Tuesday, January 1, 2008

An Eye For Racism...

Much like a member of the X-Men, I was born with a super power. I have an eye for racism. And like many mutants, I tried to ignore my super power for years, hoping it would go away. But unfortunately for me it did not. My mom, who also has the eye, tried to prepare me, "Professor Xavier-style", to learn how to harness and use my power for good, but instead I tried to pretend that there was no need to use this power. "Racism was defeated during the Civil Rights Movement!", I protested during one of my mom's many black history lessons. "My history books say some dude named Martin Luther King did it one day during a long walk."At my worst, in my freshman year of college one time I actually said OUT LOUD, "I'm not black. I'm a American." YIKES! I'm embarrassed to admit that even now.

But ten years ago I moved to The Bay Area (First, I lived in Oakland and then San Francisco.) And I discovered that The Bay Area is The Gotham City of Racism. (Yes, I realize that I am mixing superhero universes here. But the cause of ending racism may actually be bigger than a conversation between Superman and Spider-Man. The Bay Area (specifically San Francisco and Berkeley) has a reputation for ultimate liberalism in it's politics and sexual proclivities. And that may be true (I would argue that too!), but as far as issues of race and racism, I was (and still am) totally confused and discombobulated by what I observe occurring out here on a daily basis. I finally feel like I am coming into my full power as... THE RACIAL AVENGER! (umm... maybe).... How 'bout BLACKMAN!? (ummm... Sounds too much like the Damon Wayans movie Blankman)... How 'bout... RACEMAN!... (Sounds too much like a public service character, like Smokey The Bear.) Well, I'll come up with something.

And all that stuff is what has led me to my first full length solo show, The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism In About An Hour. Me and my crew have done it three times, and have had three sold out shows. I believe that a part of the success is because many people like myself think that racism is making a comeback, and the rest of the success I attribute to the promotional deal that we have set up: Bring a Friend of a Different Race and Get in Two For One.

That show has led me to this new blog that I will be updating in the new year. Now, I can't promise that it will all be about race. (God, I hope not.) But that will certainly be "the straw that stirs the drink" (All credit for that turn of phrase goes to Reggie Jackson). The challenge that has been put upon me by my girlfriend and life partner, Melissa, is to update this blog daily in 2008. She says I should look at this like it is vitamins. I've never been that good at taking vitamins. Hopefully, this will go better.

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