Thoughts on CNN presents “Black in America” by Nadine Mompremier

28 Jul

Nadine: CNN presents “Black in America.” A three-part series that premiered in April with a discussion on Martin Luther King’s legacy and continues this month with a special on the Black Man, the Black Woman, and the Black Family. CNN has done a great job promoting the shows through their website and through various television previews. http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2008/black.in.america/. On YouTube, there are clips of some of the interviews that Soledad O’Brian did for the show. The series is a great concept because it requires people to actually question and address the issues that black people face every day. It discusses those issues that people are afraid to talk about; the actual reality of the “black crisis” or whatever you want to call it. I am not going to comment on what was discussed on the shows, but I think EVERYONE should take the time out to watch it (check the schedules here http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/weekday.html).

As an educated individual, most of the statistics and facts stated concerning high school drop out rates, single parent homes, and economic conditions are familiar to me. As concerned citizens, they should be familiar to you too. For me, the thing that bothers me the most is that this had to be shown on CNN for people to start paying attention. I understand it’s about awareness and something needed to be said but some would argue that the special was unnecessary. In way, it gives the illusion that black people are whining and that they bring these social ills on themselves.

Others would say that the system is not perfect and it is made to make sure that black people cannot rise and be successful. Honestly, it’s a discussion that will go on for years and years because the problems that black people face are not going away any time soon. The black men that are in prison, the children that have been raised with no fathers, the education gap between blacks and whites, the higher education gap between black women and black men, etc. They are not going to disappear and it is a sad reality that we must face and do something about.

But what happens now? Are non-blacks supposed to feel sorry for black people everywhere because of this show? Are people going to start paying attention? Clearly the people that the series focuses on the most won’t see it because they’re in jails, they’re on welfare, and they’re probably not watching CNN. So it becomes a question as of what are you going to do for your community-if anything at all?

This series was a year-long research for O’Brian who does special investigations for CNN. But now what? You’ve investigated, you’ve bought awareness, and your program has aired, so what do you do now? You continue to do your special investigations that are a part of your job. Why didn’t she bring this special to BET or TVOne to attract black people to watch this? Who was the intended audience other than us-educated black individuals?

And just a final thought- don’t you think that this is ironic also? A black man will receive the democratic nomination for president a month after this program airs. Now are people going to watch these programs, look at the plight of the black man and the black family and say “Hey, he made it. He beat the statistics. He has a family, and he’s taking care of his children, etc. etc. etc. so I’m going to vote for him?” Bull****! Sorry but that’s bull****.

But you know what, it’s going to happen. And after it does happen, people will finally think its okay and everything is fine and Blacks and non-Blacks will be equal in America. Obviously, as educated individuals we know better. For those who don’t, they will stop trying to achieve. They won’t aim for anything more. And they won’t see the problems and race issues that will continue to persist despite who is elected into office. Tavis Smiley said it best, “If you were uneducated, jobless, and poor on November 3rd, you will still be uneducated, jobless, and poor on November 5th after Barack Obama has been elected.” Let’s just hope that people do not use these programs and this election to ignore the reality that many face each and every day of their lives.

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