Comedian W. Kamau Bell Hung Out With the Ku Klux Klan. Here’s Why.

“I was more curious than I was afraid until I got there.”


Comedian W. Kamau Bell isn’t afraid of being uncomfortable. So for the first episode of his new CNN show, United Shades of America, Bell took a trip to Arkansas—to meet with the Ku Klux Klan.

The docuseries, which premiered Sunday night, follows the self-described sociopolitical comedian’s adventures into unexpected places—from a gated retirement community in Florida to California’s notorious San Quentin prison—and is in some ways reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. Except, as the comedian told Fresh Air host Terry Gross on April 14, “Instead of sampling the food, I would sample the racism or the culture.” 

“My curiosity led my fear,” Bell told Gross. “I was more curious than I was afraid until I got there, and then the fear was like, ‘Hello, why don’t I come in?’ The fear sort of crept in.” You can check out the rest of Bell’s Fresh Air interview here, and watch a clip from the show above.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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