it, namely over-policing in certain communities.
“There’s something happening in his community or wherever he is on that road, coming in or out of whatever that terrain — they’re looking for something,” Washington said. “They’re policing something … obviously, they’re not looking for Chris Rock. Obviously, he hasn’t broken any laws and what you drive shouldn’t matter, particularly if you’re an African-American man. But if you are at war, which we all know that we are, there is a sentiment in the air that is highly toxic, and highly negative. What I was doing with that tweet is exactly what I wanted it to do: excite a conversation.”
Lemon repeatedly pressed Washington about his suggestion that Rock should “adapt,” asking him what measures Rock should take specifically.
“I really feel he needs to look at the area that he’s in, and maybe even visit with the local police officers in that community, because I got pulled over so many times they should have memorized my driver’s license plate,” Washington said. “So he should do that. He should reach out the local police officers and question why they’re pulling him out, specifically.”
Rock has mentioned in previous stand-up acts that he lives in predominantly white Alpine, New Jersey, the tony neighborhood that Mary J. Blige, Jay Z and Diddy have also called home. Rock did not say where he was when he was pulled over.
Folks were still taking aim at Washington Thursday with the hashtag #TweetLikeIsaiahWashington, which served to point out what many saw as the self-defeating nature of Washington’s original message. They accused him of victim-blaming: