Story About Dave Chappelle Schooling a White Woman on Racism Goes Viral on Twitter

Dave Chappelle is more than a comedian — he’s a people’s champ.

The Half Baked actor is known for using his platform to tackle hot button issues and draw attention to things that otherwise may have been overlooked. His efforts aren’t always publicized, but one of his lessons on race was recently revealed on Twitter courtesy of comedian Kenny DeForest and instantly took over the Internet.

Dave Chappelle at an event in June 2015
Dave Chappelle at an event in June 2015 | Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Kenny DeForest’s story about Dave Chappelle

In a string of tweets posted on June 3, DeForest recalled a time in 2015 when Chappelle dropped in on his hosting gig at The Knitting Factory — a concert venue in Brooklyn, New York. At some point, Chappelle decided to take the stage but rather than putting on a traditional routine, he asked the audience “for headlines to riff on.”

“Someone shouts ‘police brutality!'” DeForest claimed, noting the appearance came amid protests over the decision not to indict an officer for the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner.

Chappelle apparently paused and chugged a drink before deciding to dive into the topic, according to DeForest.

“Chappelle starts talking about Eric Garner and watching him get murdered in cold blood on camera and how it makes him scared for his children… He said ‘I thought body cams would help, but what good is video evidence if y’all don’t care?'” DeForest continued.

“A clearly privileged white girl (she had a wide brimmed felt hat for chrissakes) shouts ‘Life’s hard, sorry ‘bout it!’ and it takes the air completely out of the room. A collective gasp. Chappelle zeros in on her. ‘What did you say?’ She repeats it. Chappelle starts going in.”

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Dave Chappelle gave a full-fledged lesson on race, according to Kenny DeForest

“He starts educating the crowd on the history of black people and the police. He talked about slave patrols and Rodney King and Watts and Emmett Till and Black Wall Street. He talked about Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and he talked about John Crawford III,” DeForest continued before reminding fans of who Crawford was.

Crawford was a 22-year-old from Ohio who was killed by police in August 2014. Police had been responding to a call about someone waving a gun in a local Walmart when they encountered Crawford holding an air rifle he had taken from a shelf, per NBC News.

Officers claimed they shot him after he refused to drop the toy gun but footage shows him being shot almost immediately. Despite this, a judge later ruled the officers were justified in the shooting.

“Chappelle then tells a story about getting pulled over in rural Ohio where he lives. This is before the Crawford shooting but after Ferguson so racial tension is bubbling. He said ‘I may be white on paper, but I’m still black. So I’m nervous,'” added DeForest.

But after the officer recognized him, he let Chappelle go. “The twist? The same cop would go on to murder John Crawford III. His take away: ‘I shouldn’t have to be Dave Chappelle to survive police encounters,'” he continued.

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DeForest claimed Chappelle went on to explain that “one of his best friends is South African. He said ‘I asked him what it was like in South Africa right before apartheid ended and he said it was chaos in the streets. There were riots & car bombs etc, but the amount of people caring hit critical mass… and there was nothing they could do to stop it. The people had momentum and apartheid ended. Critical mass. That’s what we have to hit. Once enough of you care, there will be nothing they can do to stop the change. It was incredibly powerful. The crowd was somber and silent.”

It was apparently an eye-opening experience for the woman

After the set, the woman reportedly went backstage to talk to the comedian.

“Hat girl speaks first,” DeForest recalled. “I just wanted to say I’m sorry for what I said and thank you for educating me. I was ignorant before, but I want you to know I learned from you tonight and I won’t say things like that anymore.”

Chappelle, in turn, said: “You’re ok. That’s all we can ask. Know better, do better. I want to thank YOU for hearing me and listening. That’s your role. And now you know. Now you’re part of that critical mass we talked about and next time you hear a friend say some ignorant sh*t like you said, it’s your job to correct them and share with them what you learned tonight. THEN, you’re no longer part of the problem, you’re part of the solution.”

Chappelle himself has not addressed the story.

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