At a community forum held in the wake of a well-publicized accusation of racism at a Berkeley café, a new initiative was announced to help train local businesses in handling implicit bias.
An estimated 300 people turned up to Willard Middle School Friday night to take part in the public discussion prompted by the incident which happened when comedian W. Kamau Bell and his wife, Melissa Hudson Bell, were at the Elmwood Café on Jan. 26 this year.
The comedian, who is African-American, made public on his blog how he was asked to leave the café on College Avenue while he was talking to his wife and her friends, who are all white, at an outdoor table. Read More
Sadly, no event like this is complete without post-racial color-blind racism:
Among the 1,152 comments left on Berkeleyside’s coverage of the case, some have suggested the waitress may have assumed Bell was soliciting and he would have been asked to move on regardless of his color. Others criticized the comedian for grandstanding in his blog post detailing the experience.
At the forum, an audience member asked Bell, via a written question, what made him so sure the Jan. 26 incident was a racially motivated act, and not one directed at the homeless population that is to be found around the café. Bell responded: “So what if I was homeless? Even if I’m homeless I’m a black homeless person — you can’t take that part away from me.”
He said if someone you know says they were subject to racism and you question them, “you have just lost a friend.”
Orientalist trolls are not our friends.