First, let me just say that dude was brilliant, hasn’t lost a step, proved that he didn’t need the confines of commercial breaks and pretapings and could work sketch comedy in the way that it’s considered most difficult to work; live, and in the venue most famous for working it live, Saturday Night Live.
And his appearance will go down as legendary; right there alongside Richard Pryor in the very first season.
But there was one joke that Dave Chappelle told in his opening monologue that rubbed me the wrong way, and no it wasn’t the one about giving President-elect Donald Trump a chance – what choice do we have there? – it was when he joked at about the 4:40 mark, “If I could quit being Black today, I’d be out the game.”
Don’t get me wrong; I’m no masochist or some glutton for punishment and I also don’t “love company” as it’s said that the miserable do, but the notion that Dave Chappelle, whose success, fame, riches, and name recognition are all tied, not only to his blackness, but to his ability to exploit that blackness for fun and profit would trade all that in just to schlump along as some anonymous white man is not only insulting, but also rings as being strangely ungrateful.
Now, we know that both white supremacists and, as I’ve written before, most liberals actually need for Mr. Chappelle’s sentiments to be real.
But while white supremacist after suffering the indignity of, say, watching LeBron James play basketball, will invent some pseudo or junk science where white people are not only equal to but greater than all niggers, liberals use their natural pity of anyone not born rich, white and “normal” like themselves as evidence of some innate nobility on their part.
Which is worse, I honestly don’t know.
But sometimes I feel as if I am the lone Black person that’s so self-satisfied that the only changes I’d make in myself have to do with diet, exercise and the utilization of more culture and information.
And personally, even if being Black were torture, I wouldn’t scream so as not to give my torturers the satisfaction.
But more than that, I suspect that Dave Chappelle and anyone else that thinks they’d rather not be Black would miss their blackness once it were gone.
And it would probably be the small things, the communal things, the shared things, the inside jokes that they’d miss the most.
As Joni Mitchell told us all, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
Chris Rock made a joke similar to Dave’s, but from a different angle.
He joked that a white man wouldn’t trade places with him.
And even that’s debatable.
Surely, self-loathing isn’t limited to Black people.
But the peculiarity with which we’re supposed to hate ourselves is, I guess.
And what’s lost about all this seems to be the most obvious thing.
I mean, whether or not you’re religious and you believe that God made each of us “perfect” in terms of our ability to handle the circumstances that we’d face within our lifetimes, surely the notion that someone could hate, despise, persecute and try to destroy your psyche simply because of the color of your skin is more evidence that something is wrong with them, than it is with you, isn’t it?
Racism proves a flaw in the racist, not his target.
And to wanna change yourself because of someone else’s flawed perspective, I dunno, just doesn’t strike me as funny.