Dave Chappelle on Rachel Dolezal: "There's no reason! She just needed the braids"

At a D.C. commencement speech, the comic addresses the controversy in humor -- and then seriously

Published June 15, 2015 10:45AM (EDT)

Dave Chappelle       (AP/Brad Barket)
Dave Chappelle (AP/Brad Barket)

Dave Chappelle addressed the controversy over Rachel Dolezal and race in a commencement speech on Sunday at his alma mater, Washington, D.C.'s Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

According to the Washington Post, Chappelle told students:

“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.”

In an interview backstage after the speech, Chappelle went into more detail with the newspaper.

“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 thoughtfully, between drags of American Spirit cigarettes. “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."

Read the entire piece here.

By Salon Staff

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