What happened to the Dave that left Comedy Central for Africa? Cuz this Uncle Tom mess shows me he didn’t go to the right Africa.
I ran across a tweet from a man that said the advice he got before grad school was to be wary of the only Black person in the room that WANTED to be the only Black person in the room. As a Black person advances higher and higher in education, finance, sports, etc. it isn’t uncommon to find less of “us”. Fewer people with melanin, fewer people who know AAVE, and fewer people who can relate. It is what it is growing up in a white capitalist world.
So, picture this. A man who is born in Washington D.C. to an affluent Black family. He comes from a long line of Black educators and ministers that have served and grown since they were freed in South Carolina. This guy works hard, goes to a performing arts high school, and makes it big as a comedian. Telling jokes that showcase the Black experience and what it was like to grow up with Hip Hop. Settles down in middle-of-nowhere America on a farm with his millions surrounded by people who have never nor will ever know what it’s like to be redlined. And the second neighborhood-friendly Joe thinks about setting up an affordable housing option which would give more people like this man to move into this community he says…
No. Because you, the Black man who was raised and nurtured by Black people and Black culture have plans that extend farther than your ancestors reach. Plans for a million-dollar investment. A restaurant that you would own. A comedy club praising your name. Not to mention the theater that YOU made in this town of 3,700 people to keep them afloat during the pandemic. In short your business, your name, and your influence control this town. Lowering the prices of 143 homes in a sub-division might create variations of wealth, race, and thinking. Thinking that you might not be able to control.
I’ve come to find in my noteworthy and educational experiences with the descendants of the Talented Tenth that this is exactly what they want. Imagine me, a kid from the hood, looking to the Black Ivies and celebrities that have made it as a bridge for our people. They made it out. Ask them how they got there, how you can get in, or how you can get a slice of the pie…don’t be surprised if you get the run-around. Why should their good fortune and their crack in the great ceiling that is racism extend to poor people? One generation of fridges filled with organic food and Sister Sledge’s We Are Family is all but a distant memory.
What are we as Black people if we don’t stick together? What is the point if the chance we are extended to come up is not extended to those that come after us? I’m not going to give you some Hotep speech about how the Muslim communities have their own plans of finance or how Jewish people own Hollywood. Because as a Black person who still lives with the effects I know it will take more than the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to undo the damage of slavery and the way it tore us as a people apart. The communities of different races don’t have to go through what we go through.
That’s the thing. This racism doesn’t stop when one Black person doesn’t need food stamps anymore. Sometimes when we get put on, we forget that. The same white people who denied us loans and shot us if we tried to vote are now the schoolmates of our children. Once they, these once unattainable white people of influence, take us in we’re the special token one. And we sometimes feel we must acclimate to the ways of those who just seconds before didn’t think we were human. Maybe if we do this then as the special token ungrateful Uncle Tom Black people, the white racism won’t touch us.
And that’s what we call a pipe dream.
No matter what we’re Black. Dave Chappelle is BLACK. The melanin doesn’t wipe off with a twenty or a million, in a food desert or in a Whole Foods. There are still a million who got caught in the school-to-prison pipeline looking just like Dave Chappelle. And contrary to the fear in the hearts of the 1% there is enough to go around. Blocking the come-up of your fellow Black brother won’t save any one of us.
I know Issa Rae said she was rooting for everybody Black. Don’t expect me to do the same unless that Black person is rooting for all of us.