W. Kamau Bell

Författare till The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell

7 verk 373 medlemmar 26 recensioner

Om författaren

W. Kamau Bell is a sociopolitical comedian who is the host of the Emmy-winning hit CNN docuseries United Shades of America. Before United Shades, Kamau was best known for his FX comedy series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and family.

Verk av W. Kamau Bell


Allmänna fakta



Everybody Love Kamau
The Real Thing, Book 3

I Picked Up This Book Because: The author.

Media Type: eBook/Audiobook
Source: Amazon Prime Reading
Dates Read: 4/1/24 - 4/1/24
Stars: 3.5 Stars
Narrator(s): W. Kamau Bell

The Story:
I like Kamau’s observations. This recounting of his time with his wife’s grandfather is quite interesting. This is another weird encounter when you have an interracial couple. I’m glad it all came together in the end.… (mer)
bookjunkie57 | 3 andra recensioner | Apr 3, 2024 |
I read a lot of things here that didn’t surprise me, but overall it was a nice book, and entertaining. I guess, as the title implies, it’s about not fitting in, not fitting in a ‘box’—despite everyone on Earth existing in multiple boxes just by being alive or existent. But sometimes boxes don’t describe us well or get us in with people we gel well with, and that can be awkward. Although that is funny because I watched the first season of his show (and I don’t watch much TV) and he never seemed awkward to me; he seemed really…. In the know. So I guess the things he said about himself were moderately surprising even though I was aware of most of the world-facts or whatever. Kamau talks about racism and white assumptions about the world a lot, but he also talks about having so many white friends that he’s not a stereotypical “Black” type person, doing mostly “Black” type things. He talks about stereotyping and tired assumptions and the benefits of challenging harmful thinking, but also says that sometimes you have to be careful not to be a jerk-for-no-reason, you know, just chronically dissatisfied or insulting people no matter what. I guess he’s awkward because he’s an independent thinker. But he also makes it feel like he’s not Trying Super Hard To Think; he just keeps his eyes open. I guess Kamau needed to build his own box just for himself, you know. It was a fun book.

…. Although I don’t always agree with him—in the section I’m talking about he has this thing that, I mean this is a snobby phrase but I can’t think of a better one, that ‘I don’t appreciate’, where he name drops a dozen at least of these minor presidential hopefuls without explaining who they are, like we’re all political nerds with nothing else to explore but elections…. Like, even ~politics is more than just this election crap! It gets so narrow, you know!—but I feel like he’s here being the leftist or whatever, and the Enneagram Eight, who’s afraid of being betrayed, without me feeling like that’s…. I mean, I don’t want to put a label on it, because people label Black people, right. But sometimes the whole “I am being betrayed” thing can come off as, well, the Buddhists like to call things ‘unskillful’, right, but I didn’t feel that way about him. He was just honestly voicing his opinion. I mean, I come from a certain family and a certain background, and my relatively straightforward racist father, and even my weirdly racist mother, are both usually in the back of my mind, and they are my parents, and that’s part of why I’m a moderate, you know. (Although my weirdly racist mother thinks she’s to the left of leftists. Even my straightforward racist father thinks he’s a moderate a quarter of the time. Like, he’s got the Capricorn + Scorpio energy, so it’s like—support The Man, or I’ll sting you!, but he also has that Gemini influence, so every once in a while he’ll be like, I voted for Trump because I felt he was more of a moderate than those Biden Democrats, right…. ~Which isn’t to excuse him, you know. It’s not skillful to embody the worst aspects of your birth chart/birth society, and then just call that ‘universal truth’—ie I can do it and you can’t, right, I can wallow in my astrological mud, but nobody else can….). Those are my parents; my father, for instance. But I totally get that people in a different set of circumstances, I mean, I hate to say that they might ‘not care’, but maybe they wouldn’t, you know. And it wouldn’t have to be an ~aggressive~ thing, you know. That would just be their life. And their choice. I just feel like Kamau wants to be a radical without being labeled or judged, you know. I don’t really feel that he’s out to get me or whatever, or totally paranoid or whatever it is.

