Given that one of his most famous Chappelle’s Show characters is a blind black KKK member who’s unaware he’s black, one would think that Dave Chappelle has a lot to say about Rachel Dolezal. He does, kind of.
On Sunday, in a commencement speech at his former Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Chappelle briefly addressed the identity crisis story of the decade with this quip:
“The world’s become ridiculous. There’s a white lady posing as a black lady. There is not one thing that woman accomplished that she couldn’t have done as a white woman. There’s no reason! She just needed the braids! I don’t know what she was doing.”
In a backstage interview with The Washington Post, Chappelle elaborated, answering the burning question: On which side would Dolezal end up in the Racial Draft? “I think black,” he says. “We would take her all day, right?” He also cautioned THE MEDIA to chill and look at the nuance of all this:
“The thing that the media’s gotta be real careful about, that they’re kind of overlooking, is the emotional context of what she means. There’s something that’s very nuanced where she’s highlighting the difference between personal feeling and what’s construct as far as racism is concerned. I don’t know what her agenda is, but there’s an emotional context for black people when they see her and white people when they see her. There’s a lot of feelings that are going to come out behind what’s happening with this lady. And she’s just a person, no matter how we feel about her.”
We all still have questions. But Chappelle won’t be making jokes about Dolezal for the time being:
“I’m probably not going to do any jokes about her or any references to her for awhile ’cause that’s going to be a lot of comedians doing a lot. And I’m sure her rebuttal will be illuminating. Like, once she’s had time to process it and kind of get her wind back and get her message together.”
As for actual work, Chappelle’s been shooting footage of his standup, though the status of a TV special is pending. “I don’t know if I’m going to put it out or not. There’s a few things I filmed I’ve been sitting on,” he says. “In an hour on television, it’s hard to encompass everything you’re doing in a particular time in your profession.”
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