Comedian Dave Chappelle weighed in on the Rachel Dolezal controversy during a commencement speech on June 14 to Duke Ellington School of the Arts grads at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium in D.C.
Regarding the former Spokane NAACP chapter president who presented herself as a Black woman, despite both her parents being White, Chappelle couldn’t resist:
“The world’s become ridiculous. There’s a White lady posing as a Black lady,” he said. “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.”
His tone changed, however, while speaking to the Washington Post afterward. Chappelle said he is hesitant to joke about Dolezal during future stand-up gigs.
‘Just a person’
“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,” the former Comedy Central star 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.”
“And she’s just a person, no matter how we feel about her,” he added. “I’m probably not going to do any jokes about her or any references to her for awhile ’cause there’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.”
Chappelle did add humor to the Post interview while referencing the race draft sketch on his former Comedy Central sketch program “Chappelle Show,” saying Blacks would draft Dolezal in a heartbeat.
“We would take her all day, right?” he said.