W. Kamau Bell opened the second season of CNN’s “United Shades of America” with a bang last night, interviewing none other than alt-right neo-Nazi Richard Spencer (you know, the one who got punched twice on camera and everyone laughed about it).
In this short clip, Bell cuts the tension by simply laughing at much of what Spencer had to say. “I think white people do need to talk about their whiteness more,” said Bell as an introduction. Spencer: “We’re here to talk about white privilege. We wanna bring it back. Make white privilege great again.” When asked what he likes about white privilege, Spencer exhibits a complete lack of knowledge about what the term actually means: “Looks great, nice suits, great literature.”
Hoping to avoid criticism of the type Bill Maher incurred for inviting Milo Yiannopoulus on “Real Time” earlier this year, Bell penned an op-ed for CNN’s website detailing why giving Spencer a platform is not the same thing as endorsing his views. “I put Spencer on TV for the same reason that I put the KKK on TV. We all need to make sure that we fully understand our country,” said Bell.
Of course, it is a markedly different situation for Bell than it was for Maher: Bell’s mere presence in a room with someone who actively hates and even wishes harm on people who look like him changes the tone entirely. It may be why, when the question of a black James Bond comes up, Spencer hems and haws a little before answering: “For me, uh, it’s too much.” His discomfort, juxtaposed with Bell’s amused response; it’s just too much.
See for yourself: