W. Kamau Bell shares insight on racism in America, riots across US

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Host of "United Shades of America" and comedian W. Kamau Bell discussed the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd and shared his insights on what is behind the behavior.

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"During coronavirus people are feeling more afraid, more hopeless," he said.

Combine that with "black people feeling abandoned by the government" and it produces the fuel behind the riots, according to Bell.

He also explained why he believes privileged people need to be the voice for the underprivileged and not only encouraged everyone to do something each day to battle racism, but also said we shouldn't wait to vote in November to make changes.

WATCH: ABC7 Listens 'From Anger To Action: A Bay Area Conversation'

With social media playing such a significant role in society, Bell explained how "we use social media to vent anger we would otherwise not vent in real life, and the quicker you admit your mistake the quicker you heal."

Watch the video posted above for the full interview and read the full transcript below.

Kristen Sze
Welcome to our daily program called Getting Answers. This show was created to bring you in depth interviews and let you ask questions to experts in real time regarding COVID-19. Today will be the first time since the show started that we won't be covering the coronavirus. That's because today feels different. It is different protests in the Bay Area and around the world are sparking conversations. And that's what we're having today when it comes to justice for George Floyd, race relations and whether these protests could be a turning point in our country. So, joining me now for that conversation is a very special guest whom I'm excited, honored and quite truthfully, kind of nervous to have on the executive producer and host of CNN's "United Shades of America." Bay Area native and Oakland resident W. Kamau Bell. Thanks so much for coming on the show today. I'm a little nervous.

W. Kamau Bell
Well, as we know, as we both know, there's no need for you to be nervous around me. I'm a college dropout in a comedian, so...

Kristen Sze
Okay, yeah, but it was the University of Pennsylvania an Ivy League school you dropped out from so...

W. Kamau Bell
I'm a still dropout. I dropped out of the best.

Kristen Sze
You know what, whether it's your shows podcasts or books usually make us laugh while making us think about what it means to be black in America serious issues, but really right now today, there's not too much to laugh about.

W. Kamau Bell
Yeah, I mean, we have to if you go on Twitter, you will see people, black people who are posting and still finding ways to laugh because that relieves the tension. If we just stay tuned to the moment, you can't live through those moments. So I think that like, now's the time where artists, comedians, writers are sort of challenged to still do our work while all this is going on.

Kristen Sze
Yeah. And so much is going on. America is really a powder keg right now. We're seeing military vehicles outside the White House right now. Right now. In fact, there's the possibility that President Trump may speak shortly, but we know this morning he was telling governors they've been weak. They need to dominate. We've seen protesters and even journalist pepper sprayed and arrested. We have curfews in big cities, small cities. I know it's just your take. It doesn't represent everybody, but you have a very well informed take. So what do you think this is an expression of?

W. Kamau Bell
I mean, I think we can't separate this from the pandemic from COVID-19. I know you said that. Normally, that's what you talk about on this show. But I feel like that's why this is happening right now. You know, I think people are feeling more scared, just in the COVID-19 era, they're feeling more, more afraid. They're feeling more hopeless, they don't have money, they can't pay rent, they can't get access to health care. The black and brown community are seeing people die at a higher rate and affected by COVID-19 and a higher rate. And there's no sense that the government is coming to help us in any substantial way. If the government just put money in people's pockets and said, Hey, we're gonna make you whole until we get through this so you can stay at home and feel and actually pay your rent. So you're not on the front lines. You're not desperate. I think this looks very differently. Right now. There may be protests but I don't know if they erupt around the world is erupting around the world right now.

Kristen Sze
Yeah. And it is around the world. But you mentioned the economics, right? If people had money means to support their family. So is that what's adding to it? Because, you know, it's not just about the police brutality or the death of George Floyd or, you know, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner any of those, it's Trayvon Martin, all that adding up. Is it about the fear that I'm gonna go out there as a black person and not come home alive? Or is it about, you know, I'm just not able to take care of my family. I can't make a living here in America.

