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Monday, May 21, 2007

Comments

Robbie

Ya'll should stop fighting. This is clearly a conversation we need to have. Can we all try to keep our cools? I understand some of us are offended, and others are in turn offended by that. While I don't believe Knipp to be overtly racist, I do believe he is exploiting the plight of poor blacks for the sake of his comedic routine. It is sad that some people might not completely understand, or even be willing to understand, the point of view of blacks who find blackface comedy offensive. That being said, there ARE poor white rednecks who get made fun of on all kinds of TV shows, and by all kinds of characters. Dave Chapelle comes to mind. Just because someone makes fun of a particular lifestyle, does not mean it's racist. I think it can be good to make fun of welfare mothers. Welfare motherhood should not be accepted by society, it should be laughed at, just as racist redneck homophobes should be laughed at. Welfare mothers aren't just struggling poor people with lots of babies, and it's certainly not just blacks. Many are taking advantage of American taxpayers and having children to that end. Is it necessarily racist? No. But it DOES appear racist, especially when a white man from the South paints his face black and talks in ebonics. Nobody can deny that.

Unfortunately, our society has not progressed past the point of latent racism. Somehow it exists in the hearts and minds of most people in America. On the other hand, we are electing Barack Obama president in 2008 (WOOHOO!!!!!!) But we aren't electing his blackness, we're electing his intelligence, his charisma, his stamina, his good sense, his moral judgment, his values, his talents, his ability to connect with us. I would argue that Knipp isn't disparaging BLACKNESS, he's disparaging ignorance, inarticulation, welfare motherhood, etc. This is something we all need to think about.

Katie

Well, most everybody in my small southeast Louisiana town is like Shirley Q. whether they're white or black, and they're all about as funny too. Maybe ya'll need to take a nerve pill and get a pickle down at Wal-Mark. Those check-out girls *do* move awful slow though... maybe it's the humidity.

Brian

Knipp is hilarious and I don't see protests against his character Betty Butterfield, a pill-addicted, trailer-living, middle aged cracker lady. These protests are completely hypocritical and organized by people who cannot not see that Chuck Knipp mocks aspects of people that exist in life.

As Tracey Ullman said "Political Correctness is killing this country" and I fear it is killing our sense of humor.

douglass

If the bitch every come to my state. I'll kill him personally!

The Voice of Reason

Here's what I think to all of the people who are Shirley haters:

Getting Chuck's shows canceled is a negative approach to dealing with him. From what I can gather, a half dozen shows of his were canceled over the years. If 500 people were at each show, all the cancellations accomplished was preventing 3000 people from seeing a show that they STILL WANT TO SEE.

Being "against" something doesn't help to rid it from the world. The negativity draws attention to whatever being is protested, and only results in more visibility. Want proof? just look at this site. More people than ever have heard of Chuck Knipp because of Jasmine's generous attention she gives him, and perhaps she is the reason why Rolling Stone did a major article on him. Now anyone who reads Rolling Stone knows who he is. See what "being against" something does?

No one on this board is communicating. There's one opinion FOR Chuck, then another one AGAINST him, FOR, AGAINST, etc.

It's amazing how a forum is provided to "talk things out" but no one listens or even considers changing their minds on the subject. Show me one post on this site where someone has actually said, "You know what? Thanks Jonathan for all of the comments. I used to hate Shirely but now I love her!" Or vice-versa.

All the discussion on this message board is pointless if countless hours are spent typing like mad, but no one changes their mind. Wouldn't you agree?

So, if you're against Shirley, do yourself a favor: Make this the last post you read on the subject and do the following: Support the things in your life that make you happy and stop spending your time trying to rid the world of something else that makes other people happy. You simply won't be able to succeed in doing so because as long as people support the comedy of Chuck Knipp, those people will always support him. Yep, even if you kick and scream and cancel his shows, he'll still forge ahead with a career -- stronger than before no less. He's doing that now.

