Ryan Smith, Newsweek, January 28, 2022
Trevor Noah has added his name to a growing chorus of detractors, after Joe Rogan suggested that only “100 percent African” people should be called Black.
Speaking with author and professor Jordan Peterson during an episode of his The Joe Rogan Experience podcast on Tuesday, the titular host recalled a time when professor Michael Eric Dyson had called his guest a “mean, angry white man.”
“I am white—actually that’s a lie too. I am kind of tan,” Peterson said in response to Dyson’s comment, which Rogan called “dumb” during the interview. “And he was actually not Black, he was sort of brown.”
Rogan then attempted to share his own assessment of what it means to be Black, questioning why some people “who are literally my color” identify as such.
“There’s such a spectrum of shades of people,” said the podcast host. “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.”
The comments caught the attention of Noah, who took Rogan to task during Wednesday’s installment of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.
The South African-born TV personality went on: “The things these guys 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.”