Claim: Comedian Chris Rock originated a quip about the best golfer in the world being black and the best rapper being white.
- Rock uttered the quote now attributed to him: True.
- Rock was the first person to do so: Undetermined.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2001]
You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy and the best golfer is a black guy.
Origins: Versions of this bon mot have been kicking about at least since 2000. The identity of the wag who coined it is a bit of a mystery, though, in that there are two strong contenders, with the possibility open that an as-yet undetermined third party might have been the one to first voice the core observation about the best golfer’s being black (Tiger Woods) and the best rap artist’s being white
We do know that basketball star Charles Barkley was quoted in The New York Post in October 2000 as saying of the state of the world: “You know it’s gone to hell when the best rapper out there is a white guy and the best golfer is a black guy.” That would appear to make him the saying’s originator, yet some people assert they heard comedian Chris Rock comment at an earlier date: “The world’s coming to an end. The world’s best golfer is black, and the world’s best rapper is white.” Did Barkley paraphrase Rock? Or was it the other way around, with Rock rewording a Barkley observation and working it into his comedy routine? Or was neither the originator of the clever remark, with both the basketball player and the comic appropriating it from someone else? At this point, the question of authorship amounts to guesswork.
Over the years, the quote has been added to and reworked to shoehorn in allusions to later events. This 2003 version (also attributed to Charles Barkley) adds mention of Yao Ming, the 7’6″ Chinese basketball sensation, and of Germany’s refusal to become embroiled in the situation in Iraq:
You know the world is off tilt when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest basketball player is Chinese, and Germany doesn’t want to go to war.
By 2005, what appeared to have begun as a two-part quip about rap artists and golfers had morphed into a more lengthy form (also attributed to Chris Rock) that added references to the Swiss and the French and poked fun at the names of three U.S. politicians, in addition to preserving 2003’s comments about Yao Ming and Germany:
You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America’s Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn’t want to go to war, and the three most powerful men in America are named Bush, Dick, and Colon. Need I say more?
While rolling on down the contemporary lore highway, in 2003 the witticism even picked up yet another purported originator, business mogul Donald Trump:
You know the world has changed when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, and Germany doesn’t want to go to war.
Barbara “trump unsuited” Mikkelson
Last updated: 26 October 2006