…. Because my father isn’t his father, you know. Honor your father and your mother is a universal principle, and honor your neighbor is a universal principle, regardless of whether or not you see that play out best in the Bible, right. But, “My father is Christopher James O’Grady”, (made-up name), isn’t a universal principle, although it’s true in my case (although not literally, lol).

…. Results are never guaranteed no matter who we are, but I do feel obligated or whatever, to join ‘the elite’, (Kamau: The Elites! 😱 They’re the warrior aliens from ‘Halo’! They’re no good!), (and obviously attracted by it as well), because I could do a better job at it than some people. So although results take time, are partial, and never guaranteed, I probably CAN get them in the end, and if I choose not to, I’m inadvertently contributing to someone else getting hurt in the system, you know.

(shrugs) So there’s that.

…. I realize that I think that the elite is a lot more redeemable than he does, but what I was going for with that one is, I don’t want to just sit this one out, spend this lifetime assuming everything works out for people no matter what, work on my extreme knowledge skills, and worry that I might be the worst racist, you know. Not that he’s Malcolm X, but every white person who’s not angry at Malcolm, probably goes through a phase where they’re afraid of him or whatever. Or afraid for him, like they’re his white mom. “I’m holding you back, Malkie, I know I am…. I’ll just sit over here. Out of the way. I’m worried about you, man.” Well, maybe that’s not what a mom would say, but that’s beside the point. The point is, realizing that your white socialization has made you racist doesn’t mean never having a sense of agency ever again. In fact, not having a sense of PERSONAL agency is probably what the bulk of white people suffer from BECAUSE of the racial (etc.) system, you know. Gotta stay out of the way of the empire. (shrugs) But even the most moderate reformist has to be prepared to take action, and be vilified and made the object of scapegoating and fear-craziness in his own day, you know…. And you have to think for yourself. Just because your point of view is polluted by the white racial viewpoint doesn’t mean that you can look for someone to give you orders or think for you, including some Black person, however intelligent. I actually feel like Kamau was saying that at one point.

…. As for the classification note, I feel like ‘United Shades of America’ was basically social studies despite being pretty funny as well, (and not like ‘Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents’), whereas this does seem like a comedy book, despite being ‘serious’ rather than nonsense comedy (and not like the pop memoir of a sociologist or public figure, you know).

…. It’s surprising—I mean, there was no way to know really, although I guess I’m naive that it’s ~surprising—that the experience of filming with the KKK was a worse experience than they depicted it as on the show. They didn’t want to be sensationalist on the show; they wanted the subtle danger of ‘smart’ racists….

But sometimes racists are not smart, by anybody’s standards, you know.

…. It’s funny how me and Kamau present rather differently even though we’re both Aquarians; of course, I have rather more Capricorn on my chart, as we both have one inner planet in Capricorn, but I have three non-inner planets in Capricorn and he only has one (his 1973 vs my 1989, I guess), but obviously as faux-cool as I am, I can’t ignore the obvious difference of the two backgrounds, you know. I don’t know what clever thing there is to say about that, but there it is. Racism is isolating. But the other thing about having two Aquarians, (like, to a much smaller extent, the same idea of having two delusional or psychotic people—NOT that Aquarianism is a mental disease, LOL), is that it’s probably not quite like having two Taureans (my brother is a Taurus, and so is my sister-in-law; they’re rather similar. They’re not perfect, actually they’re kinda ordinary, so sometimes they fight, but they’re are rather similar, roughly the same wave-length, except for gender—my brother is the playful dad, but they’re both essentially hard-working, materialist people, so beneath the surface they agree), because if you have two Aquarians—it’s like there are three worlds, the one Aquarian’s world, the other’s, and the so-called real (or Taurean, I guess) world that they’re both not living in. And that’s kinda hard to bond over, you know…. But it could be that I’m under-playing the issue of the race difference. Sometimes things aren’t less real for being obvious and brutal, a fact that will even occur to some Aquarians, sometimes.

…. Anyway.

