W. Kamau Bell is someone whose name I immediately recognized but I couldn’t place him in a single thing I had actually seen. I didn’t have FX when Totally Biased was on in 2012 and I once again don’t have cable so I haven’t seen (or, honestly, heard of) United Shades of America on CNN but I knew the name so I picked up the book.
Awkward Thoughts is a pretty good balance between humor and seriousness. It is mostly a collection of essays that loosely tie together to create a coherent narrative about Bell’s child and adulthood. I enjoyed his personal anecdotes the most, particularly how he gushes over his mother which is adorable and seemingly well deserved.
She is empirically the greatest mom of all time period. Everybody likes her. Everybody wants to be her friend. Everybody wants her approval. Everybody wants her to think that they are cool. I have friends who let me know when she “likes” their posts of Facebook. And these aren’t my emotionally needy friends. These are my kick-ass, activist, artist, take-no-prisoners-and-free-ALL-political-prisoners friends.
While he did an excellent job of discussing his experiences with racism I have spent a lot of the last 6 months reading various books outraged about today’s deteriorating society and am beginning to get a bit numb from it all. Which in turn makes me feel like part of the problem since my white privilege grants me the freedom to get numb once in a while to the cultural unrest around me. And I hate to belittle Kamau’s experiences, because he has had several awful experiences directly to related to his Blackness, gender and size, but at this point it just became a blur of disappointment in our world.
Kamau is a talented writer though and he ties many of his political & cultural experiences and observations back to the his daughters- both the positive and negatives. His essay about Doc McStuffins is outstanding.