How Do I Put This: Dave Chappelle and the Humor in Transphobia
"That’s a shim". It’s one of the earliest memories I have of black people making jokes at the expense of transgendered people. "That’s not a her or a him. That’s a shim." Then I’d chime in, "Nah, that’s a himmer." Transphobia was nowhere near an actual word where I grew up. If there was something weird about you, you were weird and niggas were gonna talk about it.
Baltimore is quite the queer city. The LGBT community exists loud and clear. Miss Toney was one of our biggest celebrities at the time and you knew the moment you heard him on the radio that he was very gay and very good at what he did. I had grown up traveling the city and being surprised by seeing men in dresses. “He know he outta line” my mother would say, but usually as a reaction to them wearing small ass shoes. Being brought up in a black Christian family, I was taught that these people were what they were because they were bizarre and hated god.
See, despite Baltimore having hella gay people in it, it didn’t make the straight people here more accepting. A disturbing amount of femme gay men that I have met can attest to being jumped just for being openly homosexual. I’d been present for the occasional "if she wanna act like a man, ima fuck her up like a man" fantasy. I’d watched men refer to stuff that they disliked as "gay" or "faggot shit". When I told people I was going to Edmondson for high school, they’d say “You know it’s a dyke school?” It was something I saw as a harmless difference of opinion rather than deeply-rooted rhetoric.
In 2017, you could say we’re in the throes of the LGBT civil rights movement. Years after President Obama repealed the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy, Donald Trump declared via Twitter that transgender people would no longer be allowed into the military. This understandably caused backlash and, inevitably, opinions. "Trans" has been the hot word of the week in the black community thanks to old nigga comedians and Bobby Valentino. Now I can’t speak on how white folks deal with discussions on trans issues, but I just knew that anything resulting from this topic would be a clusterfuck.
Now, first and foremost, let’s talk about Little Duval. This nigga should have been taken out of the paint ages ago. The nigga isn’t even funny; he just looks funny and says dumb shit. You’d be surprised at how many comedians build a career off of that. Little Duval manages to occasionally resurface into relevance due to his proximity to T.I (whom I affectionately refer to as Tiphorn Leghorn). For some reason Grand Hustle needed a court jester and Shawwtay from Clipse’s "When the Last Time" video was busy.
As a result of this proximity to TI, he was invited on the breakfast club to, I don't know, promote Grand Hustle's comedy YouTube or some shit. During this interview, Charlamagne and the sycophants begin speaking on transgender women, which gets Little Duval visibly uncomfortable. When asked about fucking on trans women, Little Duval has no problem announcing that he'd probably kill one for deceiving him. Let's pause right here.
Now, I want y’all to know and understand that this is considered a totally normal thing for black men to say. Throughout life, if a nigga is asked how he would respond to an inadvertent intimate interaction with a person born male, the answer is usually excessive violence. And we’d laugh. Violence is the norm for cisgender niggas across all demographics. It’s our favored method for solving issues and releasing stress. Our movies, our music, our video games and even our sports provide our intake of physical dominance. Violence isnt the answer, it is the question. The answer is usually yes.
Combine the lust for violent expression with befuddled emotions brought on by an attraction to women that may have a penis and you get Little Duval’s controversy. The whole anchor of straight niggas' defense was "he’s talking about killing someone that deceived him". Chances are, these are niggas that cheat regularly. Me, personally, if I slept with a woman and then shorty like "Whole time I was born a with male genitalia", I’d have to give her kudos. Clearly her transition was well done and she should be able to get what she wants out of life, at least as a result of her physical looks. Then I can either go "Well, I still prefer naturally born vaginas so ima have to not do this no more" or "that new pussy was hitting what you doing next week". Most likely Ima be like "I don’t wanna see you again. You selfish as fuck."
The issue with straight niggas' whole "I gotta kill her for deceiving me" shit is that you probably wouldn’t be deceived if you kept your dick in your pants longer. My mother was an avid Jerry Springer watcher and her favorite episodes were the "I was born a man" episodes. These young black dudes would come on the show carrying flowers and dressed like they were on a job interview. They’d gush about this woman they met and how hot the sex was, then Jerry would bring her out. It would obviously be a human of masculine biological make up. She’d process her love and then admit she has a dick and all hell would break loose. The whole time I’d be sitting there like "How did he miss the penis?" The fact that "straight" men keep having sex with pre-op transgender women "by mistake" says a lot about niggas disdain for foreplay and an overall lack of knowledge of the female form.
