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Dave Chappelle

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While speaking at his high school alma mater’s graduation Sunday, comedic great Dave Chappelle referenced Rachel Dolezal and why he won’t make any jokes about the White woman who identified as Black for over a decade.

The comedian spoke about the now former NAACP Spokane president during his commencement speech at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. Chappelle, whose sketch comedy show Chappelle’s Show made brilliant commentary on race and social hierarchies, explained to students the importance of artistic expression despite all the ridiculousness in the world.

The Washington Post reports:

“The world’s become ridiculous,” he told the awestruck grads at George Washington University’s Lisner auditorium. “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.”

When asked where Dolezal would fall in the “Racial Draft,” a previous Chappelle skit where celebs like Tiger Woods were traded to different racial parties, the comedian had this to say:

“I think black,” Chappelle said Sunday, referring to the Spokane, Wash., NAACP president who last week was outed by her own parents as a white woman who had been masquerading as black for 10 years. “We would take her all day, right?”

The context is almost ironic. Even with the comedian’s countless skits on race including Clayton Bigsby, a blind Black Klansman, and characters like Chuck Taylor, Chappelle says he doesn’t plan to make jokes about Dolezal.

“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. “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.”

The feelings towards Dolezal have varied from anger to comic relief, with many taking part in the clever hashtag #AskRachel, during which people asked sarcastic questions about Black culture. Chappelle says Rachel’s response to the scandal will be nothing less than interesting.

“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. And she’s just a person, no matter how we feel about her.”

Chappelle’s choice to take the high road should be noted. Since he’s addressed racial issues in the past, it seems as though many of his sketches from over a decade ago are coming to life.

Just this year, Ja Rule appeared on FOX News to talk about his new credit card and the riots in Baltimore. The comedian’s 2004 comedy special, For What It’s Worth, eerily addressed the media’s reaching when it comes to experts on political topics.

It’s clear to see, Dave’s got the answers.



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