Did You Watch?

We had company over, so unfortunately I missed the first installment of CNN’s Black in America. And I guess CNN also aired a segment of the program over this past weekend, because the commenters at What About Our Daughters were already deep in analysis about the program’s pros and cons. I’m hearing about a lot of cons so far.

The only segment I’ve seen in its entirety was the interview with Whoopi Goldberg — who I find completely fascinating.

As someone who’s been frequently “complimented” on my articulate nature, I feel her.

Bossip also mentioned the show and asked the question I’ve been wondering — who’s the intended audience? Is it black men and women, we who are hungry for an accurate, uplifting, intelligent portrayal of ourselves? Or is it meant for those outside of the culture, to gain insight to the quote-unquote black experience?

I plan to watch this and post a review next week, when I return from Chicago. If you watched, please let me know what you thought. Spoilers, schmoilers. I want to know!

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Comments

  1. It took me a second to really take in what I watched. But after thinking about it for a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that the intended audience had to be those outside of the African American community. We know our experiences like no other, of course. I feel like its impossible to cover the entire “Black experience” in 2 three hour segments, and while CNN covered many issues, none were looked at in depth, and there of course many issues that will not even be examined.

  2. It’s definitely intended for non African Americans. Great attempt and well intended but is way too broad and redundant. Still very interesting nonetheless.

  3. Hey Bella, I’m not sure of the intended audience (people on both sides could have benefited from the information), but while it covered a lot of issues, CNN only did a very cursory analysis of each. As mentioned above, you can’t cover the “black experience” in 4 hours but it gives a bit of insight to whoever is watching – white, black or otherwise.

    I wonder if these issues are related to class as much as they are race. Unfortunately, I don’t see that special ever being produced.

  4. auragirl says:

    It was sad to see the 24 year old who contracted AIDS after having unprotected sex once. I hope people learned from her experience…use a condom every time. AIDS kills!
    It was also unfortunte to see the 18 year old single mother being tested for AIDS. 18 is so young! She should be filling out college apps and going to prom, not having sex and changing diapers. I think having kids out of wedlock has become way too common in this society. Every kid deserves and needs to grow up with a mom AND a dad. Hopefully we’ll get back to the times when single parent homes were not as common as they are now.

  5. ChocolateOrchid says:

    I thought is was a good “overview” of black culture in America. However, I expected the show to go more in depth on black women and family. To me, it didn’t do that. For a little while, it focused on a single father struggling w/his two kids. I expected to see that on tonight’s segment. Anyhoo, I’m sure it was/is intended for those who are not black or bi-racial b/c we already know. Soledad/CNN did as well as she could w/the limited amount of time b/c you definitely cannot tell the whole story in a couple of hours.

  6. ChocolateOrchid says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention. I am happy that it did not focus/blow up the negative percentage of our community which the media tends to do.

  7. Sabrina97 says:

    I agree with others. This is a small glance into the black experience. I was surprised at the fact that the only thing that they talked about in relation of women who are not in the poverty statistic was the lack of available dating options for singles. While I agree with the situation as a single woman, there is a lot more to us than that.

  8. I think Soledad O’Brien worked really hard and did a good job. However, like previous commenters noted, there just wasn’t enough time spent on each subject. It just kind of blew through HIV, single-parenthood, education, inter-racial dating and all of these other things, without really spending a lot of time on anything in particular. A lot of the black blogosphere has been giving the whole series the side-eye ever since they started promoting it, but I think it was actually a pretty good segment and I will watch all three parts. If nothing else, it offers a tiny little peak into what it means to be black in America today and gives the world an idea of how complex and diverse our experiences are.

  9. edessedesigns says:

    I did not like it at all. Not really an encompassing view of African Americans–just focused on the negative and stereotypical and briefly mentioned the positive aspects of our community.

    I also HATED Dr. Ronald Fryer. As a fellow economist, I disagree 100% on his “paying students to learn” incentive as well as his “salt-intake” theories.
    I do not get it with black intellectuals. I don’t understand why he feels the need to pay students to learn as opposed to telling students what he had to do–work hard, harder, and the hardest.

    Why does it seem as if we, as African Americans, need incentives to do the bare minimum? I am also working on my PhD in economics and the only incentive I ever needed was and is my graduation day and I came from the poorest of the poor. I spent the large part of my life without running water or electricity in the poorest part of the deep south. I know what hard times mean, but no one had to motivate me to work hard, me or any of my class mates, and we have all gone on to do great things with our lives.

    I was just disgusted by that.

  10. I truly applaud Soledad OBrien for her efforts. She obviously worked tirelessly and seemed genuinely moved by each of the families she covered. We are just such a deep, rich, intricate tapestry that any effort might fall short of fully articulating our collective issues, hopes, dreams and successes.

    That being said, I went to bed last night feeling sad for my struggling single parent sisters with deferred dreams and feeling blessed that I’ve managed, by only the grace of God, not to fall into that category. I’m educated, married with kids (15 years) and in general, making good strides in life and blessed to be able to give back to the community that loved and raised me well. I’m am just one of millions just like me. The Cosby Show was not a lie! Black love and black acheivement is real!

    I hope the documentary ends on a positive note and explores the many successes we have made despite overwhelming odds against us.

    White folk know all the bad and sad stuff….we need to be sharing the good with them and with our own kids. Our kids need to feel that black success (not just in music or athletics) is not the exception…it’s the rule.

