I’m not really trying to go into too much length over this, but I honestly find all this venom being hurled at CNN and Soledad O’Brien to be somewhat comical.
Did I think the special’s intent was to enlighten Black people in America on what it is like to be Black in America?
No. It’s for people without a clue who might now have a wee bit of interest in us outside of how we jump or how low we can dance. Der.
Did I expect them to offer solutions on how Black people can solve all of their social ills?
It was a special assignment given to a wonderful news anchor and reporter who got screwed out of her morning show duties. So, she gets a big two day special and CNN gets ratings. Not to mention, it was never presented to be an after school special, so what exactly were people expecting?
Am I surprised there are some Black people angry about the special?
Hardly. It never fails. I would take this special over watching David Banner yell over women for an hour any day of the week.
Some people are mad because they felt the special “reinforced negative stereotypes.” Here’s a thought: A lot of what’s being said about our community is true. Regardless of the contributions (both past and present) that have contributed to certain circumstances they remain true (albeit some only partially).
68% of Black children are born out of wedlock. Who is their mother? It’s not Lauren Conrad.
A lot of young Black men and women (the latter under reported) are going to jail in droves.
We do make up a strong portion of the HIV/AIDS cases.
Many educated Black women are single. Marriage in general is on a decline.
And instead of throwing out stats, the special offered faces to go with figures. It’s a lot harder to write off someone’s problems once you actually hear them speak.
As far as defying the stereotypes goes: They spoke with a Black screenwriter, a Harvard educated economist, an HIV + positive women (who said she was in a monogamist relationship at the time of contraction) who is a published author and activist, and the woman hosting the event identifies herself as a Black woman.
Again I ask, what do people expect? A lie to make them feel better about themselves and their accomplishments? If you still need that type of validation from a media that hardly ever championed your cause to begin with that’s your bad.
Certain Blacks have a problem when the spotlight is on their less privileged and/or accomplished brethren. It’s that snooty elitist attitude that basically translates into: Stop linking me with them.
Some portions of the special I could have lived without watching (not to mention that spoken word artist/poet/whatever), but it was a special on a cable news network that was never presented as some monumental moment in the history of Black people. If you didn’t care to watch it, fine. If you’re more bothered by the fact that certain images of Black people that you’ve been able to escape thanks to the great work of your parents were aired yet again: get over yourself.
I’m actually more concerned about how the show spotlighted how direct people are about using materialism to educate people than I am about a few uppitier than thou colored folk being caught in another tizzy over being linked to other Blacks ‘not on their level.’
We’re not as bad off as we’re often depicted the same way we’re not all angels. Accept it.