Racism lecture kicked off Black History Month

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W. Kamau Bell talked about different content of race issue that is a problem in America.

By J. Del Valle

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Comedian and CNN host W. Kamau Bell presented, “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour,” a free lecture Feb. 2 in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center.

The event, kicking off Black History Month at this college, was free and open to the public. More than 800 attended.

Bell partnered with his slide presentation to discuss race in many categories from Kim Kardashian having more than one ethnic group besides Armenian and Snooki being a “fake guido,” because her actual ethnicity is Chilean, not Italian.

A new category surfaced called “Orange American,” which a picture of Donald Trump represented; meanwhile, Bell cracked jokes along the way for the next hour and a half.

He talked about sports controversies, including Colin Kapernick’s kneeling protest during the “Star Spangled Banner” before football games.

Bell said the “Star Spangled Banner” seemed racist.

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, and the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Bell gave the audience a good laugh when he joked that Bruno Mars should redo the lyrics to the national anthem because he has five different ethnicities.

Bell asked white members of the audience to say “I’m white and I’m proud.”

At first a couple of audience members participated, but Bell was not going to give up until he got the audience members to chant it proudly; which they did finally.

Wrapping up the lecture, Bell’s last slide of his presentation was a picture of his two daughters.

He opened up about his family: he is married to a Caucasian woman, which makes their toddler daughters biracial.

“Race is ‘not a real thing’ but a social construct,” Bell said. “I’ve been a comedian my entire career. At this point, I just want to be a good dad.”

Before exiting the stage, Bell was showered with gifts from the Fine Arts Cultural Events Series; he was given an official Rangers T-shirt and a collage of famous landmarks of the city that was taken by this college’s photographer, Leonard Ziegler.

After the show was a short meet-and-greet after-party at Koehler Cultural Center.

“It was a great show. It had comedy but was also educational at the same time,” liberal arts freshman Paz Garcia said. “The core issues he talked about on what’s going on with society today was my favorite part of the lecture.”

Attendees, students and faculty members got to mingle and enjoy light refreshments, while waiting to get his book, “The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell,” autographed. “It was phenomenal. It was for a time for us to reflect and not be so afraid to just laugh and talk about these issues,” Dr. Robert Vela, president of this college, said. “I felt it was liberated, invigorated and the audience gave off a lot of energy.”

Many attendees thanked Bell for the awareness that he brought when talking about racism and proceeded to take selfies with him.

“I had a good time. There was a lot of energy in the room. There were a lot people that seemed to be interested in what I was saying,” Bell said.

Bell hosts a show on CNN called “United Shades of America” that is about race-based subcultures; the first season can be watched online at http://www.cnn.com/shows/united-shades-of-america.

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