Race To The End
Posted by PintofStout on February 13, 2006
Dave Chappelle was on Inside the Actor’s Studio last night. It was an entertaining and enlightening interview which touched on the illusion of Hollywood, the problem with labels, and especially an honest look at racism in this country. The topic of labels involved the implied and misapplied label of “crazy” that people are often bestowed due to someone else’s lack of understanding of them. Dave was obviously labeled “crazy” when he ran out on his Chappelle Show contract in the third season and a $50 million paycheck. But as Dave pointed out, by assigning that label, the person is no longer trying to understand and writes the subject off. Any label works this way. They take away the individual identity of the subject, allowing ignorance and prejudice to continue.
Racism was also discussed via many of the sketches from his television show, among other things. The most important thing I took from the discussion was the need for a dialogue talking about racism and any of the systemic or institutionalized problems in our country/society/culture. The very fact that the discussion makes many people uncomfortable or is considered not politically correct is the best indication the discussion needs to take place; to ignore these problems only propagates them and in some cases strengthens them.
The show last night was a great follow-up to the movie Crash, which I watched on Friday night. This movie did a fine job putting the ugliness of racism on display, making me quite disgusted sometimes. The pain caused by these thoughts and feelings is vivid in this movie. Hopefully, it will bring thoughts of self-analysis to try to root out and understand feelings of racism in ourselves. While I try to consciously be tolerant and slow to judge, it is the unconscious reactions and feelings we must identify and deal with. I find myself making judgments without thought all the time based on broad stereotypes and labels. It is a symptom of an illness that needs cured, and the cure starts with ourselves. Look to yourself and try to understand and identify the illness; you’ll probably be surprised if you’re honest enough. But this is where the cure starts. Discussion with others about the problem makes us more aware of ourselves, but ultimately it is up to us to fix the problems within on the unconscious level; doing so on the conscious level is nothing more than following the polite rules of society and keeps hidden the real problem.