Dave Chappelle Isn’t Transphobic For His Jokes About Trans People
Being equal means catching these jokes too
With his historic run in Radio City Music Hall starting up and his two Netflix stand-up specials with a third on the horizon, Dave Chappelle is back in the limelight. Between the interviews and the shows, Dave is more open than we’ve seen him since his departure from his ever popular Comedy Central show, “The Chappelle’s Show.” With all the press on his plate, Dave is bound to have tons of loyal supporters, but he’s also bound to run into people who have problems with the subject matter of his set.
His set at Radio City reportedly started with “20 minutes” of jokes about people who identify as transgender. In one part Chappelle jokes, “If I was in ISIS in the trenches fighting against the United States and all of the sudden I see a man with a beard and big D-cups titties just rushing my foxhole and shit, I’d be horrified.” Despite what it may seem, this joke mainly highlights the fact that in other countries, being transgendered isn’t as accepted in America.
Even in his two specials, ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’ and ‘The Age of Spin,’ released this year, the subject matter featured jokes about the LGBTQIA community, Bill Cosby, and domestic violence. The manner in which Dave comments on these subjects isn’t bad at all, but people have a big problem with the fact that he even dares to mention rape in his stand-up set. And that’s fine. There are so many subjects out there that impact everyone in different ways, so it’d be much too ignorant to call someone too “sensitive” when we don’t know how a given joke affects them. In the case of the jokes from his Radio City set, you can say the trans community is overreacting, but until you step into their shoes and know what it’s like to walk around transgender, you can’t say shit.
However, just because jokes aren’t 100% in favor of a group of minority, doesn’t mean that it’s discriminating against them. It’s not like Dave went on for twenty minutes about how much he hates the trans community. He made humorous comments about situations involving trans people. In fact, he claimed that being trans doesn’t prevent anyone “from being a human being that deserves a life with dignity and happiness and respect.” Can’t really be mad at that.
For years, racial minorities had to deal with white comedians making jokes about our actions, culture, and stereotypes. While some of them were just the racist ramblings of a middle-aged man masquerading as comedy, a lot of it was legitimately funny. I’m not attempting to compare the struggles of racial and sexual minorities because the struggles that members of the LGBTQIA community face are much different than the struggles people of color face. But the main thing they share in common is that these are real life struggles. The point of stand up, and comedy in general, is to take the shit that life gives us and turn it on its head and laugh at it. The point of equality isn’t just to make sure we have all the same opportunities, but to make sure we can also have constructive criticisms and joke on each other too.
If you’re still unhappy about Chappelle’s jokes, that’s fine. The beauty of this world is that we all have opinions. But lets just say it could’ve been worse. At least Dave didn’t say he’d kill a trans person during his set.