Friday, June 23, 2017

TGIF FEATURE: United Shades of America visits Chinatown, July 2

W. Kamau Bell talks about the touchy subject of race.
W. KAMAU BELL is a big, black man, anathema to many non-blacks, but he is so easy-going and disarming he can get the racist Richard Spencer and the KKK to open up to him.

The comedian is also host to one of the best shows that nobody has heard of, The United Shades of America. The double-entendre of the title should tell you a lot about the show.

In the finale episode of his second season, airing July 2, Sunday on CNN, 10 p.m. EDT, he ventures into San Francisco's Chinatown to get the Asian perspective on the underlying theme throughout every episode - racism.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Earlier versions of this post had an incorrect date of the Chinatown episode. July 2 is the correct date.
In his show, at least, he's talking about a topic that is so hot-button, many networks won't touch. People shy away from the subject when the topic comes up. It's just too uncomfortable for them. Well, then, what about us people who deal with it everyday?

The controversial topic of race is handled deftly by Bell. With his dry sense of humor, the Bay Area resident, often finds himself and his subjects laughing together - not AT each other. He is not mean or demeaning.

One topic he touches on that is not often talked about outside of the Asian American community is the spill-over effect Donald Trump's China-bashing and demonizing of Chinese might have on the Chinese/American and overall Asian/American communities. 

To most of America, there is no distinction between China and the Chinese/Americans. We don't have to go back too far in American history to a period of the Yellow Peril and the racist sentiments that rose up against the different waves of Asian immigrants - The Chinese, Japanese, Filipino and now, South Asians and Muslim/Americans.

If you miss his shows on CNN, you can always catch up on HULU or the United Shades of America website. His earlier episodes this season included "Immigrants & Refugees" "Native Americans," "What I Learned Talking to Muslims," and "Treatment of Native Americans."