W. Kamau Bell
I mean, I definitely think that every time a video comes out that shows a black person being abused, killed by the police. It feels like okay, this has to stop. So I think that happens. But again, you people, as I wrote on Twitter, it's hard to start a riot when everybody's got a good job, has access to health care, has access to education, and feels like they're well represented by their politicians and well protected by the police force. So if all those things are happening, it's hard for outside agitators is to get you to be with them while they throw a brick through a target window. But because people feel especially black folks feel completely abandoned by the government on the on a good day, but this is not an especially bad day. People have more time and more pent up frustration to get out in the streets.

Kristen Sze
Mm hmm. Okay, so given that then what do you think the solution is? What do you think our leaders need to start doing?

W. Kamau Bell
You know, I mean, when I heard Trump heard about Trump calling the governor's weak, I sort of thought, What is your response as a governor, if you if the president calls you weak when you know you're doing the best you can for your people, and you've had very little support from Trump and the federal government. I feel like the politicians at the top, like, what is the senator's response? What is the Congress people's response? They have to do a better job of confronting him and working hard to figure out how to how to get around him so that they can actually promote justice and equity. And right now it feels like there's a stalemate up there. You know, as much as I like to hear Nancy Pelosi make fun of him. It feels like ultimately, what is that doing? And so I'd say the other thing is that those of us who are living in the cities, we have to, we have to trust organizers and the elected officials that we can to do the job, but we have to put pressure on them.

Kristen Sze
So Dr. Martin Luther King had said Riot is the language of the unheard. is that the message that's been unheard that black America has been trying to send forever is that You know, we need to be able to not worry about our safety when we're out there. And also, we need a way to make sure we are enjoying the economic pie like everybody else?

W. Kamau Bell
I think again, if you have a place to live that you feel is good and safe and affordable, if you have, if you feel like your neighborhood is looking out for you in the community, so and the political leaders and community support you and hear you, it is way harder to think about going out into the streets.

Kristen Sze
Okay. All right. And right now, clearly, the fact that so many are out in the street, we get the message. Hey, you're a comedian, so you don't offend easily, which is a good thing because I'm about to ask some questions that we'll have some people saying on Twitter if you got to ask them sit down. But you know, I really disagree with that. Because I think unless you ask, how do you begin to understand why things look so different from somebody else's perspective? Right. And I know you yourself have joked about having to explain the impact of racism to white people. That's, you know, you've said that, so explain why everybody else care what's happening in Black America.

W. Kamau Bell
Pastor Michael McBride, who's the pastor of the way church in Berkeley, California says, white people have to understand that this sort of that the racism that affects black people and brown people, and people of color ultimately affects them too. Because this society that's not just an equitable for everybody means that you're not getting the most out of the members of your society. And you're not the society's not as good as you want it to be. So if your society is not educating all the kids, all the kids don't have a chance to engage fully in the future and make the future a better a better day. So for me, the idea is that white folks have to stop thinking about Oh, I should go out in the streets to help the black people they should go out in the streets selfishly, because if the world if America is better for black folks, it's better for me, because because this is truly the rising tide that lifts all boats.

Kristen Sze
Mhmm. So what do you hope is the takeaway, not just for White America, but also, you know, whether you're Latino, Asian, you know, here in the Bay Area, I tend to think maybe I'm Pollyanna, but I feel like we don't think that way. Like, I don't. Maybe I should think that way. But I don't look at people so much through race in my life and people will call that naive, I know it. I look at the individual and who they are. But is that also not the best approach? If we really want to solve these problems? Like I'm totally, I have a thick skin so you can tell me I'm wrong. That's okay.

W. Kamau Bell
Okay, good. You're wrong. I mean, I've been flippant a little bit. Okay. I think that even though yes, I believe you that you judge people by who they are not by the color of their skin or their gender or their preferred pronoun. I believe you with that. But then I think we all have to go. No matter if that's true or not, COVID-19 is still hitting black folks in East Oakland harder than it's hitting white folks in San Francisco.

Kristen Sze
Yeah, the numbers support that. Absolutely.

