Analysis | Useful context for canceling a Dave Chappelle performance – The Washington Post | WHs Answers


Comedian Dave Chappelle was scheduled to perform in Minneapolis on Wednesday night, but just hours before the venue canceled the performance.

“We believe in diverse voices and freedom of artistic expression,” it wrote in a statement announcing the decision, “but in honoring this, we lost sight of the impact this would have.”

The wording is vague, but the reference is clear. Chappelle has drawn a lot of criticism in recent months for repeatedly making transgender people the punchline of his jokes. Apparently concerned about supporting Chappelle’s view, the venue canceled.

By now, any venue involved in such a cancellation is aware of what is likely to follow: the decision will be counted as a “cancellation,” a term used pejoratively to criticize incidents where individuals or groups have consequences for things are to be expected, which they have said or done. Sometimes these effects are exaggerated and dubious. Often, with a little digging, it’s obvious they aren’t.

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Sure enough, the expected voices, mostly from the political right, have dubbed Chappelle the latest victim of “wokeism” — the pejorative term often used to describe those who draw attention to things people said or did have done. Others wondered if this might have a deterrent effect on entertainers in general.

The fact that Dave Chappelle, a well-known entertainer, is involved in this almost inevitably means that it will draw a lot of attention and attention. We like to ponder things about which we have a personal connection, and most Americans probably have at least some familiarity, if not an opinion, with Chappelle. So we ask ourselves: What does that mean?

The challenge is that this tendency can make it too easy exaggerate what it means. If anything, the pattern this year was more of an intrusion into the voices of non-majority groups, not those of those in power. But dozens of anonymous people being shut down — including by government actors — draw far less attention than a popular comedian having a door slammed in his face.

Thus, as we consider the Chappelle Incident, it is useful to also consider a number of lesser-known incidents that either restricted speech or posed a threat to non-majority groups like the one that was the target of Chappelle’s jokes. Everything in the following three paragraphs happened in 2022 unless otherwise noted.

Hartford Public Schools staff targeted with threats after a school nurse garnered national media attention suspended for comments on transgender students. A school district in Wisconsin cancelled Face-to-face classes for the year and its graduation ceremony following bomb threats against the school and staff. The threats followed national media reporting on an incident in which students were investigated for transphobic comments. A man accused of threatening Merriam-Webster over his definitions of gender had also done so threatened to “shoot up” a Wisconsin state school board meeting “to promote the horrific, radical transgender agenda.” Texas implemented a law that would allow parents of trans children to be investigated for child abuse. In Alabama the governor signed a law prohibiting interim care.

The mayor of a town in Mississippi threatened Obtain funding from the City Library for providing LGBTQ material. An official in North Carolina did a similar threat. libraries AWAY Pride shows itself under pressure in South Carolina and Utah. The library in Vinton, Iowa was forced to close after its director – the third in two years – resigned after a pressure campaign that included objections to LGBTQ books and those by Jill Biden and Kamala D. Harris. The American Library Association was forced to issue a statement judged “The Alarming Rise in Aggression Against Library Staff and Visitors.” Florida passed a law banning books in school libraries or on reading lists that are “inappropriate” for students’ grade levels and allowing parents to object to books being included. From July 1, 2021 through March, PEN America counted 1,586 cases of Try banning books in the United States.

At times, members of the far-right group Proud Boys disrupted armed drag queen story hour events California, Nevada and Texas. Members also attempted to storm a nearby bar Sacramento where a drag show was planned but canceled due to threats of violence. A Drag Queen Story Hour event in North Carolina has been canceled after a series of threats. A Drag Queen Story Time event at a Connecticut library was postponed after workers received emails containing anti-gay language and comments that were interpreted as threats. A gay state senator in California has been the target of bomb threats accusing him of being a “groomer”. The openly gay mayor of an Oklahoma city resigned after receiving repeated threats. Thirty-one members of a white supremacist group were arrested in Idaho before they could start a riot at a Pride march. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation restricting discussion of same-sex relationships in schools, and his state sponsored a citizens’ initiative with openly right-wing interpretations of founding events that downplayed slavery. Fifty-seven black churches and historically black colleges and universities have been the target of bomb threats.

By the way, Dave Chappelle’s show in Minneapolis on Wednesday was moved to a new venue the same evening. Tickets for his other upcoming shows are still available.

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