Disclaimer: More often than not Americans bury important subjects by exploiting generalizations that make it impossible to make points about groups if there exist exceptions within that group. “Black people have high crime rates,” “white people can’t dance.” Through mandatory absolutism one can bar a subject from discussion and thus stop exploration of unwanted subject matter. To avoid this I state right here and now that when I say “white people” or “white men,” I don’t mean all of them. I know there are exceptions and appreciate the minority of them who are truly anti-racist. However, racially indifferent white people are like a rubber ducks in a tub of water where the drain of that tub represents racism; doing nothing will land you at racism because that’s where the undercurrent leads; only consciously fighting against that current can keep you away. By saying “white people” I speak about the net effect of white people’s existence in America.
Those emphasizing that hard work equals prosperity in America have to internalize ignoring the 800-pound gorilla in the room. That gorilla is the question; where is the hundreds of years of hard work prosperity that black American slaves literally slaved for? Surely they worked harder than any other Americans ever have and yet that hard work translated to white wealth. Even poor whites benefitted because race-based slavery shifted the brunt of the labor demand necessary for a fledgling nation to become Earth’s dominant world power, to voiceless blacks. Vagrancy law penalties during Europe’s development, mainly England, from chopping vagrants’ ears off0 to the death penalty, show the difficulty Western countries had generating labor from white citizens. The powerbase clearly needed labor and had a hard time balancing their propensity to hoard wealth and parting with enough of it to motivate workers to drive the national prosperity machine.
The solution to white men’s labor problem was redefining Africans as subhuman and working them with no compensation beyond what white citizens were capable of. Via the church and academia white men made stealing from black people second nature in American culture. Today that outlook is just as ingrained in the American fabric as during slavery. One familiar example is ticketing and crime penalization practices; law enforcement’s selective enforcement levy an extra tax on those cited and jailed. They focus on finding violators in black neighborhoods yet white neighborhoods get the lion’s share of the money derived; this is a system designed to surreptitiously assume the fruits of black labor. It is easy to attribute such a wrongful practice to evil politicians and those of the past but regular Americans today are no different. Currently two black terms drive the whole white Conservatives cause and this white male prioritizing political ideology took them from black people so effortlessly that you forget where they come from. Just like white families sitting on free generational wealth derived off the backs of black slaves, Conservatives use the terms “Woke” and “Cancel Culture” as if these terms were birthed from their own souls. They weren’t! The way Conservatives use these terms today are exclusively the product of African American culture.
We black people began using the term “woke” as early as the 1930s, when black musician, Huddie Ledbetter sang it in support of the Scottsboro Boys, 9 black teenagers wrongfully accused of rape. In the 1960s, novelist William Melvin Kelley used it coincidentally in an article about white people appropriating black slang. More recently singer Erykah Badu adjusted it to the way I’ve grown to regard it in the refrain portion of her song “Master Teacher,” which says, “I stay woke.” Without ever giving it any thought, I’ve known the term “woke” as a way to designate those who prioritized African values and culture over Western. Black people who wear their hair natural, pursue knowledge of our lost past and disrupt the flow of our slave-derived culture are considered “woke.” This use of the term “woke” is alive and well today in black America but somehow it has become a white Conservative thing.
The phrase “Cancel Culture” is a product of none other than Dave Chappelle. He birthed this term into existence in his 2019 Netflix special “Sticks and Stones.” Although we don’t realize it, Mr. Chappelle’s special was a crossroads moment in American social culture because it broke the unchecked momentum of minority movements. Until then the #metoo movement had nearly complete reign over the professional lives of many white men. Bear in mind that the pre-#metoo status quo was the opposite in that white male benefit of doubt had nearly complete reign over public and legal regard for women’s claims of sexual harassment or rape; the women were automatically doubted and the man accused given automatic benefit of doubt. Once the #metoo movement picked up steam, anyone with any connection to any woman could be destroyed professionally by a mere accusation. Anyone or any organization that attempted to quantify the wrongness of an alleged offense would be considered one with the offender, so understandably, women began seeking to have their wrongs, regardless of how valid, righted. Senator Al Franken resigned from the Senate because he made a gesture of grabbing Leeaan Tweeden’s breasts despite a flak Jacket standing as a barrier between his hands an her private parts. While the gesture was tasteless and immature, he did not grab her breasts; no one wanted to determine where an implied gesture ended and actual sexual assault began for fear of being run over by the #metoo train. She was also allowed to give an uncontested account of how he forced-kissed her while rehearsing for a play. Based solely on her story, which could be true, a good and effective Senator was forced to resign. The #metoo movement meant nothing was questionable anymore and women’s claims were to be regarded as factual regardless of what mitigating circumstances came to light.
Then came Dave Chappelle’s special, Sticks and Stones, where he spoke frankly about untouchable subjects from child molestation to rape. After watching it I felt this stand up routine took his career, and comedy as an art, to a completely new level in that he elevated comedy to a platform for actually discussing the touchy contemporary subjects America until then was only reacting to. The following day most of the media got it wrong, writing articles that admonished Mr. Chappelle. They felt his career was over. Surprise! America loved it. But sadly, I feel many white male Americans loved it for the wrong reasons; they saw in Dave Chappelle’s special, a successful way to speak out against minority social movements like #metoo and Black Lives Matter. Using a clever approach in a field unlikely to effectively start serious and overdue political conversations may have been a shrewd calculation by Dave Chappelle. Or, perhaps, he’s instinctively that good; I think the former. Had white male America not seen in Dave Chappelle’s comedy special, a useful tool to maintain white male power, Mr. Chappelle’s career would have suffered immensely. The terms, “woke” and “Cancel Culture” gave white males the ability to levee criticism and disapproval towards whites supporting minority movements; it is an acceptable way to say “N*gger Lover.”
Now, the terms “woke” and “cancel culture” define the Conservative movement as it works to erode white support for blacks participating in American Democracy. At the same time, they’re passing laws to limit black people’s access to the ballot box. “Cancel Culture” and “Woke,” just like the blatant term, “N*gger Lover,” forces anti-racist whites to make a choice between America’s future and its past. The irony is that Conservatives took two black-created terms and immediately levied them against black people. American hatred for black people is so inherent that they take a gift and immediately attack the gift giver with that gift. This is the same as raising your nation to world dominance on the backs of blacks and immediately trying to eliminate them from that nation.
Joe Rogan demonstrates exactly what I said above earlier this week. Woke and Cancel Culture, epitomized the insurmountable threat to white males. Dave Chappelle’s invention of a tool to bring the #metoo movement and Black Lives Matter into striking distance played a huge part in the success of his controversial Sticks and Stones special. The media was prepared to and begun to take shots at his career but white males saw value in his new term’s ability to make sexual harassment discussable again. This was a huge part in Chappelle’s success and with it he elevated himself and comedy into political platforms for contemporary issues.