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A Guy Defended Blackface And Was Absolutely Shut Down

As a panelist on a show called "Is This Funny or Racist?" Crissle, a comedian and co-host of The Read podcast, had the last word.

Posted on May 28, 2015, at 2:44 p.m. ET

At an event Wednesday night discussing race in comedy, panelist Crissle, a comedian and co-host of The Read podcast, responded to a question in the Q&A that left the audience on its feet.


The question, which comes about 80 minutes into the video, was on Sarah Silverman's use of blackface on her TV show in 2007, and in a tweet in 2010.

The question came in the waning hours of the event, hosted by WNYC's Arun Venugopal as part of his Micropolis series on diversity and race.

The man introduces himself as a discrimination lawyer and politely thanks the panelists, then suggests that Crissle doesn't quite understand Sarah Silverman performing in blackface because she "takes her work at face value."

Universal / Via

"I don't think she's making fun in any way, shape, or form about black people when she does blackface," the man says. "Because for those of us who know the history of blackface, we know that not only did white people do blackface but black entertainers had to do blackface to get jobs!"

Crissle took a moment to compose herself, then responded. First, she called out the man's privilege:

Julia Furlan / BuzzFeed / Via

"You have to be really white to say this. First of all, I can absolutely say that you're racist for being a white woman in effing 2014 ... to put on blackface and go on television."

"Yes, I can absolutely call you racist for that," Crissle said about Silverman. "You understand the history behind it and you did it anyway. That is racist."

The man wasn't pleased and suggested Crissle should talk to Silverman to understand her intentions.

Julia Furlan / BuzzFeed / Via

"I don't have to know what's inside Sarah Silverman's head," the comedian replied.

Julia Furlan / BuzzFeed / Via

She didn't put out a book called Sarah Silverman's Diary, [say], "Here, read my innermost thoughts and see how I came to these fuck-ass conclusions that I have today." She got on TV in blackface and decided that that was funny and it's not. And you as a white man trying to tell me that my feelings aren't valid because I don't know her is a crock of shit.

That's bullshit. You don't get to tell me that the way I feel about that doesn't matter or it isn't real. And that's why I go on my show every week and say what I need to say because white people like you think you have a goddamned point.

People following along went wild over the response on Twitter.

Lord I just saw a white man get fed his ENTIRE ass in front of a large group of people. Fucking beautiful. Thank you @crissles

@crissles I had to pause the video for about 20 mins as soon as that white man said black face. I knew a great read was upon us

#micropolis #funnyorracist Watching @crissles go off on that discrimination lawyer had me like....

@crissles made me proud to be a Black Woman yet again at #FunnyOrRacist?

"Unfortunately this is not my first time cussing out a white man for being profoundly ignorant and I'm sure it won't be my last," she told BuzzFeed News.

Well. I had to get a little real tonight yall.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.