Be happy.

kittu

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Andy

Boy, these white "men/cowards" are mighty mad that their saint Chuck, patron saint of minstrel shows has been outed as a two bit, painfully unfunny bigot with that interview, and to his rescue they come with nonsense, and that old line about I loves me some black folks. And, oddly enough, spewing the racist hate that he claims none of them have. And, why can't they come up with a real debate, other than using lame black comics and their acts, sorry, just because some unfunny black fool perpetuates stereotypes about poor black women who were forced to work for white folks just to stay alive and be humilated with thier children like this guy mocking them is no better than an obese white man.

But, one thing this whole debacle shows, is that if any black gay person latches on to the white gay communities battle for their "rights," will find out just how they really feel about you when they invite you to this freak show and the worshippers of some satanic God trying to heal. Maybe he needs to start preaching in white face, since his lessons seem to fall upon drunken, racist ears. Just who has he helped in his race to rid the world of racism? I sure haven't seen in from any of his klan, sorry, clan of fans, LOL!

Luther

Amen Carmonn, for those who say it isn't racist and just plain old clean fun, maybe they should try and ask a real black woman why it may be offensive. I don't want him to stop making the few coins hes getting to pay the rent in his small two bedroom apartment, since its obvious, he isn't getting rich from this, but, one teeny, tiny shred of maybe some might be offended would be nice from his fans. But, as I have learned, gay white men are no different from white straight men, the world is for them and the rest of us are bit players for thier amusement. the same bars and clubs he appears in, I would say 99% of them have never had a black employee, other than maybe a bouncer or cleaner, no way a bartender. This is why his shows are so "popular" in certain places, they have that unspoken rule that black gays are not wanted or welcomed, a rule just about any black gayu man in the USA can vouch for.

And, yet, they are the same one trying to say that they want "civil" rights when they already have more than the black women they are mocking.

He thought that the article was going to be glowing, too bad he found out it showed a pathetic man and his fans stuck in the late 1900s.

Carmonn

You say you can see the difference between humor and bigotry. What's the difference, if it's directed against you it's bigotry, directed against another group, it's humor?

Do you think Black people are too stupid to know the difference, or something? So great, if some guy decides to create a "humorous" character portraying a gay man as a child rapist, that's fine, right? And people should just shower this guy with love using the same eexcuses, "Hey, you're just picking on him because he's straight, if he were gay and doing this character there's be no problem--straight men are oppressed by not being allowed to be viocous and homophobic and racist, it's so unfair, the Queer Eye Guys can swish around and make child molestor okes and nobody says a damn word" "Hey, not like a gay man ever molested a kid ya know!" "Hey, I'm not gay. This charicature may be really hurtful to the gay community and reenfirce the same types of stereotypes that ignorany people already think, but so what? don't care about them! Screw it--hey, here comes a gay guy, let's go up and do some of the guy's routine, ask how many kids he's abused today! Hey--think he really is a child rapist?"

This isn't rocket science. You don't think it's racist because you don't care, it doesn't affect you, and also because you can claim this guy has some mysterious, magic purpose that someone turns reality on its head and makes blackface "not blackface." What purpose? The purpose of teh straight comedien who's just trying to bring attention to child rape? He says it himself, things that some people think secretly in their ugliest, most prejudiced moments, he says out loud and MAKES MONEY off it. That's his purposde in a nutshell. It doesn't do a damn thing except make racism more acceptable, not something to feel ashamed of but something to scream loud and proud and celebrate, and make everyone who has to deal with racism's lives harder in the process. Hooray, though, Massa Charles has got some cash, and that's what matters. Oh yeah, I forgot, he feels terrible bout the whole thing, and he's going to stop because he's such a nonracist--and it's going to happen, right after he keels over and the checks stop coming in. Don't look for it before that, though.

"If Knipp were motivated by racism or hatred, so you really think that Shirley would be so popular?"

Well, let's see, an insanely racist act in an insanely racist country--oh hell no! That's a complete formula for lack of popularity. Hey, it's been several years now since we've all been allowed to use the same drinking fountains and lynchings were the most populat form of saturday nighy entertainment, so no problems here.
Great, we've got a new standard, blatant racism isn't racism because so many people think it's so hilarious.

"If you're going to be activists. Pic a cause and focus"

Yeah, cuz the best way to be an activist is to listen to people too disconnected to do anything except posting on the internet, glorifying racism and telling everyone else waht to focus on.