W. Kamau Bell
No. No matter how I feel as an individual, the system isn't working for everyone. And as a person of privilege with you and me, thankfully are people of privilege, we have to use the responsibility, especially in historical moment, because I feel like right now we're living to the moment that historians will write back on and go, these are the people in the right side of history. And these are clearly the people on the wrong side of history. And they don't they don't ever write about the people who are like they were on the middle side of history. It's always you get divided up in one in one group or another. And so right now, I think it's all of us, those of us with privilege to use our voices and our resources and our privilege to help heighten the voices of the people who aren't heard. You know, a ride is the language of the unheard because people enough people aren't listening to the unheard and if we listen to them, and took their concerns seriously, there would not have there would not be the opportunity for I forget the need for riot there wouldn't be the opportunity for a riot. We would only have riots when sports teams won.

Kristen Sze
And we don't like seeing that either. But it happened.

W. Kamau Bell
We don't like that either. But that's a different type of riot. Those don't have if the if the Warriors win another championship, that riot doesn't spread around the world.

Kristen Sze
You are right. Okay. Let's carry this conversation over to our livestream platforms and take a short break on the air over on live streams. I want to talk about a question that people are posting now about looting and what that means and what that means for the cause. So join us over there on Facebook Live. Okay, Kamau. Michael has a question, Michael. Why he says everybody says these small handful of looters and people destroying things. It's taken away from the power and meaning of the protest. What does it handful of murdering racist people do for the police force?

W. Kamau Bell
That's like a PhD essay in that question so well, as many people have said, Chris Rock has a joke in his last special about that. Some jobs can't have bad apples. We sometimes say there's a few bad apples in the police force, but some jobs can't have a few bad apples. Police is one of those jobs. The medical profession is one of those jobs that they have to be held up to a much higher standard than your barista, or, you know, other jobs that aren't as essential or also don't involve life and death. So I think the fact is, is that even if the percentages say that most cops aren't participating in the abuse of African Americans, most cops by virtue of not clearing out those bad apples are participating in the abuse of African Americans. I think, you know,

Kristen Sze
it's like that Minneapolis police chief said, you know, you're complicit. He was referring to the other three officers who are on video there that any one of them could have stopped this from happening, right?

W. Kamau Bell
Yeah, I mean, we have in Oakland, you know, all of the heat of the Oscar Grant killing went on Johannes is measurably the one cop, but there are other police officers there. And as we all know, Johannes Mehserle served I think less than two years in prison for murdering Oscar Grant. So we even when justice prevails, it doesn't land is harsh on the on the on the perpetrator when Police officers as it does on the victims

Kristen Sze
Mm hmm. Okay, Alex has a statement. They ain't riding to be heard. They want freebies. All of them whites, blacks, browns, similar to Ray's comment, which is destroying innocent businesses and looting is such an awesome opportunity at justice. Wink--sarcasm, obviously. You know, maybe you know, we don't have too much time so I want to take it back on air and address that issue. All right. Yeah.

W. Kamau Bell

???

Kristen Sze
We got a few seconds I think. Just just enough time to take a sip of water. All right, we are back on air with executive producer and host of CNN's "United Shades of America" and Oakland resident W. Kamau Bell. We've been having an interesting conversation over on our Facebook Live platform. Folks were asking about looting in particular, right and This is done by not just blacks. I mean, everyone, you see people from the SKY7 shots of all races, but they're saying they writing to be heard they want freebies, all of them. And how is that an opportunity for justice? What do you think about that?

W. Kamau Bell
I mean, I feel like this I, I've answered this question over and over again. I feel like I feel like I answered in the last block, but people don't want to hear the answer. There are certainly different segments of people who are out there protesting. There's the initial protesters who go out there for peace. And then there are people who go out there to be opportunists. And you have to also remember that the police generally when they show up to protest show up in gear that looks like it's ready for war, which becomes agitating on its own. So I think that like, certain amount of property destruction is just some people just get so frustrated out there, they start breaking that breaking things. And there's people like the people you saw in Walnut Creek, who are just like, oh, people are rioting Now, let me go to the Macy's. You know, I mean, so I think we have to stop acting like, you know, in America, we like to paint black people with a broad brush, and then we'd like to paint Protesters with a broad brush, right? Everybody's not out there for the same reason. And as I said before, if you gave, if you responded to the needs of these people or that the core protesters were talking about police, police reform and justice when police kill people, they wouldn't be out in the streets and rioters and looters don't just show up on a Wednesday, right? They show up when there's a chance when they have the cover of a protest.

Kristen Sze
Mm hmm. And you're right. It's something for each and every one of us to think about including journalists that people have different agendas and you can't look at you know, one snapshot and expect that everybody's the same.

W. Kamau Bell
I would say that too. in Berkeley when there was protests Black Lives Matter protests during a few years ago after after St. Louis. White people stood in front of the white people trying to break into the target or not the target the Trader Joe's and the and the other stores because they like that's not what we're here for.

Kristen Sze
Yeah, I mean, look, this is the Bay Area. And again, maybe this is the Pollyanna part of me coming out. But I like to think that most of us really want to work towards social justice and an equitable society for all of us, right? People of all shades. I'm Asian, you're black. Okay, so what and your wife is white, and we want the same things in the end, right? The ability to take care of our families and lead a good life. But I want to ask you, now that I brought up your wife, okay, you know, we have to go there. She's got to be part of the conversation. There was an incident

W. Kamau Bell
She just walked in a second ago.

Kristen Sze
She was? She can come say hello. But the last time we had you on the ABC7 News, I think we talked about an incident that you and your wife encountered at a Berkeley cafe. It was a pretty well known cafe and that is not you know, it wasn't what George Flyod encounter, but it's the kind of micro aggression rooted in the same kind of racism that you experienced. Tell us that story again.

W. Kamau Bell
So yes, it was a it was. It was my birthday. I think of 2014. 2015. I'll always remember it was my birthday. And we went to the Elmwood cafe, which is now called Baker and Commons. But it's still the same place in the same place. So we went to the Elmwood Cafe cafe for breakfast. I left my wife left, my wife returned back for lunch, she asked me to join her there with some friends. I walked up to her, she was sitting outside with their friends, they were all holding babies, because they all just had babies recently. And I started talking to my wife and her friends and one of the employees knocked on the window from the inside and said, Get out of here scram. I couldn't hear them. But it was very clear, like stop bothering those white ladies. And I stood there for a second and my wife realized what had happened cause she knows how to recognize my face. That's racism. And the another employee came out to sort of give me the, you know, as they call it, the bum's rush to sort of like leave these white women alone. And that's when my wife said, that's my husband. This is our child. We ate here earlier today, and the Elmwood and the employee said, Oh, we thought he was selling something. It's okay as if that was the reaction. I was gonna make everything okay. The reason why we turned it into a bigger incident is because we realized it was happening to me. It's happening to other black people don't have the platform I have. But the reason why we were sensitive about how we turned into a bigger thing is because at the time, the nation was still reeling from Ferguson and Michael Brown's murder, so it was a way to sort of go, it shouldn't always be about death and how black people are killed. There's levels of microaggressions and levels of implicit bias that black people deal with every day that most black people can't complain about, because they don't have a platform. And also they have too much too many other things. Luckily, for me, this is my job.

Kristen Sze
Right? But that was an example where you felt like you were immediately labeled a threat.

W. Kamau Bell
Yes, I was. They looked at me as a, you know, as a black guy in a hoodie and a beanie, which at the time I said that's how Mark Zuckerberg used to dress all the time.

Kristen Sze
That's very threatening I gotta tell you whenever I see that I go the other way.

W. Kamau Bell
Yeah, that's like 40% of the adult men in the Bay Area. Describe

Kristen Sze
That is the correct, that is the uniform.

W. Kamau Bell
Yeah. And it was a very nice club because it was Oaklandish. I want to be clear about that. So

Kristen Sze
Yes, Oaklandish. Whoo. But what was the lesson learned there? And now you guys, you know, at the time you guys had a little baby there. That's why she was there with her mommy friends. And what are you teaching your daughters?

W. Kamau Bell
I mean, just last night, so we have an 8-year-old, an almost 2-year-old and a 5 and a half year old. One day my eight my nine year old, I guess nine year old, nine year old came into my office to ask me about her social studies homework, that's her distance learning homework. And I had CNN on and it was showing Milwaukee about Minneapolis burning down and she immediately asked What was that? So I explained to her what happened, a man named George Floyd was killed by police. And people are upset about it, and they're starting to burn things. And, and as we've talked about before, police are not always your friend. She's nine and I and we've had that conversation before. And then as soon as that ended, I said, Okay, let's do your social studies homework, and it was about the Chinese Exclusion Act. So in our house, we have all these conversations. You know, we're having them at Same time. So she's learning about Angel Island and the Chinese Exclusion Act, while she's seeing and the racism of that while she's seeing racism on television, and my five year old last night asked like after seeing all this CNN footage on the TVs, like, What is going on? And we sat her down and had to really break it down to really low levels of like, what if some kids at your school? What if white kids at your school, were allowed to go to the playground and have ice cream and black kids weren't allowed to play on the playground equipment, and they couldn't have ice cream? Obviously, that's a 5-year-old level, but it was just the way to talk about inequity.

Kristen Sze
Wow, that's interesting, because I've talked to educators too, who say, you know, maybe don't bring this up to children that they couldn't comprehend it, but what you just said that makes total sense.

W. Kamau Bell
I feel like that's negligence if you don't bring it up to your kids. And it's also the problem that a lot of white people they can choose not to bring it up to the kids because for the most part, whenever kids, please, yeah, it doesn't affect them.

W. Kamau Bell
And to me, that's why white people have to understand that this affects you. Because one day your kids are going to meet my kids and my kids are going to share a story of racism within and I want your kids to be sensitive.

Kristen Sze
They might even get married. So there you go.

W. Kamau Bell
If your kid doesn't understand racism, you don't he doesn't want me for a father in law or your daughter. They don't mean for for a father in law.

Kristen Sze
All right, we're gonna take a break on the air. But let's continue our conversation with come out over on our livestream platforms So I have a question for you. Um, you know, I was thinking a lot like this past weekend, I was really emotional as well, just looking at all that was happening. And there were a lot of prominent Asian Americans that were taking a stand and not just using the hashtag Asians for black lives, but you know, really trying to start a movement of unity together and doing things together to support each other. And I was like, as an Asian person, I was thinking would it be taking away from the pain that black america so clearly feeling right now if I brought up gosh, you know, just a few months. Go, we're experiencing a lot of anti Asian racism, people telling you to go back to China or calling you a virus. I recognize that is not the same. I'd rather have somebody tell me to go go to China, rather than put a knee in my neck. But But I wonder if we could somehow use these collective experiences together in a way that strengthens the demand for change.

W. Kamau Bell
Then from is a huge swath of the planet, and countries that don't all get along with each other. So first of all, there's a conversation that Asian Americans have to have about how do we get on one accord? If you're a South Asian, Southeast Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean? How do we get on one accord and I think that's a conversation that the Asian American community has to have more around issues of racism. And then there's the the conversation around how do we show for black folks because black folks are happy to see you there. And I think what a lot of black people are upset about is there's not enough Yuri Kochiyamas, In the world, you know, Yuri Kochiyama, who was friends with Malcolm X and helped him sort of helped his perspective and was on the frontlines of civil rights movement. And I think the black folks are like, we don't see enough Asian Americans out there when these things happen to us. And so that's the thing I think black people want to see. And I think Asian Americans are really taking that charge and showing up for hopefully are starting to show

Kristen Sze
Yeah, all right, cool. We're going back on air. And we are back with executive producer and host of CNN'S "United Shades of America" and Oakland resident W. Kamau Bell, come out. Here's a question from Maryland rose, actually, for both of us, but I'm going to start with you. What are you doing to take care of your mental health during this time? You make jokes. Yeah,

W. Kamau Bell
and avoiding this idea. I'm turtling up. I mean, I sent this out on Twitter earlier today about like, I was responding to a friend of mine, Ijeoma Oluo, about my wife has to remind me to go outside. My wife has to remind me to eat because otherwise I'll stay in my office on my computer like this. And so right before we did this, I just took a nature walk with my five year old because he had it for assignment from her science class. And that to me was like a big like, who, where we just sort of went and looked at animals and we ran across a couple deer and, you know, took pictures of flowers for her homework. But it was just as much my homework as it was her homework, so I'm not doing that enough. Also, it's a great time to watch dumb YouTube videos. It's a great time to watch clueless reality shows like, it's a great time to really that's actually self care as far as I'm concerned. Thank thank you. Disney corporation for "The Last Dance." I appreciate it. That is my self care.

