Thursday, July 24, 2008

CNN's Black in America - Woman & Family

(CNN Student News) -- Forty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., CNN launches a sweeping on-air and digital initiative, CNN Presents: Black in America. These documentaries, "The Black Woman and Family" and "The Black Man," focus on fresh analysis from new voices about the real lives behind the stereotypes, statistics and identity politics that frequently frame the national dialogue about Black America.

Black in America: The Black Woman & Family
Aired: Wednesday, July 23, 9 p.m. ET
Program overview: Soledad O'Brien explores the varied experiences of black women and families and investigates the reasons behind the disturbing statistics on single parenthood, disparities between black and white students in schools, and the devastating toll of HIV/AIDS. O'Brien reports on the progress of black women in the workplace and the status of the black middle class.

Resources associated with CNN Presents: Black in America.

plez sez: i waited with bated breath for this show to air. got the DVR all queued up and ready to go. skipped over the hip hop/spoken word artist... that isn't my style, sorry.

alas, less than an hour into the two hour program, i am disappointed with the show. the Black experience, the segment on Black women alone could've run for two hours. maybe i'm socially aware, maybe because i'm Black, but i didn't see any groundbreaking information. the same tired issues were trotted out: single mother households, lack of emphasis on education, poverty in the Black community, rampant HIV/AIDS infection rates, lack of preventive health care, interracial marriage, ad nauseum.

and of course, hallelujah, low and behold, a WHITE ancestor! how in the heck did ole girl think she get that light skin and freckles! oh, not just any old white ancestor, of course, they found a family whose white great-great-great grandfather had a Black mistress, not a slave! he had two families: one white and one Black. each family had a gaggle of kids. earth to soledad o'brien, just about every damn Black family in the US has the DNA of some nasty, white rapist lurking in the shadows of its history. and just think, marriage between white men and Black women was against the law in most southern states until 1970! yeah... less than 40 years ago!

during this time of obvious miscegenation on the part of white men raping Black women, a Black man could be lynched for looking (or whistling) at a white woman... some shit about violating the purity of the white race! see Emmit Till, a 14-year old boy who was dragged from his uncle's home and shot and lynched for allegedly whistling at a white woman while visiting relatives in mississippi in 1955.

i guess my biggest issue with the "Woman & Family" episode was the lack of historical context (other than the white ancestor bit) surround all of the issues that were discussed in the documentary. are Black people that damn pitiful, that damn lazy and shiftless, and deserving of scorn for the failures in their communities, OR were there some contributing events in their history that saw them to this station in life? soledad o'brien didn't go there, even though she is Black, her parents were college professors, and her and her five siblings are all graduates of harvard. she couldn't take that extra step and delve into the why?

why do most of us have white ancestors, but rarely do we know who they are? why do most of the Black families not have two parents? why is there such a shortage of eligible Black men for professional Black women? why is education a failure for Black families at such an alarming rate? why do so few of our young men graduate from high school (less than 50 percent)? why is HIV/AIDS such a scourge in our community? why doesn't anyone step up to address the health care gap between Blacks in america and whites in america? why does a high percentage of Black children suffer from homelessness and poverty in america? why does it seem that slavery, something that ended over 150 years ago, still hold so many Black people back? why do so many Black people vote for the Democratic Party candidates? why did circumstances in New Orleans lead to such destruction of that city when similar catastrophes in other parts of the US don't have such a negative effect?

this was not a balanced story... they should have stayed with the Rand family and critiqued them in various scenarios rather than jump around. there was little continuity between segments (except when they referenced members of the Rand family). there was no acknowledgement of nuance, no shades of gray, few nuggets of information that would have made this a groundbreaking documentary. one would be better off finding a copy of "Eyes on the Prize," which covers 30 years of the Civil Rights Movement in a FOURTEEN HOUR documentary.

well... now, i'm off to watch Black men episode...


BronzeBuckaroo said...

I was disappointed with the program myself. Ms. O'Brian sort of angered me with her segment dividing Afro American folk up into castes based on the immediate blood of a certain parent. Apparently, she didn't learn much from her first segment about the white ancestor. For me, she just scratched the surface without in depth analyzing. To add insult, I guess she forgot some Afro American folk are gay and lesbian.

I do applaud the ambition of the program. But, it was far from perfect. Very far from perfect! At lease, the first night airing was far from perfect.

Mochalight said...

I agree with Bronze... by the way plea I have been following you for awhile... I need them to spin White America in the exact same way...