Is Dave Chappelle a Racist?
Do You See the Racism Here?
I love Dave Chappelle's work and wanted to share it with my Facebook-friends but surprisingly one of them got offended by it. Am I the only one, who doesn't understand what has happened?
The following is a discussion with a colleague of mine after I'd posted a link to "The Niggar Family" by Dave Chappelle on Facebook. I think it is worth reading. Let me know what you think. Especially if it occurs to you that I am racist [although I can surely enough deny it]. It is an emotional subject and besides wanting to hear that I am not missing something very important here I think it is a good starting point for a discussion about nowadays racism and maybe the limits of satire. I have changed my colleagues name, so her anonymity is at least a little bit protected. I also have to say that I really liked her, what makes this "dialogue" even sadder. Here it starts:
How it Started
Emma: Don think so Mike - this "classic" that was thought to be funny should be burnt! Highlyoffensive.....s...t!
Mk: Emma, really? How is this offensive? Or are you ironic?
Emma: Nigger (Nigga) (Nigger) is a word and also a term that is racist, as long as the speaker of it isnot black. Forbidden on most all of television and other forms of public entertainment, at timesreferenced to as the "n-word".
Mk: Emma, this is a clip made by Dave Chapelle, black himself [actually he's the milk!man!], it is highly ironic and making fun, or even more than that, criticising america's white population of the fifties and of today for being racist or at least for not really being thoughtful about this subject. Also is he making fun of black people for behaving a bit too stereotypical at thimes. I am very surprised that you didn't get that. He is fantastic. Give it a try. And of course, Norma, I now the full meaning of the word Nigga and it's derivates. Consternated.
Emma: The fact that you think that I am being ironic denotes that you do not know much about me or my race - the old slavery word for a person of colour (black) is a derogratory term when usedby a white man the fact that there is a black man parodying the use of the word still does not make it right - I am surprised you consider me to be ironic when stating that something offends me - does the fact that I have complained about something you have placed on the internet mean that I am not serious to you? Does the fact that I have used the word "offensive" not mean anything to you - or woould it be better that I express myself in Detusch and quote the Gesetz that I feel you have breached. Mike I have placed this on my website so that you can see how offensive your "classic" blog is...........................I am also surprised as your conduct as a learned person I though that you would have given this a little bit more thought, again when trying to second guess a man, I was wrong.................................
Emma: Mike I am offended - I don't care who made it - that was the 50's it is now 2012 - we havelearned a lot since then haven't we? Or maybe you haven't......crass!
Mk: Wow, how can you think I am promoting racism or even making fun of it??? Are you reading my comments? Emma, please ask your friends and others what they think of this and then we can talk normally again. Dave Chapelle might not be liked by some but there are millions! understanding his message. That is not me alone. So what is more likely that I am a racism-promoting uneducated German that posts a very popular anti-racist sketch shown to millions of viewers on American TV or that you misunderstood something here? Please come to reason, dear colleague. Where does this aggression come from?
And I was hoping! that you were ironic as that would have shown that you had understood the clip's message, but evidently you haven't and are just offended by I don't know what exactly. What is it you are throwing at me here and wherein lies your proof of this seemingly big accusation? I don't get it.
Getting Insulted on her Facebook Wall
Emma:The word "Nigger" a colleague thinks that the use of the word in a "classic" comedy is funny when I told him I was offended he thought I was being "ironic" - please tell him why the use of the word is offensive - I am telling him in no uncertain terms - so that he gets the message once and for all : isn't this word banned - even in jest?
Old white Guy: Hi Emma: it is offensive, it is racist. I would not even bother arguing with the idiot. All the Germans I know would be 100% with you on this so don't even think of hitting the road back.
Emma: OwG, the f...r is my colleague - I thought he was a colleague/friend that is why I am so angry
Mk:Is anyone going to read the whole conversation Emma and I had or just going on about some fictious colleage of hers that she claimes to have said "Nigger" to offense people? Guys. Read the context and make up your mind. What is written here is totally inappropriate and taken out of context. Google as well for Dave Chappelle please and then blame me for being racist if you still think this way after doing research and not just ranting about sth you didn't have the full picture about. And exactly what is happening here is what Chappelle's show is also about. And no, no one is trying to trivialise racism and the history of slavery and black people on the contrary. You see what you want to see, Emma. And I haven't offended you because you interpreted sth into my posts while you called me a f...er which is actively offending me. Still wow. Please note that I would like to post this on my wall as well as might liven up adiscussion about racism and misunderstandings between "races" as you call them.
The Discussion Continues
Sarah: The clip is not from the fifties but has been made in this century as a cynical parody about the situation in the fifties.
Emma: So by all accounts that makes it right Marie - that is even worse or can you not see that.... thisis not progress in respect of race relations it is regress. It is still offensive.....!
Mk: Emma, over this "discussion" it became obvious to me that you've been hurt by acts of racist people and you have nothing but my deepest sympathy for that, but this link is in no way trivializing the sufferings and achievement of black people over the last centuries by using then-word. That is why I do not really understand what your pretty intense anger is about. I feel that there is no way I can reason with you here as this seems to sit pretty deep. Let me assure you one more time that I by no means meant to offend you and that racism is so not on my agenda. Have a good nite.
Emma: I don't want your sympathy, Mike - I don't even need your empathy - and you cannot begin to apologise for the way you think : I now see you with very different eyes.
Mk: Empathy is nothing you have to approve to receive. You still have it and I would be glad to apologize if I understood what for? I see no wrong here. You didn't even bother to explain, except citing wikipedia on the word that upsets you so much and that I would never even think of using. And futhermore YOU insulted ME by calling me a f....er. There seems to be no way to reach your reason for me and I have to say although this conversation was eye-opening for me as well, it also took a lot of energy and will continue to do so when we meet everyday at work. Hence I would like you to unfriend me here to avoid future discussions like this. And there's a lot of potential for discussions like this in some of my posts but this one was the least Iexpected anyone to be offended by. So, if you explained me how I harmed you, I would be glad to apologize. Otherwise it seems there is nothing I can do as I wouldn't apologize for something wrong someone else did to you.