CNN host W. Kamau Bell wonders if black people should still believe America is ‘worth fighting for’

CNN’s “United Shades of America” host W. Kamau Bell wondered aloud during an interview Friday whether blacks should continue to believe that the United States is worthy of them shedding their blood to defend.

Speaking to SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah, the two were discussing recent police-involved shootings of black suspects in the wake of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being found guilty of murdering George Floyd during a trial last month.

In his comments, Bell first expressed sympathy for black families who have lost loved ones but then vented about what he appears to believe is a problem mostly unique to black suspects and police.

“How is your human reaction seeing yet again, it’s like weekly lately, we’ve been seeing this?” Obeidallah asked.

“I mean I’m definitely not numb to it, I think it’s like, really become like, I don’t know how to explain it in a way that sounds respectful, but it is really like — Because first of all, you mourn for the person, you mourn for that family’s loss, and every time you see some family member have to become a spokesperson for their dead family member, I have pain for these people,” Bell responded.

“Two days ago you were living your life, whatever your life was, now you have to in some ways professionalize your mourning in order to get the message out,” he continued.

“And you have to sort of, like, deal with it the crush of the media, or not the crush of media if the media doesn’t hear about these stories right away like in the case of Elijah McClain,” he said. “He was killed in Aurora, Colorado. You have to professionalize your mourning in order to get to some semblance of justice,” he noted further.

At that, Bell suggested that the country he calls his home is somehow not worth the effort to defend.

“And so I certainly am not numb to it, but it really does feel like the thing that is hardest for me is, it feels like, and me and Pastor Michael McBride, who’s in the episode, it feels like I don’t know, what are we fighting for in this country as black folks? Are we, is this country worth fighting for?” he said, before going on to blame former President Donald Trump for the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative economic and social effects on minority communities.

“And I think especially through Covid and through Trump, and Trump’s response to COVID, and through the fact that COVID has made the lives of black, Latinx, indigenous, brown folks worse, and made it so that we — whatever hole that our communities were in, the hole is deeper now, we’ve lost a ton of people, we’ve lost a ton of people through COVID — that you go, ‘Is this all worth fighting for?” the CNN host said again.

“And that’s the place where I’m at now is like, in a very really profound way to go ‘Yeah I don’t know how much more that I can personally do, and I don’t actually know that you see somebody,’ and that’s why, I use Barack Obama in the episode, but when you see the Democratic leadership, like, Joe Biden said it too, like, ‘We’re definitely not defunding the police.’ Hey man, Google it!” he added.

While he was president, Trump initially recommended a two-week shutdown of businesses via stay-at-home orders but he never mandated them or ordered any businesses to close. Those decisions were all made, and continue to be made, at the state and local levels.


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Jon Dougherty


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