Saltine Chelsea Handler says she wouldn’t have career without ‘white privilege’
Chelsea Handler credits her comedic career to her own white privilege.
During the latest episode of “Red Table Talk” with Jada Pinkett Smith and mom Adrienne Banfield-Jones, Handler said she wouldn’t have had her own show if she wasn’t white.
“When you look at your life and you looked at being rewarded in Hollywood for my bad behavior … a black girl would never have gotten her own show for telling celebrities how stupid they are,” the comedian said, referring to “The Chelsea Handler Show” in 2006.
“Never!” Pinkett Smith chimed in.
Reflecting on her career, Handler, 44, said she’s been a “beneficiary of white privilege to such a degree” that she considers herself the “American White Dream.”
Handler appeared on the Facebook Watch series to promote her Netflix documentary, “Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea.” The comedian revealed that she has come to recognize her own privilege after many “learning points” throughout her life, including one that left Banfield-Jones “shocked and appalled.”
“I know you’re not going to like this,” Handler began her story. “This black woman was standing up singing a song. I went up to her, said, ‘Oh, that was beautiful’ and hugged her and slapped her on the butt.”
The comedian continued: “She said, ‘Black women have been defined by their hair and their asses for ages. You have no right to touch my body.’ And she said, ‘It’s not about the intention, it’s about the reception.'”
Handler called the experience a “light bulb moment.”
“So when people are like, ‘Well, I didn’t mean anything by it,’ it doesn’t matter if you didn’t mean anything by it,” she said, referring to privileged behavior. “It was received that way. You can’t deny that someone is feeling badly because of your actions.”
Handler added that it’s “up to white people to fix this problem.”
“Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea” is streaming now on Netflix.