Kristen Sze
On behalf of our parent company, you're welcome

W. Kamau Bell
To you know, as yeah, as a Warner person, I have to be honest, that that was that was very helpful to me.

Kristen Sze
Yeah, yeah. Okay. So, in answer in answering that question for me, I've been eating a lot of sourdough that my husband's been baking. So that's been helpful to me, but I guess also going on walks and and really diving into the work because I feel as we are making a difference by just talking about these things, right? I tell you that I'm gonna say a lot of wrong things and you go Yeah, I'm not offended. And and vice versa, right you calling me by the name of another Asian American broadcaster and I'm not offended. I'm like, I love her. Let's go, let's do this. I'm glad we got to that I mistook her for a different person who works with ABC News, of course, Asian American, and I'm owning it right here, because this is how it works is how it works. I have goose pimples right now as we talk about it, because I know people are gonna be like, ah, and yet, this is how it works. Oh, and your mistakes, step into the mistake, step through the mistake. That's because we know each other's intentions are totally pure and innocent, that we don't harbor hate or look at people through a certain lens just because we set that so. So you got to look at the whole and I think that's an important lesson to us all right now because I feel like it's really easy for people to grab onto one thing and labeled someone and then dismiss everything else they might be saying which might be very relevant and you Fall. Do you feel that way

W. Kamau Bell. 00:00
Yeah, I think a lot of this is social media people take one social media post as your complete thoughts on the subject and then criticize it with like, you'll post one thing, and then somebody was fine with 20. And it's like, well, No, I didn't. I was just saying one thing. And so I think, and also, I think we use social media as a way to vent anger that we that we don't feel free to vent in our real lives. So I think it's a you know, a lot of times it's really just sort of like, pretend target practice. And I think that we have to, we have to, and also, I think those of us when we do make mistakes, like I just did before, this has to be quick to say, oops, because the quicker you say, oops, or the quicker you own up to mistake, the faster you can get to the healing. I think one of the big problems in Minneapolis but also around the country, is that the police departments and is way bigger than oops, I want to be clear, but they don't own up to the mistake sometimes ever, but certainly when they do it takes days and it's just that's time where anger is fomenting and built.

Kristen Sze 00:52
but see that's why I think maybe we are seeing something changed for real this time because you saw several police chiefs come right out, not just the Minneapolis one, but other agencies who are usually hesitant to kind of take that step to criticize, you know, someone else in blue. But to say that is not what we do that is wrong, and that shouldn't have happened. You've seen that. And that could be real change.

W. Kamau Bell. 01:17

Yeah, I just think what does it look like in six months? What does it look like in a year? I think a lot of times, you see a lot of talk around these times. But what is it? What is the institutional and structural change that comes out of it is91, 92 the big question. That would have helped in the 90s, but we're not in the 90s anymore.

Kristen Sze 01:36
We are not in the 90s. Yet, in some ways. It feels like from 1968, the year before I was born, so I didn't bear witness to what happened then. To now. A lot has changed yet a lot has not changed.

W. Kamau Bell. 01:50
I think I mean, I always say this Martin Luther King Jr. would be like, I think 91, 92? he could still be alive. And so as much as we want to freeze him in the past. What do you think he would think about this moment right now? He would think he would think not much has changed or not enough is changed. You know, one black president does not equal the scales for the things that are happening right now. So I think you know, we like to freeze Martin Luther King Jr. And remember he was assassinated for what he believed. As much as we celebrate him he was not celebrated to the same extent in his lifetime is a Bernice King his niece talks about that on Twitter. She talsk about that a lot.