I think that’s a good point—the ‘race’ pool and the ‘racism’ pool; I certainly spend more time in the ‘race pool’ nowadays—Black achievement, diversity, etc.—than in the ‘racism pool’—but they stopped beating him up when their arms and legs got too tired/lack of diversity/Black people getting screwed over: because the latter, although I’m glad I’ve read virtually all of the racism books I’ve read; I can’t think of any that were a waste of time, although I gave away a few before reading recently, when I emphasized the one pool as opposed to the other, because…. You know, when you just drown in the Black experience of history, you can easily get a little overwhelmed and ineffective. That’s not the same as sniffing out every dun-colored comment and bleaching it from everything from music and comedy to politics and religion, you know…. What I’m doing now makes sense to me. But of course, I can’t be sure that I’m ‘right’, or that I’m doing a ‘good’ job or the ‘best’ job or whatever. It would be quite strange if anti-racism existed so that I could lay down the law and create, mount, and manage a hierarchy, you know.

I think I’m right—to the extent it’s possible for me with my life and my background to be right, or even, to a lesser extent, for anyone to do the ‘best’ job, you know. I think I’m right—but if I KNEW I was right, you’d know I was wrong. I wouldn’t be living on the planet that the fates and fairies gave me to live on, right.
… (mer)
goosecap | 20 andra recensioner | Dec 20, 2023 |
If you don't already love Kamau, you probably won't enjoy this book. It's rambling and generally all over the place--like an oral history of how Kamau got progressively more woke. But honestly, that's why the book makes sense. The essays interspersed throughout are just so fabulously on point such as this wonderful take on the importance of Apollo Creed:

In the 1970s, he was the rare Black character in the movie who was clearly way smarter than the lead white character in the movie.

I wonder honestly if this is the sort of book that probably doesn't make sense to someone who hasn't had the same experiences as Kamau--a bit like how white and racialized people are watching two different movies in respect to the film "Get Out" for example. Nonetheless, it's a very entertaining read and you get the sense that Kamau is trying to convey the feeling of being both stigmatized and even doing the stigmatizing as genuinely as one could ask for.
… (mer)
Kavinay | 20 andra recensioner | Jan 2, 2023 |
Kamau is a likable host who’s a journalist as well as a TV show comedian/travel show host. It’s a decent show with no obvious or glaring flaws. One thing that sticks in my mind, although this is not Kamau or the producers so much as the genre/medium or the corrupt world, is that people can sometimes be very guarded or put up a screen (lol) when you put them in front of a TV crew. One example is the Alaska show. Kamau is talking to the white guy shooting a game of pool about the Alaska natives, and the white Alaskan says, (blah blah blah hope it works out), Because they have a great culture.

Ok, great—but what does that mean? Are you going to buy a ten dollar book about some Alaskan native culture or society? —Oh, I just like to shoot a little pool; I’m normal. Ok, then, are you going to write a small check to a native Alaskan charity? —Oh no, I’m just going to buy a little beer; that’s the normal thing to do. I’m pretty sure it will work out for them; they just need me to sit on my ass, or get up to play some pool, you know. Normal things.

Now, it’s not like this particular white Alaskan was actively hostile to native peoples, at least not vocally and Trump-ily, but what difference does it make to him? But he puts up a front, a screen in front of the screens, about how much more enlightened he is, than he really is. —Oh, they have a great culture. I won’t blow them up! Etc; maybe he didn’t even realize he was doing it.

Of course, if Kamau yelled at every single poser instead of just in general or maybe a little bit every once in awhile—the producers, you know, Don’t be a terrorist! And who wants to yell or tell anyway. Not all the time, certainly.

But it’s something I remember….

I know my dad and step-mom sometimes take trips to southern Alaska in the summer, for the view, and certainly they never come back the wiser about the native Alaskans and their great culture. (Maybe dad works on his pool game, I don’t know.) (But then, they never get on TV, either.) I guess that’s just how America is these days.
… (mer)
goosecap | Jun 22, 2022 |



Du skulle kanske också gilla

Associerade författare


½ 3.7

Tabeller & diagram