Killer Mike joined Larry Wilmore for the The Nightly Show's panel discussion Monday where Wilmore, the rapper, head writer Robin Thede and comedian Natasha Leggero cracked wise about the absurd, ongoing saga of Rachel Dolezal.
While Killer Mike (real name Michael Render) did not get as vociferous and poignant while speaking about Dolezal — a white woman who for years portrayed herself as black before she was outed by her parents — as he has on issues like police brutality, the rapper was thoughtful and jovial throughout the discussion.
He joked about Dolezal's mall tan, the passes black people have doled out to Bill Clinton, Colonel Sanders and Tiger Woods and a story about meeting an African-German driver during a trip to Germany last year. Render had asked the driver whether his mother or father was black, and the driver had been surprised that he'd recognized this part of his heritage; the rapper noted that perhaps Americans are more conditioned to view race through such an aesthetic lens.
Thede, whose father is German and mother is black, agreed, saying, "Here's the problem in this country... now everybody's looking at me like, 'Wait a minute: blond hair, green eyes, are you black?' and I'm like, 'No, no, no — last week you knew I was black!'"
Wilmore later asked whether it was right to be mad at Dolezal if she was doing good things for the black community (she was president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, though recently resigned), to which Killer Mike cracked: "I couldn't be mad at her 'til I found out she was in Spokane. Ain't no oppression happening in Spokane — they have to import the black people for the NAACP out there."
"Every quote-unquote 'positive' thing she did to help people – these are all things that she could have done without pretending she was a black woman," Talib Kweli told Rolling Stone on the topic of good deeds. "The fraud of it would be hilarious, and that would be the end of it, if it wasn't for the fact that she was using her privilege to occupy spaces that rightfully should have gone to women of color. I don’t see any good in that. I see a self-serving attitude."
Wilmore also discussed Dolezal in his opening monologue, joking that amongst all the overwhelming evidence that she is not black was the fact that her "own parents snitched on her."
He also probed the question about whether her intentions outweighed her deception — though it turned out the latter went far beyond misconstruing her race. As Wilmore pointed out, Dolezal claimed that she had received hate mail, but an investigation concluded that the letters had been placed in her P.O. box by someone who had a key.
"Ok lady, let me tell you where this story breaks down," Wilmore chided. "I'm not gonna say somebody out there doesn't hate you, but I am going to say this is 2015 and even racists aren't sending their bigotry through snail mail anymore."