Lola

While, I find him to be quite offensive, pitiful and a lonely, sad man who seems to think he is a black woman for whatever reason. And oddly sad with his "act" since he I do think thinks he is doing some sort of good, however, reading the posts from his fan base and seeing some of their profiles on Myspace show they are 100% behind the act, not on trying to actually trying to heal some deep racial divisions in this country. And, then those who claim to "know" black people, yeah right, save that for someone who really believes it. they don't seem to see that its a joke, they really seem to think that all black women are like this, so, he actually fails in his sad reasoning. And, just why do some seem to call him a her, that is a obese white man, not a white woman, and certainly not a black woman, even with the black paint sprayed on his face.

And, for that Latin poster, I guess you must have busted a gut when that frat/sorority did a skit about Hispanics, sorry boo, your finding this funny is odd, since in my area, the hatred of Hispanics is far worse than blacks, so, humor is in the ears and eyes of the beholder, I don't find mocking anyone funny, unless you are part of that group. And, thank God that these Hispanics are flooding this country, they will help dilute the white trash that cherishes the memories of the good old days that SQL emulates for them.

When the same ones who are demanding that black people sit down, shut up and respect the fact that they like black face humor find a clue, and some actual compassion to see why it might be hurtful, come back at me. Until then, save the lame, ridiculous "I'm not a racist" for your mama, or, at least call out the ones who are racist, and have shown it up front here.

And, for the queen with the "needums" comment, what the heck is a "needum?" More worng SQL humor or what?

How many inches it is between Jasymne nose and her upper lip?
Why her face all brokeded out? Do it be "needums?"

Look like when she post her tired weight loss stories, don't nobody give a shit.
Especially us large and proud ladies.

Only way she can get some attention these days is to glom onto Shirley Q., whom she have personally made into a international superstar.

Oh...and then there's the updates about Jasmyne's weight loss and hair style. That makes the donations worth it. It makes me feel like the world WILL turn out to be a better place.

By the way... I really think it boils down to this....Y'all would go broke protesting the people who actually impact society. Y'all don't have the energy or backing to protest people like Eddie Murphy or Dave Chapelle. Chuck Knipp is an easy target since he is white and you have no budget. In comparison, Chuck's following is small. He entertains a much smaller group than does Dave Chapell and Eddie Murphy. If you're going to be activists. Pic a cause and focus. Don't waste your time on something that can't possibly show any result.

If I donated money to this website, I'd think I was cheated since you spend so much time on little shit that doesn't have an impact and don't focus on anything that will have a real impact.

"What you are saying, in effect, is: we'll criticize the white guy but only if you offer up a black guy first."

You miss the point. That's not what is being said at all. Those people who like Chuck's characters are saying that nobody would care about his act if he was black. They are only critical since he is white. They are saying if you are going to shut down Chuck's acts, do the same for everyone who makes fun of racial stereotypes. Afterall...Eddie Murphy has made millions making films using the same humor...and Chuck is just doing gay bars. It's like the US having an arms race against Mexico while letting Russia have free reign with nukes.

mc

[meta: white, gay, male, early 40's]

This kind of act, and some of the defenses I'm reading here, chill me to the bone ... and I usually applaud people who push the envelope & make society squirm. This, though, is just ugly. It's kicking people who are down.

This is a type of humor I only see at dinner parties held by the elite. As in, I know too many rich white guys who love to do imitations of 'ignurent black wimmin' at the dinner table, and love to slum in the ghetto with the sisters (but only when they're out of town and visiting Atlanta or New Orleans, never ever at home in Long Beach or LA or New York).

If Knipp is doing this out of love, then let him perform this act in front of women who really are struggling instead of the rich and priveleged. If they can feel the love then maybe I'll feel less disgust with the act.

Also, it's a false argument to ask "what about Eddie Murphy / Richard Pryor / Dave Chappelle / Ice T?" and think that this is a defense of Knipp. If anything, it's an admission of culpability. What you are saying, in effect, is: we'll criticize the white guy but only if you offer up a black guy first.

