The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell
The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell Tales of A 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-up Comedian By Bell, W. Kamau eBook - 2017

I didn't enjoy this book as much as I appreciated it. I wanted to hear more Black points of view, and I read it for that - trying to understand, trying to put myself in shoes I can never fill (and not just because Bell is 6'4") and imagine what on earth it must be like to be a Black man in America. Of course I failed - I can't even put myself in the place of a Black woman. But understand or not, it's important that I try, if for no other reason than to try to minimize my damage.

This is not a funny book. It's occasionally amusing, but Bell isn't trying to be funny. He's trying to give a point of view, and that he does extremely well. But comedians aren't always funny, even when they're joking, and I can see his points clearly.

It's instructive to compare this to Bossypants, Tina Fey's book. (For some reason Goodreads isn't letting me insert links.) Both are comedians in space dominated by white males. But Tina seems to have more career leverage right from the beginning. Where she comes off as rebellious, Bell seems to come off more as resigned. 

I have to say that I'm not upset that I'm white, but Lord and Lady, my ancestors were at least complicit and at worst actively involved in some awful shit. Awful shit continues, and Bell lays out a lot of it. I am trying to do better, and to do better I have to know better. I'm grateful to Bell for being as gentle as he is, because he sure doesn't need to be. 

Don't expect to like this book if you're white. Expect to appreciate it if you give a damn about other people's issues.

And, by the way, as I write it's Black Women's Equal Pay Day. Let's take care of each other out there, OK? Because the fact that there needs to exist a Black Women's Equal Pay Day is some seriously fucked-up crap right there.

deebitner's rating:
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