"You can have an opinion, but you can't have the final word," Bell says
How can the discussion about racism in America be enriched?
According to "Totally Biased" host W. Kamau Bell, the answer is a little less conversation.
The comedian, who's show returns in a new nightly format to FX offshoot network FXX on Sept. 4, offered his thoughts on the topic when asked at the Television Critics Association on Friday.
"I think what's missing from the dialog on race is white people doing this," Bell offered, before nodding silently. "I feel like every white person should practice that. that's your 'listening to racism' face. You need to listen to the story before you come to the conclusion."
"I feel like a lot of times the worst thing a white person can say to a person of color is, 'I don't think that's racist,'" Bell continued, adding, "You can have an opinion, but you cant have the final word."With "Totally Biased" ramping up its production from its previous weekly incarnation on FX, Bell discussed the various changes that the new format would entail, such as the need for more guests. Bell offered his thoughts on who he'd like to bring aboard, and it was quite the varied dream assemblage.
"I have a wish list. If our first week could be Denzel Washington, Joel Osteen, Rush Limbaugh and Oprah, I'd be pretty happy," Bell said. "So can you put that out there for me?"
That diversity, he said, will hopefully extend to the correspondents' roster as it's fleshed out with the new nightly format.
"We're currently scouting black women; that's a voice we've been missing," Bell noted. "I'm not trying to necessarily be the United Colors of Benneton, but I do understand that if something happens in the news with a Chinese person, it would be great to have a Chinese person address that thing."
While his late-night profile will be upped with the increase of episodes, Bell dismissed notions that he'll be put in competition with fellow late-night personalities such as Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel. And he's particularly happy about the return of Arsenio Hall to the late-night airwaves this fall.
"I'm so happy that Arsenio's coming back, believe me," Bell enthused. "Because he gets to take all of that black-guy-on-late-night heat that I feel I was taking a little bit of."