Farris

Thank you for promoting with this article someone I think is very funny. He doesn't promote racism, he brings to light an aspect of the human experience. But if you don't like what he does, don't go see him.

This is truly pathetic!!! I read what was said, and you didn't say anything except that anyone who held opinions other than your own was wrong. Knipp (and you, for that matter) do not have to go out lynching and calling people n***** to be racist. You can be racist by implicitly and explicitly supporting the racist institutions, ideologies, and actions of others. The fact that you do not speak against racism implies that you do, indeed, condone it. The very fact that you believe that you and you alone are able to determine what is racist (and that the rest of us should shut up because our opinions don't matter as much as yours, or stand by and take your insults and put-downs) is racist itself! But I know better than to get into an argument with a fool, so I will let your foolish, bigoted posts speak for themselves...

you just proved my point.

goodbye.

People in the Sun

What's more insane than blackface in 2007? A group of people defending blackface in the comments above. Unbelievable.

trying to discount what i say simply by implying that i don't "get you".... yeah, really mature. how about you read what's said and have something thoughtful to say in return. you're still not taking the heart of what's said, you simply have pre-conceived notions of what's right and wrong here. have you even read what knipp said in the article? "Shirley makes them feel it's acceptable to openly mock black people in a way they otherwise would not, and that does cause me to have second thoughts. If what I'm doing is truly hurtful, then I need to stop.----Charles Knipp." does that sound like someone who's racist? grow up. how about talking to knipp and express your views, and find out what his are... or are you content to take a move from the president's handbook and turn a deaf ear so you can simply try to rile emotions even more? given your response and lack of thoughtful discussion, i assume the latter.

To the comment:

"no one seems to be making the point that none of this comes from a place of racism or hate. i don't consider myself racist at all, and i find both betty and shirley to be funny characters, based on completely ridiculous, unrealistic and antiquated stereotypes. i don't have hate for the people those characters spoof. i also don't bat an eye when eddie murphy or dave chapelle dresses up and wears white makeup to to make fun of white people. it's comedy, and should be taken in that context. if it's funny, it's funny. if not, then it'll fail anyway."


It seems as if this list is going to be worn out before too long:

1) When the opinions of black people conflict with his own it is because black people are wrong.

2) As a white man, he will decide when, where, and who we can be angry at.

3) His knowing black people (in whatever form) means that he is qualified to speak of the experiences, history, and psychology of black people.

4) As a white man, he knows what racist behavior is and isn't, and if he says it isn't it isn't.

5) As a white man, if he thinks it's funny and done without malice it is because he (a white man) said so.


The fact that the comment quoted above was written after this tells me how right that poster was!! This is so funny!!

what's interesting is that jasmyne admits to never even having seen one of knipp's performances. her vitriol is a little disturbing, and less than mature in general to me. she doesn't seem the slightest bit interested in actually talking to knipp about the character to express her views and see what's behind the character, why he does it. Nor does she even mentioning the many other characters knipp plays, for example, betty butterfield, who's just as offensive to overweight white southern ladies... have you seen the clips where betty butterfield discusses a religion in each one? they're very funny, but also stereotypical about religion, especially in the south. why does jasmyne not go after that character? why not attack all people who use some kind of stereotype to create humor? comedians walk a fine line while trying to be funny.

no on seems to be making the point that none of this comes from a place of racism or hate. i don't consider myself racist at all, and i find both betty and shirley to be funny characters, based on completely ridiculous, unrealistic and antiquated stereotypes. i don't have hate for the people those characters spoof. i also don't bat an eye when eddie murphy or dave chapelle dresses up and wears white makeup to to make fun of white people. it's comedy, and should be taken in that context. if it's funny, it's funny. if not, then it'll fail anyway.

think about how incredibly offensive some of sarah silverman's stuff is towards gays, latinos, asians, etc... with her even pretending to be lesbian, and we all laugh because it is truly funny. no one was up in arms when animations were done over knipp's voice character, because they didn't know he's white, and so it was just funny.

that's what jasmyne's missing. this isn't targeting blacks because we think they're stupid old ladies. the characters knipp has created are just plain funny and interesting, regardless of where they came from. a quick note... why does rupaul like shirley so much? has anyone thought to ask?

that being said, i bet you knipp will bow to the pressure and stop performing. he's not doing this because he's racist, he's doing it because he likes the characters and he makes people laugh. as he points out in the interview it makes him stop and think when people hire him for private parties who clearly have different views on blacks, and are laughing at his character with racism to back them up. with those people in mind, ultimately it will probably be better for knipp to wrap up shirley, however i do think it's important to try to see intent behind humor, rather than simply reacting violently, as i believe jasmyne has.

sorry, this ended up being a longer response than i'd anticipated.

much love.

