Comedian Kamau Bell is know for his racial humor, but he recently experienced a racial moment that didn’t leave the funny man laughing. According to Bell, he was accused of pan-handling when approached his white wife at a cafe.
Bell says the incident happened at Elmwood Cafe in Berkeley, California, where he’d had a birthday breakfast with his wife, then left to buy a book down the street.
Meanwhile, Bell’s wife remained at the restaurant where she met up for lunch with a few of her “mommy” friends.
When Bell returned to show his wife the book he’d purchased, he says he was confronted by someone who mistook him for a pan-handler.
Here’s how Bell described the incident:
1. After buying the book and deciding not to get a bag for the book, I walk to the Elmwood Cafe.
2. I see my wife and her new mom friends all happily chatting and holding their babies while sitting at an outside table. It struck me how well my wife fit in with these new friends. (And not just because they were all white… although I think that may have made a difference to you.)
3. I walk over to them. My wife introduces me to them.
4. One of them asks about the book I am holding.
5. I show her the book.
6. Seconds later there is a loud series of knocks on the window of the Elmwood Cafe. They are coming from the inside of the restaurant.
7. I look up and see one of your employees staring daggers at me.
8. The employee then jerks her head to her left aggressively and I see her mouth say something to the effect of…
Bell was livid, as was his wife, who explained to the waitress that the man at the table was her husband, not a pan-handler, to which the waitress replied, “Oh, we thought you were selling something.”