Berkeley Cafe Tells A Black Comedian To ‘Scram’ For Talking To His White Wife, Claims It Wasn’t ‘A Race Thing’

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w-kamau-bellComedian W. Kamau Bell was told by an employee of an upscale Berkeley cafe to “scram” when he stopped to talk to his white wife and her brunching friends on Monday. When the couple alerted the employee that they were married, that it was, in fact, the second time they had dined there in the same day, and that they weren’t going to tolerate blatant racism, the employee responded with, “I don’t think it was a race thing.” No. Of course not. I’m sure she tells all of her white customers to “scram” when they stop to talk to their wives.

On a post on his website titled, Happy Birthday! Have Some Racism From Elmwood Cafe, the former host of the FX show Totally Biased, details the events leading up to the moment the employee of the Elmwood Cafe decided it was a sound decision to implore him to leave.

It was Bell’s birthday, so his wife took him to his formerly favorite breakfast spot for a celebratory morning meal after they dropped their toddler off at preschool. They finish breakfast and go their separate ways. Bell opts to leave the cafe and get some work done on his computer elsewhere, since it’s a small cafe and he considerately decides not to take up space. His wife ends up going back to the Elmwood Cafe again for lunch with friends, because she loves the place that much. After Bell finishes his work, he heads to a bookstore, then decides to drop by his wife’s lunch date to say “hello.”

Here is what happens next, according to Bell:

1. After buying the book and deciding not to get a bag for the book, I walk to the Elmwood Cafe.

2. I see my wife and her new mom friends all happily chatting and holding their babies while sitting at an outside table. It struck me how well my wife fit in with these new friends. (And not just because they were all white… although I think that may have made a difference to you.)

3. I walk over to them. My wife introduces me to them.

4. One of them asks about the book I am holding.

5. I show her the book.

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