Kristen Sze 02:27
You know what? So Reverend Amos brown talked to me earlier today and he urge everybody to vote in November. But is that it? Is that the panacea? Or is there much more to that? We have 20 seconds. You gotta, you gotta answer in 20 seconds.

W. Kamau Bell. 02:40
I got it. We have over just over 150 days till voting. You could do something every day to support anti racist policies and anti racist behavior, and then you could vote on election day. Don't wait for November.

Kristen Sze 02:52
Gotcha. All right. Kamau Bell. Thank you so much for joining us today. Really enjoyed this conversation. You did make You laugh a little.

W. Kamau Bell. 03:02
I mean, it's a little bit too long right now be graded on a curve.

Kristen Sze 03:04
Oh, there you go. Take care. I'll see you later. We're gonna take a short break on the air but the conversation continues. Don't go, don't go Kamau, stay there on our live streams including Facebook live right now. Alright, folks, boy, this has been such an interesting and eye opening conversation for me. This is why I like my job. You know, don't you feel that's why you like your job because we're always talking to cool people. So did you see what I did there? I implied I was cool, because you know,

W. Kamau Bell. 03:32
you're cool. You're cool.

Kristen Sze 03:34
So tell me about what's coming up on United States of America.

W. Kamau Bell. 03:38
Well, I think yeah, it's it'll be out there gonna announce the date soon. I don't think it's been announced yet. But we will, you know, we have an episode our I believe our first episode is gonna be about farms in America and talking about how the supply chain is really messed up and how farmers are really squeezed right now. And that was before COVID-19. So everything we talked about an episode is even more highlighted It was what's going on with COVID-19. We also have an episode about reparations, which is very timely, we have an episode about white supremacy not just being the Klan. We have episodes about Iranian Americans, we have an episode about public schools where we go to Cleveland for that one. So a lot of the things we did are going to feel sort of ripped from the headlines, but they're, they're just, it's just issues that are always going on in America. And on top of that, because of the nature of the world, we're gonna have some additional bonus content and conversations with the people from the episode to sort of see where they're at in the COVID-19 George Flyod America.

Kristen Sze 04:32
Mm hmm. Okay. Hey, this is totally different topic. But do you have a favorite restaurant in in the Berkeley/Oakland area that you really think we all need to go out and support right now?

W. Kamau Bell. 04:45
Okay, yes, Shan Dong, which is a Chinese restaurant that does delivery, you can get it through one of the apps they have great the some of the best dumplings and wontons around. So definitely them. The Star on Grand cause I'm from Chicago, I lived in Chicago for a while. So Chicago style pizza is the best pizza, I don't need to hear any retorts, the Star on Grand, Belotti, which is a great Italian restaurant, my wife's part Italian, a great, amazing Italian restaurant, but also deliver all these places deliver and are open right now. So I would say support all of those places,

Kristen Sze 05:18
all right, and we're gonna put our money where our mouth is, and really especially support all the minority businesses so we can lift people up economically, in different ways. Thank you so much. See you later.

W. Kamau Bell. 05:30
Thank you.

W. Kamau Bell
Yeah, I think a lot of this is social media people take one social media post as your complete thoughts on the subject and then criticize it with like, you'll post one thing, and then somebody was fine with 20. And it's like, well, No, I didn't. I was just saying one thing. And so I think, and also, I think we use social media as a way to vent anger that we that we don't feel free to vent in our real lives. So I think it's a you know, a lot of times it's really just sort of like, pretend target practice. And I think that we have to, we have to, and also, I think those of us when we do make mistakes, like I just did before, this has to be quick to say, oops, because the quicker you say, oops, or the quicker you own up to mistake, the faster you can get to the healing. I think one of the big problems in Minneapolis but also around the country, is that the police departments and is way bigger than oops, I want to be clear, but they don't own up to the mistake sometimes ever, but certainly when they do it takes days and it's just that's time where anger is fomenting and built.

Kristen Sze
But see that's why I think maybe we are seeing something changed for real this time because you saw several police chiefs come right out, not just the Minneapolis one, but other agencies who are usually hesitant to kind of take that step to criticize, you know, someone else in blue. But to say that is not what we do that is wrong, and that shouldn't have happened. You've seen that. And that could be real change.

