When I heard that Dave Chappelle was hosting Saturday Night Live (SNL), I had some apprehension. Dave Chappelle is known for having very strong commentary on current events. So, I figured his monologue would most likely be filled with references to Kanye West, Kyrie Irving, and antisemitism.
From the first comment Dave Chappelle made on SNL, I realized my concern was valid. What could have been funny references were littered with overt and underhanded words supporting antisemitism and the stereotypes we face on a daily basis. On a personal level, it made me very uncomfortable.
I was disappointed that in this moment, Dave Chappelle didn’t take a stand against the antisemitism we have seen in the news recently. Instead, he turned it into punchlines and created an atmosphere in which it seemed to be “normalized.”
As much as I love Dave Chappelle, as a spokesperson he used his brilliance to mask dangerous commentary. What we know is that when antisemitism is presented in such a way that it almost appears “okay,” it provides people with an opening to further propagate such vitriol.
Is “cancelling” someone the answer? No, it is not. Sweeping antisemitism under the rug and saying, “you can’t say that” then moving on as if nothing happened is not going to bring about acceptance and understanding. We must nurture an environment in which these issues can be talked about openly. Our diversity should unite us, not cause rifts between us. But the only way to unite us is by engaging in open dialogue with each other.
The alarming commentary pertaining to antisemitism must be addressed. As an organization, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton and its agencies will continue to work with the community locally, nationally, and internationally to facilitate constructive conversations and provide educational opportunities on this critical topic.
What happened on Saturday night has sparked extensive commentary. Below are links to articles we can look to as conversation starters:
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