Chris Rock matters, too

I went to a seminar once with about 60 other attendees.  The speaker asked how many of us had seen a murder on television or in the movies.  Of course, all the attendees raised their hands.  He then asked how many of us had witnessed a murder in real life.  Only one hand went up.  I cannot recall what the seminar was about, but that moment has stayed with me.  In America today, people see a lot of violence in their entertainment.  Very few people are so unfortunate as to witness a violent crime in person.

That changed the night of the 94th Academy Awards.  Presenter Chris Rock was violently assaulted on the stage during the live presentation of the show.  Millions of people around the world saw Will Smith march up onto the stage and hit Chris across the face.

Since most people have never seen a genuine act of violence, it was shocking to witness a man being assaulted, and there was an immediate clamor for some kind of consequence for Smith, who, after striking Rock, remained at the show and accepted the Best Actor award to a standing ovation.  He then went out partying.  Smith has since resigned from the Academy and been banned from the Academy Awards for ten years.  People can't stop talking about him.

Chris Rock (edited).  YouTube screen grab.

I'd like to take a moment to talk about Chris Rock.  After he was struck, he pulled himself together and went on with the show.  He looked a little haunted that night, but, incredibly, he continued to stand on that stage and do his job after what happened.  After the show, he declined to press charges against Smith.

Thus far, he has refused to speak publicly about the incident.  Chris also refused to let a fan curse out Smith at a performance of his comedy show.  That comedy show, "Ego Death," is selling out even as the price of the tickets rises.  Even with his silence about Smith, people want to see Chris and show their support for him.

As a Christian, I can't help pondering how Chris reacted to this incident.  His courage and composure the night of the Academy Awards, and his forbearance toward Smith after the show was over, exemplify the very best that a human can aspire to be.  A person doesn't have to be a Christian, or religious, or black, to appreciate Chris Rock and how he is conducting himself now.

Pandra Selivanov is the author of The Pardon, a story of forgiveness based on the thief on the cross in the Bible. 

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