This 2004 satirical clip from the Chappelle Show begins with a discussion of arguments related to multiracial identity. “We have got to start arguing about who is what,” Chappelle says. “We need to settle this once and for all. We need to have a draft.” Following the style of a draft for the NFL or NBA, one by one a representative from different racial and ethnic groups comes to the podium, selecting famous athletes, entertainers and other prominent social figures to “officially” be a part of their racial group. Among the picks, Tiger Woods is claimed by African Americans, Lenny Kravitz by Jews, and the Wu Tang Clan by the Asian delegation.
Chappelle suggests that American society often argues about “who is what” in terms of their mixed racial identity. Is this a debate that you have experienced before? Can you think of specific public figures whose racial identity has been in question? Why is this a topic of public discussion and fascination?
What do you think Chappelle’s ultimate aim was in writing and producing this comedic sketch? What was he trying to say about society? Do you think he was successful in getting his point across? Why or why not?