WWRWFD

I think this discussion shows us one thing that we can learn from. For all of our talk of diversity in the so-called gay community, the simple fact is that long before sexuality came into play we we raised and groomed in homes and communities that came with a host of other isms and prejudices that we do not let go of. This colors the way we see the world and the way we react to events in the world. Knipp and his sad, pathetic act are no different in thie regard. For some reason minstrel shows and general black bafoonary (done by either blacks or whites) plays well with some audiences. I never once thought for a second that white gays would take a stand against this man because his act suits their taste for portraying blacks as stupid, inarticulate clowns. White gay men love their Mammy characters and a head rolling, spit-fire, sassy black woman, no matter what this means about their views of black people and black culture and history in general.

Let's be real here-- being gay does not make one less or more sensitive to racism, anymore than it would make one less or more sensitive to sexism or classism or anti-semitism. The comments on this post prove that point to a T. Long before Mr. Jonathon was a gay man he was a white man, and for him that means a few things:

1) When the opinions of black people conflict with his own it is because black people are wrong.

2) As a white man, he will decide when, where, and who we can be angry at.

3) His knowing black people (in whatever form) means that he is qualified to speak of the experiences, history, and psychology of black people.

4) As a white man, he knows what racist behavior is and isn't, and if he says it isn't it isn't.

5) As a white man, if he thinks it's funny and done without malice it is because he (a white man) said so.

Unfortunately, I have seen this movie too many times to worry about the ending. As SGL people, we need to remove these sorts of people from our spaces of thought so that we can move forward with building a strong black SGL community that fights for justice for all.

Jonathon

"And, FYI Jonathon, not all black people speak in, nor do they understand "Ebonics", just like most black women don't have 19 kids with names after sexually transmitted diseases. Try getting to know a real black woman, you just might have a change of heart, and save, the "some of my best friends are..." it rings hollow with Chuck, and it does with his white gay fans."

Oh, Andy... where to begin.

You assume (wrongly) that I am a racist, that I have no black friends, that I have never interacted with black people and am ignorant of black culture. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You also assume that I believe that "all" black women are just like Shirley, ebonics, children and all. YOU ARE IGNORANT.

I live in Atlanta, GA. I have lived in Georgia my entire life. I have been priviliged to know many wonderful people in my time, both black and white. I have had black teachers, friends, coworkers and even bosses. For many years I was represented in Congress by Rep. John Lewis, a man who I admire greatly for his work during the civil rights struggle and for his work for equality for everyone, black, white, gay, straight, etc. Don't paint me with your racist brush because you assume that my support for Shirley/Knipp means that I have some problem with black people.

You wanna hear reality? Then come down here and spend 15 minutes in a grocery store and listen to how people talk. Very few people, white or black, are speaking "the Queen's English". There are white southern drawls and black southern "ebonics" at every turn. We all "talk funny" down here.

If you don't like Shirley or Knipp, then don't go to her shows, don't buy her CDs and by all means boycott those establishments that feature her. That is your right. But I truly feel that those who are fighting so hard against Knipp are doing themselves a disservice and alienating an ally. Dig deeper than the "blackface" and you find a real person, with real experiences and a genuine talent for bringing his characters to life. If Knipp were motivated by racism or hatred, so you really think that Shirley would be so popular?

There are real enemies to the black and gay communities out there. We should be focusing our efforts on combating the real threats we face, not beating up on an artist like Knipp.

Have a good day, y'all.

"Quakers almost as good as colored.... They call themselves friends and you can trust them every time." ~ Harriet Tubman (~1820-1913)

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