A few years ago, if a white lady had disguised herself as a black woman and rose the ranks to the President of a chapter of the NAACP, she’d have immediately been ran out of town on a rail. But we live in a new era — a more thoughtful, considered era dominated by the evolving nature of identity politics. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all, because now — in the wake of the Rachel Dolezal controversy — we’re also having profound conversations about what it means to be black, white, man, or woman.
Our race is immutable, but our cultural identity may be fluid. Welcome to 2015.
“The world’s become ridiculous,” Dave Chappele told students at his high school alma mater, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, in a commencement speech delivered on Sunday. “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.”
However, Dave Chapelle — the man behind the hilarious Racial Draft sketch on his Comedy Central show over a decade ago — says, not entirely in jest, that he might just put Dolezal into the black category.
“We would take her all day, right?” he told the Washington Post when asked how Dolezal would be drafted.
Beyond that, however, Chapelle is not eager to get too involved in the controversy yet.
“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,” Chappelle said thoughtfully, between drags of American Spirit cigarettes. “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.”
In fact, Chapelle is taking a wait-and-see approach before he incorporates her into his stand-up act.
“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.”
Wise move. Once all the hot takes have clogged up the Internet, and we all begin to take a more thoughtful considered approach to the issue, we can where the dust has settled and where our feelings have solidified.
Source: The Washington Post