Last night, I watched the last segment of CNN’s new documentary which is entitled Black in America. It was a look at the state of African Americans in the United States. While I would say it could be viewed as educational (for whom, I’m not 100% sure), I personally think that it just glossed over widely known issues within the black community. Maybe some folks are in the dark about how we African Americans live, but for the most part, I personally think that CNN’s African American viewers are very well versed on said issues.
One thing that struck me as peculiar was the fact that for the most part, this documentary equated poverty with being Black. There were some examples of how certain folks came from poverty and became successful, but I felt as if the documentary didn’t cover both sides of the spectrum. It should go without saying that crime, lack of proper education, broken homes and various other issues are all issues which are the result of poverty in the majority of it’s cases, NOT issues of black people who just happen to be impoverished.
Don’t get me wrong, I do feel as if I have to go the extra mile to make sure I’m noticed in the professional world, and I also do feel as if I get looked at sideways the second I want to switch up my M.O.. But I don’t feel the need to let that hold me back, or to think that everyone is out to get me. At the end of the day, my journey is different from the next guy’s journey, and what works for me, may not work for you.
So after all this is said and done, what does it mean to be Black in America? Then again, what does it mean to be Chinese in America, or Irish in America? We are all different people from different backgrounds with different issues and different ways of thinking. To group together one race or group of people as if we all eat, sleep, think and breathe the same things is a bit (how should I put this…) retarded?
Here’s a video from Monnie which I think sums up how alot of people feel on this Documentary.
video courtesy of CreoleInDC and MonicaMingo.com
Hi….I found you by way of 1/3’s page and the title of this post caught my attention. I TOTALLY agree with you. I just didn’t see the point in this show because I can GUARANTEE that there will not be a Asians in America, or Native Americans in America show. As you have said, they have pointed out some people who are doing well but they all had to have some negative to it. (I’m a father that takes care of my kids, but I’m about to get evicted…I’m a mother who works hard to take care of her children, but I can’t find a man….I’m a renowned professor at Harvard, but I used to be on the streets. I mean, not ALL of us have that negativity in our lives. The whole show had a negative connotation to it, in my opinion and I just don’t feel like it should have been called “Black in America” because that is NOT how all blacks are. I BET you we don’t see a show based on poverished whites in America…smh.
The thing I love the most about the program (from what I saw of it) – is that it assumed that all blacks are part of stereotypical African American culture.
Its like CNN doing a Hispanic in America program and only focusing on Mexicans.
And the best part about it is that Soledad O’Brien is half Australian and half Afro-Cuban…and part of a family where all six kids went to Harvard.
Same thing with Barack, – half Kenyan and half white…with no real ties to the mainstream African American community until what? After college right?
But both Soledad and Barack are accepted into the culture and considered the same as any African American because they look the part, not because of any real shared ethnic identity.
It’s like expecting someone from Sweden and someone from Sidney to share a strong cultural bond just because they may happen to be pale and blond.
Just goes to show you. Regardless of how much progress we’ve made as a people, we still have to live with bullshit generalizations and stereotypes.
I really hated that they grouped us all together. I thought there were alot of people they didnt bother to interview but whateva. I always looked at everyone as the same. I wonder if Obama being elected as the presential hopefully is the reason why everyone seems to be interested in our culture. i wonder when will we outgrow this sterotypes tho..
Her video is classic… exactly… that documentary definitely wasn’t for us.. it was for white people to feel like they have a glimpse our world…
Black in America is about so much more than poverty, crime and broken dreams. However, much change is needed. We cannot focus on the great things about our people and allow the bad aspects to fester and grow. However, there are people and organizations who are making a difference.
The National Urban League has been working to mobilize the black community in the hopes of changing the statistics. My name is Abigail Ryan and I am a member of the NY Urban League Young Professionals. Our organization is made up of young professional volunteers and serves to support the mission of the National Urban League. I participate as part of the Communications Committee and one of my areas of focus is relationships and marriage in our community. I have written a couple of articles to address the issue. Below is a link to the organizations and works mentioned. http://www.nyul.org/nyul_home.htmlhttp://www.nyul.org/yp_home.htmlhttp://nyulyp.blogspot.com/2008/04/african-american-marriage-bringing-out.htmlhttp://nyulyp.blogspot.com/2008/06/live-discussion-with-abigail-ryan-wed.html July 30-Aug 2, 2008 the National Urban League will be having their annual conference in Florida. I regret that I will not have the opportunity to attend. However, there will be hundreds of Black people from all over the USA who desire to help build the black community. http://www.nul.org/2008conference/