One of my favorite ways of jump-starting classroom discussions about race and music is to show students “White People Can’t Dance,” a skit from the second season of Chappelle’s Show. In this seven-minute comedic sketch, Black comedian Dave Chappelle and his guest, white guitarist and pop star John Mayer, visit different New York City locations in order to test a hypothesis: white people can dance if you play electric guitar music. Beginning with white people in a corporate boardroom spontaneously moving their bodies in ecstasy when Mayer interrupts their meeting with a psychedelic rock performance and ending with Black people in a Harlem barbershop ignoring Mayer’s guitar solo but immediately...

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