‘Daily Show’ Host Trevor Noah Explains Blackness To Joe Rogan: “Black People Didn’t Call Themselves ‘Black.’ You Understand That, Right?”

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Comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan who, in the past two weeks has become a lightning rod for criticism due to comments made on his show about Covid and was the focus of a Spotify protest by Neil Young, has now come under criticism from Trevor Noah on The Daily Show for a conversation on Rogan’s podcast about skin color and what it means to be Black.

In a January 25 conversation, Rogan asked former psychology professor Jordan Peterson, “What did Michael Eric Dyson call you? A mean, angry white man?”

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“Yeah, a mean, angry white man,” answered Peterson about Vanderbilt professor Dyson, whom he has debated.

“Hilarious,” Rogan shot back, “you’re not mean at all.”

“I am white,” responded Peterson. “Actually, that’s a lie, too. I’m kind of tan. And he was actually not Black, he was sort of tan.”

That prompted Rogan to deliver his thoughts on the subject.

“The Black and white thing is so strange because the shades are so…There’s such a spectrum of shades of people,” he said. “Unless you’re talking to someone who is, like, 100 percent African, from the darkest place, where they are not wearing any clothes all day and they’ve developed all that melanin to protect themselves from the sun, you know, even the term ‘Black’ is weird. When you use it for people who are literally my color, it becomes very strange.”

After playing a clip of the exchange on The Daily Show, Noah looked at his hands with pretend shock and quipped, “Oh my God! I’m not Black! I’m not Black! Joe Rogan’s right! I’m like a Caramel Mocha Frappuccino. This changes everything. This changes everything!”

He then ran off, stage left. His exit quickly followed by police lights and sirens. The implication seeming to be that, even if one thinks one is not Black in America, certain institutions and people still see a person of African ancestry as such.

Returning to his desk, Noah said, “The police said I’m Black. But yeah, apparently Joe Rogan really wants to know why they say ‘Black people’ if they’re not the color of a Sharpie.”

Noah, who is from South Africa, then added a little historical context to the conversation.

“The thing that people seem to be ignoring is that Black people didn’t call themselves ‘Black.’ You understand that, right? It’s not like Black people were like, ‘We’re Black!’

“No, in Africa, we have tribes, we have cultures — Zulu, Xhosa, Baganda, Igbo, Wakandans — but then white people got there, and they were like, ‘Wow. There’s a lot of Black people here. A lot of Black people.’

“Then in America, they invented a rule that if you had one drop of Black blood in you, that makes you Black — which defined how you were treated by the government and by society. Even vampires wouldn’t bite you,” he joked.

“Look at the up side,” said Noah at one point, “at least Joe Rogan wasn’t talking about vaccines.”

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