Black Comedian Mistaken For Pan-handler While Talking to White Wife

Comedian Kamau Bell is know for his racial humor, but he recently experienced a racial moment that didn’t leave the funny man laughing. Kamau Bell racismAccording 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…

9. “SCRAM!”

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.”


11 Comment

  1. Folks better recognize and stop profiling Black people. Waitress should be fired.

  2. How was he dressed?…He possibly looked like a panhandler. Many people, even successful people, choose to dress in informal, slovenly, hip-hop, thug, attire. If he would have been dressed appropriately, it probably would not have happened. Might have; but probably not. Don’t wish to be profiled…attire yourself accordingly. I am sure I do not have as much money as he, however I have never been mistaken for a homeless person or panhandler. And nothing should happen to the waitress. She was just doing her job and protecting the patrons.

  3. never free in the usa of your skin

  4. You see how he is dressed, this is normal dress for the Oakland/Berkeley area. How do I know, because I’m from that area of the country. I guarantee if he had been white she would not have said anything. What you are saying is what Blacks continue to have to endure when out in public; am I dressed appropriately enough, is my diction good enough to avoid the white man’s suspicion? President Obama has spoken of times when he was seen as a suspicious black man, and Attorney General Holder shared that he was stopped in Georgetown, while wearing a $2000 suit going to dinner Police, I guess he wasn’t dressed appropriately enough either. She racial profiled him, and given her demeanor, if she had been the police he might have been physically harmed or killed.

    Even if he was pan handling she could have handled the situation better. Minimally she needs some customer service training. Some people would have made this a big issue, which might have drawn attention to the Cafe, which would not have been good for business, I’ve been to this Cafe in the past when my wife was alive, and it’s a cool place.

    You sound like the type of guy that justified the killing of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown.

  5. Leave the white women alone. I’m sure if he had approached black women that mistake would not have been made.

  6. you (we) will never be free of THAT!!!!!!

  7. @ericaf….RIGHT ON!

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