Okay, now back to the Charlamagne Club. So after casually discussing committing a hate crime, DJ Envy tries to get Little Duval to admit that Janet Mock, who once came on their show, is pretty cute. Little Duval says "Man, that nigga doing his thing. Y’all ain’t gonna get me." The Breakfast Club caught hell for this because they all laughed at Duval’s response, but I enjoyed the exposure of insecurity. The nigga literally said "Y’all ain’t gonna get me." He didn’t even say she wasn’t attractive. He just couldnt say out loud that she was pretty.
Even Charlamagne was saying she was pretty, but Duval knows in his heart that if he says she’s attractive, that means he’s attracted to her. If he’s attracted to her, that means he wants to fuck her. A majority of men haven’t grasped the fact that you don’t have to think sexually of every attractive woman. As a result of this thinking, niggas keep being attracted to all kinds of women and then being mad when the women aren’t who they thought they were.
As if Duval’s fear of trans women wasn’t enough for the week, Dave Chappelle’s transphobia decided to rear it’s bald, legendary head. Despite much warrioring from social justice warriors, Dave’s Netflix specials landed him a residency at Radio City Music Hall. In his inaugural show, my mans decides to make more jokes at trans people’s expense because clearly he needs to give them a "fuck you" whenever possible.
Now, I’m a big Dave Chappelle fan. He’s on my black comedy Mt. Rushmore with Patrice O’Neal, Monique and Bernie Mac. I quote the most obscure Chappelle’s Show skits and stand-up bits to this day. However, I gotta admit that the nigga is being a dickhole. Being a famous person in 2017 that meets people all the time, I find it hard to believe his issue with trans people is simply ignorance. It’s his way of being defiant.
For one, he has a serious beef with Caitlyn Jenner. I can’t relate because Bruce Jenner was not a hero of my generation. I only know that nigga as Kim Kardashian’s step-dad, but black men over 40 are extremely distraught by Caitlyn’s decision to be Caitlyn. In her previous life, she graced Wheaties boxes for her Olympic feats and inspired little boys to be great. Along with this gold medal glory came the designation as a symbol of masculinity due to her prominence in athletics. It has lead to what’s happening now, where men talk about Caitlyn like she betrayed them.
He mentioned Caitlyn again for his latest stand up, commenting on the rumor that she may be in Sports Illustrateds swimsuit issue. His response? "Yuck. I don’t want to read Sports Illustrated for stats and it’s man-pussy on the next page". I’m not about to sit here and pretend I want to see Caitlyn Jenner in a swimsuit, but I’m not about to pretend I would say some of the shit Dave Chappelle says on stage either.
What bothered me the most about Dave’s stand up specials and his recent stand up is his defense for being an asshole to trans people. He continuously claims that black people have it harder than trans people like trans people are a bunch of white men in dresses. I’ve never been a fan of the oppression Olympics, arguing about who has suffered more at the hands of the white man. It’s usually used to excuse being a fucking asswipe.
Personally, when I hear "women's rights", I think black women. When I hear "gay rights", I think of gay black people. When I hear "black lives matter", I think of all of us. However, I also see the aforementioned people as humans and not stepping stones to some black male liberation. When Dave Chappelle speaks like he does, he erases black trans people completely.
One thing I noticed about America is that black people arent just killed for being black. We’re killed because our lives are basically irrelevant. Our deaths matter less in this country than a dogs does and I know because I’ve seen cops have their career ruined for killing dogs. Trans people, however, are being killed for exactly who they are. People follow them, stalk them, insult them and cause them violence just because people feel that their mere existence is offensive. Could you imagine being black and trans? Not only do your own people despise you for who you are, but no one cares if they decide to harm you for it.
It's something that's fucked with me for the longest, only because I know I'm near niggas like Dave Chappelle and Lil Duval all the time. We get mad at white people for not cussing their family members out for saying nigger, but when the last time your straight ass told your uncle that tranny is a negative term? When the last time you corrected your mom when she misgendered someone? Chances are you don't. You'd have to be Professor X to have the mental energy it takes to argue with someone that fully believes that what they're saying is right. It would take me a whole nother medium post to outline what led up to this point, but what I know is that if we don't outline what can lead us away, we're all going to suffer in the end.
*** y’all basically my editors, so if you see any misinformation or other written ignorance, inform me by all means.