Isaiah Washington Defends Telling Chris Rock to "Adapt": We Are "At War"
Washington encouraged Rock to drive a less flashy car after the comedian claimed he was pulled over by police for the third time in two months.
Isaiah Washington is speaking out about flak he received for his tweet to Chris Rock.
After Rock claimed Monday on Instagram that he had been recently pulled over by police for the third time in under two months, Washington tweeted to Rock that he himself stopped getting pulled over after replacing his expensive Mercedes G500 with a Prius. He ended his message with the hashtag "#Adapt."
Many Twitter users took umbrage with the 100 actor's post, including music star Questlove, who tweeted at Washington, "Prius won't save you from #DWB [Driving While Black]."
In response to the criticism, Washington posted a follow-up tweet, calling out "millennials [who] critique and misconstrue" his message.
On Wednesday evening, Washington appeared on CNN to explain his comments. "Police are about the business of policing, night and day," Washington said. "I obviously have a slight advantage because I'm a celebrity. ... At night, I'm vulnerable like everyone else."
"I know a lot of people take issue with the hashtag 'adapt,' thinking I was implying that white supremacy or racial profiling was stopped if you were in a different car, but that's not [what I meant]," he continued. "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, and [I wanted my tweet to] excite a conversation."
When host Don Lemon pushed Washington to say how exactly Rock should adapt, the actor said that Rock should meet with law enforcement officials. "I really feel that he needs to look at the area that he's in and even visit with the police in the local community," Washington said.
When Lemon said this seemed to be an unfair burden on Rock, Washington replied: "We have been a people that have created civilization in this world, and I believe we are the people that share the DNA that's going to recivilize this world again. We have been burdened for 400 years — we can't use that as an excuse to say, 'Well, we can't challenge the system as it is.' We've been marching for years."
The posts can be seen below.