I'd just like to note for the record that Dave Chappelle's monologue on SNL last night contained straightforward antisemitism. In his typically meandering fashion, he said it's acceptable in Hollywood to be anti-Black and anti-Italian but not antisemitic. He said, in a complaint about the NBA's demands that Kyrie Irving meet certain conditions before returning from his suspension, that it's not acceptable to blame Black Americans for Jewish suffering. No serious person was doing this, but his implication is that Jews, as a group, were. He said it's not crazy to think Jews run show business, though it is crazy to say as much aloud. And he said, winkingly, that he hopes "they… whoever they are" don't take anything away from him for saying what he said.
It's a joke! It's unserious speech. It's a comedy set, not a news report. Yes, these things are all true. That's what makes it bad. As with his transphobia, what we're seeing here is the laundering of bigotry through speech forms where bigotry is okay, because those speech forms don't matter and only fools think they do. (That said: as Chappelle has made clear in his rants about trans people, the loss of status to the howling demands of an unruly mob is a real, genuine fear of his.) It's bigotry for liberals who consider themselves impervious to bigotry, and who therefore tend not to look too closely at its friendlier incarnations. Inconveniently, it's also bigotry for bigots, who benefit immensely from seeing famous, credible people affirm their beliefs on a national stage. And it was served to them on a silver platter by Saturday Night Live and NBC.
Header image via NBC/YouTube.
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