Title

Should Woke People Watch Dave Chappelle?

If diversity progressives believe that speech is violence, and that language that hypersexualizes women and stereotypes minority men as violent is pernicious, why are they (we) such avid consumers of cultural forms that unabashedly do both?

May 9, 2019
 
 

About five minutes into his new Netflix comedy special, Dave Chappelle tells a joke about a Mormon woman who he kicks in the p***y. The cadence and tone were pure Chappelle comic perfection, and it’s hard not to laugh at least a little when a stand-up master delivers a punchline. But mostly I felt uncomfortable and offended, especially when I remembered the line that Chappelle’s joke brought to mind.

That is, of course, Donald Trump’s brag that he was free to do with women what he liked, including “grab ‘em by the p***y”.

If I thought Trump’s statement was highly offensive, shouldn’t I be offended by what Chappelle said? 

Yes, Dave Chappelle is not running for President, but nor was Donald Trump when he made the statement. He was the star on The Apprentice, and if people had pushed for him to be removed from the show because of his misogynist statements I might well have been on board.

Trump tried to excuse his statement by saying it was just locker room talk. That didn’t wash with me. My boys play baseball and basketball and I wouldn’t want them to be talking about women like that in locker rooms, or even be in locker rooms where other people spoke about women in such ways.

So if the locker room context doesn’t somehow disinfect misogynistic statements, why should the stand-up stage?  

Much has been made of the relationship between Trump’s audience and Trump’s racism and sexism. “We Have a Problem with White Men,” blared a headline in The Nation.

But if you are going to accuse white men for supporting Trump either in spite of his racism and sexism, or perhaps because of it, then don’t you have to ask the same question about Dave Chappelle’s audience?

Why is it that this colorful tapestry of urban multiculturalism in the Netflix special - an audience presumably aghast when Trump makes misogynist comments - will happily pay to hear Dave Chappelle joke about violence towards women? 

Aren’t there similarly problematic themes in plenty of pop music and other standup comedy?

If diversity progressives believe that speech is violence, and that language that hypersexualizes women and stereotypes minority men as violent is pernicious, why are they (we) such avid consumers of cultural forms that unabashedly do both?

 

 

Read more by

Be the first to know.
Get our free daily newsletter.

 

Back to Top