W. Kamau Bell
Yeah, I just think what does it look like in six months? What does it look like in a year? I think a lot of times, you see a lot of talk around these times. But what is it? What is the institutional and structural change that comes out of it is91, 92 the big question. That would have helped in the 90s, but we're not in the 90s anymore.

Kristen Sze
We are not in the 90s. Yet, in some ways. It feels like from 1968, the year before I was born, so I didn't bear witness to what happened then. To now. A lot has changed yet a lot has not changed.

W. Kamau Bell
I think I mean, I always say this Martin Luther King Jr. would be like, I think 91, 92? he could still be alive. And so as much as we want to freeze him in the past. What do you think he would think about this moment right now? He would think he would think not much has changed or not enough is changed. You know, one black president does not equal the scales for the things that are happening right now. So I think you know, we like to freeze Martin Luther King Jr. And remember he was assassinated for what he believed. As much as we celebrate him he was not celebrated to the same extent in his lifetime is a Bernice King his niece talks about that on Twitter. She talsk about that a lot.

Kristen Sze
You know what? So Reverend Amos brown talked to me earlier today and he urge everybody to vote in November. But is that it? Is that the panacea? Or is there much more to that? We have 20 seconds. You gotta, you gotta answer in 20 seconds.

W. Kamau Bell
I got it. We have over just over 150 days till voting. You could do something every day to support anti racist policies and anti racist behavior, and then you could vote on election day. Don't wait for November.

Kristen Sze
Gotcha. All right. Kamau Bell. Thank you so much for joining us today. Really enjoyed this conversation. You did make You laugh a little.

W. Kamau Bell
I mean, it's a little bit too long right now be graded on a curve.

Kristen Sze
Oh, there you go. Take care. I'll see you later. We're gonna take a short break on the air but the conversation continues. Don't go, don't go Kamau, stay there on our live streams including Facebook live right now. Alright, folks, boy, this has been such an interesting and eye opening conversation for me. This is why I like my job. You know, don't you feel that's why you like your job because we're always talking to cool people. So did you see what I did there? I implied I was cool, because you know,

W. Kamau Bell
You're cool. You're cool.

Kristen Sze
So tell me about what's coming up on "United States of America."

W. Kamau Bell
Well, I think yeah, it's it'll be out there gonna announce the date soon. I don't think it's been announced yet. But we will, you know, we have an episode our I believe our first episode is gonna be about farms in America and talking about how the supply chain is really messed up and how farmers are really squeezed right now. And that was before COVID-19. So everything we talked about an episode is even more highlighted It was what's going on with COVID-19. We also have an episode about reparations, which is very timely, we have an episode about white supremacy not just being the Klan. We have episodes about Iranian Americans, we have an episode about public schools where we go to Cleveland for that one. So a lot of the things we did are going to feel sort of ripped from the headlines, but they're, they're just, it's just issues that are always going on in America. And on top of that, because of the nature of the world, we're gonna have some additional bonus content and conversations with the people from the episode to sort of see where they're at in the COVID-19 George Flyod America.

Kristen Sze
Mm hmm. Okay. Hey, this is totally different topic. But do you have a favorite restaurant in in the Berkeley/Oakland area that you really think we all need to go out and support right now?

W. Kamau Bell
Okay, yes, Shan Dong, which is a Chinese restaurant that does delivery, you can get it through one of the apps they have great the some of the best dumplings and wontons around. So definitely them. The Star on Grand cause I'm from Chicago, I lived in Chicago for a while. So Chicago style pizza is the best pizza, I don't need to hear any retorts, the Star on Grand, Belotti, which is a great Italian restaurant, my wife's part Italian, a great, amazing Italian restaurant, but also deliver all these places deliver and are open right now. So I would say support all of those places,

Kristen Sze
All right, and we're gonna put our money where our mouth is, and really especially support all the minority businesses so we can lift people up economically, in different ways. Thank you so much. See you later.

W. Kamau Bell
Thank you.
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