CNN's Bell: U.S. 'Was Built on Racism,' 'Is Run by Racism'

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Cross posted on the MRC's NewsBusters blog

Appearing as a guest on Thursday's Anderson Cooper 360, comedian and CNN host W. Kamau Bell declared that the United States not only "was built on racism" but also "currently," that "racism is running the country in many ways."

As he made the rounds promoting the return of his CNN show, United Shades of America, Bell appeared on CNN Tonight three hours later, where he and host Don Lemon blamed "white racism" for inner city crime and fretted over crackdowns on crime allegedly hurting the black population. Bell recalled:

We have to understand that this country was built on racism, and, currently, racism is running this country in many ways. And you look at, like, the policing system, and you look at the mass incarceration system, and you look at how schools in black neighborhoods and Latinx neighborhoods are not as well-funded as schools in white neighborhoods. So the system of America is racist, and that benefits people.

Host Anderson Cooper followed up by asking him about President Joe Biden recently stating that the American people "are not racist," leading Bell to declare that, regardless of whether the American people are racist, "The system of America is based in racism, and runs in many ways on racism. So, for me, I feel like we're getting caught up in, like, rhetorical games here that are focusing on whatever the people are. The system certainly promotes racism."

The CNN host went on to cite disparities in income and education as proof that racism exists.

A few hour later, on CNN Tonight, host Lemon referred to the Lyndon Johnson administration of 1968, and recalled that it "investigated the cause of inner city violence, and discovered that it was not black anger but white racism that was the root of the problem," leading Bell to complain that "the war on drugs" that came in the next decades led to "a rise in mass incarceration."

CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 was sponsored in part by Fingerhut. Their contact information is linked.

Transcript follows:

CNN

Anderson Cooper 360

April 29, 2021

8:51 p.m. Eastern

W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: We have to understand that this country was built on racism, and, currently, racism is running this country in many ways. And you look at, like, the policing system, and you look at the mass incarceration system, and you look at how schools in black neighborhoods and Latinx neighborhoods are not as well-funded as schools in white neighborhoods. So the system of America is racist, and that benefits people. Also, Anderson, I'm old enough to remember when we had a President who was a full-on racist just a few months ago.

ANDERSON COOPER: The question that Biden was asked -- or that what Biden said is that the American people are not racist. How would you address that? Do you agree with that?

BELL: I mean, again, who are we defining as the American people? Are there people in this country who are racist? Yes, there are. Are there people in this country who run the country who are in power positions who are racists or racial opportunists or however you put it -- so, yes, there are. The question for me is, like: Are we calling the American people racist? I don't know. The system of America is based in racism, and runs in many ways on racism. So, for me, I feel like we're getting caught up in, like, rhetorical games here that are focusing on whatever the people are. The system certainly promotes racism.

COOPER: For those, you know, there are, well, a lot of people in Congress -- there are people on other networks who say there is no systemic racism. They don't see systemic racism in the United States. What do you say to that?

BELL: And that's a part of a -- that's a part of the nature of racism in this country -- is that we can prove it. There have been many studies that prove racism. We have episodes this season about economic disparity and economic inequality, We have an episode about how black people are not educated enough in elementary school so we can even get into STEM careers at the same rate as white people do. So the fact is, is that racism in this country is so hard for some people to see that some people are allowed to not see it. And then we get caught up in whether it's true or not when it is provable that it is true that this system is racist.

(...)

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