Chris Rock emceed the 2106 Academy Awards Sunday night. And had there had been any doubt - Rock immediately dealt with the elephant in the room - Is Hollywood racist? Here is a portion of his opening monologue (beginning at 2:20 in the above video):
"Is it, is it 'Burning-Cross' racist? No. Is it, 'Fetch-me-some-lemonade' racist? No - nah, nah, nah, it's a - it's a different type of racist. [edit splice]You're damn right Hollywood's racist! - But it ain't the racist that you - that you've grown accustomed to. Hollywood is - 'Sorority-Racist'. It's like - 'We like you Rhonda - but you're not a Kappa'."
During 2:40 - 2:41, as he said "... We like ...", Chris Rock displayed a Pseudo-Prayer
with mild Hand-Chopping
component (see video for this motion dynamic).
The pseudo-prayer is an example of a nonverbal signal known as an Illustrator-MAP Hybrid (MAP is an acronym for 'Manipulator, Adaptor, Pacifier'). The vast majority of quality comedians have a high level of intuitive feel for body language - equal or superior to that of most experienced actors - and Chris Rock is a master at both.
In his monologue, within the context of Chris Rock's metaphor 'Sorority Racist' - for a moment he channels a condescending sorority sister - and here, the pseudo-prayer gesture hits precisely the right tone. He's using this nonverbal display in an acting scenario. In contrast, many people who fancy themselves as leaders (or those in leadership positions) will use the pseudo-prayer and thus will destroy rapport rather than build it. Rock's comedic intuition (or perhaps choreography) is spot-on however, capturing (in this one-sentence skit within his monologue) the thinly veiled arrogance of this (in any other context) body language faux pas.
An important additional nuance is exampled by the additional superimposed up-and-down, hand-chopping motion - which Mr. Rock does here to a mild degree. This serves to amplify the patronizing emotional tones above and beyond what this body language signal already conveys.
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