  11. edessedesigns says:

    If I were non black and saw this documentary, I would have no sympathy for black people in America. Our plight seems to be more of a series of bad choices as opposed to oppression. Yes, oppression can lead to bad choices, but it does not mean you should make bad choices and yes, oppression does exist. We all know that. So why can’t we make better decisions? Why do we need incentives to make better decisions?

    Marry your babby daddy program? Really? Having unprotected sex? Getting shot? Complaining about not finding a good man when you act stuck up? Having even more kids when you can’t take care of the ones you have?

    I’m sorry, I just simply hated this!

  12. I was completely turned off by the program. Completely. The whole show, IMHO, was negative. I am not saying that there are no problems or issues in our community, but that is not the totality of the black experience in America and it bothers me greatly that the show was so one sided. Vignettes of negativity. Two thumbs way down.

  13. I haven’t made up my mind on how I totally feel. There was negativity and positive points. Me personally I have lived a sheltered life as to some of the issues in our communities, yeah I know they exist but I don’t totally know so it opened my eyes a little more and put in perspective that the world is bigger than my little world. I thought the marry your baby daddy program wasn’t that bad. The couples go through counseling before getting married. It is sad that this wasn’t the first step then kids but some people are a** backwards.

  14. Thanks for posting this, I missed the first episode.

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  15. No Bella, I did not watch, but for the sake of not taking up your commenting space, you can read my response and feelings on this sort of thing here: The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: http://ymib.com/daily-inspiration/family/bites/resolution-will-not-be-televised.html

  16. I was not impressed. There isn’t an audience for this type of rhetoric. The show totally reinforced everything that mainstream America thinks of the black community. There was the high school drop out, the single mother with five kids, and then they even had a segment on a women that has an organization titled “Marry You Baby’s Daddy.”

    As an educator, I was totally appalled by the “payment for good grades” portion of this show. Then Maya Angelou gets on CNN this morning and essentially says “whatever it takes.” Are they saying the only way our students will learn is through external motivation. If you look at the economics of the black community, part of the problem is with capitalism and what our students tend to value. It feeds right into what we are so desperately trying to get our students to reevaluate. What does this say about us as a community? What does this say to those that fought so hard for us to even have an education?

    I am truly scared of what the show has in store for tonight on the Black male. Consequently I’ve had enough and I am not that willing to give this show another chance.

  17. I feel that the documentary was well done for time allotted. You can’t document a race of people in a 2 part, 3hr show. Just as there is no way that you can truly teach Black history in one month. Nevertheless it was good.
    This show was simply intended for everyone of every ethnic background. No one knows struggle like African-Americans and sometimes those whom have struggled more than others have a hard time viewing it through a documentary. But this is life, and what was aired simply showed a part of life. — Edessedesigns — You said you came from the poorest of the poor, so I understand you not liking the negative aspects of this documentary. But they also show the positive side too. Look at the positive side of your own life. Look at how blessed you are…coming from a poor background and now working on your PhD. God blessed you to want better than the environment you grew up in.
    As a single parent myself, I’ve seen my own share of struggles. But after watching the young single mother in the documentary last night, I realized just how blessed I truly am. I’m a college graduate, with a good job and my child never wanted for much. I come from a very close family and all have played a part in my son’s life.
    I think that there is something that we can all take from this documentary. Today it’s about family and as long as you have family, you have something. We must have unity within the African-American community and develop a mentality to do better and want better of all.

  18. edessedesigns says:

    Doris,

    I agree with you to an extent. I do feel blessed by how I came from basically nothing into “something.” But my story is not atypical. There a millions of black people who have pulled themselves up and have made better lives for themselves–why were they not shown last night? Everybody knows about the negatives but few know about the positives and there are many positives-this show just chose to ignore them for the most part and those like Dr. Fryer who can show people in distress how to get out of distress decides instead to pander and capitalize off of our weaknesses. I’m quite sure no one paid him to learn so why is supporting that.

    I’m 100% with Stacie on this whole incentive based motivation. I have a major problem with this–especially when it comes to trying to motivate blacks to do the basics. What happens when the incentives are taken away? What happens when you enter into an environment when there is no incentive in sight?

    If you support this, you should be ashamed. I bet you all of the black people who made amazing lives for themselves directly after being emancipated must be rolling over in their graves. Imagine that, those black people were considered inhuman, they could not vote, very few could own land, go to school, read, or write but used internal motivation to get themselves ahead–and that was almost 150 years ago. Why the digression?

  19. To answer your question:

    Yes I feel as though it was to educate the “Others” on the state of Black America becasue therer was nothing in this documentary that I did not already know or any one I know personally did not already know.

    My Opinion on the Documentary:

    Hopefully this whole “Documentary” will come full circle and have the last episode show the successes, and outstanding accomplishments of “Us” black people.

    However it would have certainly been nice to have then start with the success in the first place. But We know that the unconscious mind of the “Other Race” works more then their present walking, speaking statement of mind does anyway.

    The things that were depicted last night are nothing a black,white, Hispanic, Asian American doesn’t already know about the state of black America. Show me something I don’t know and I will show you something you had no idea was even possible.

    Tell me one black person from the age of 15 and older who did not already know these things and I will show you the millions here in America and on other continents that already knew them. We need Positive Images to encourage, inspire, move, and excite us and our children to want to do better.

    These images most certainly should start at home, but it would just be nice if the world outside of our living room door would show it as well. I know the poverty line and were it starts and stops now lets show our brothers, sisters and children just how close success in life is ! It’s just around the corner TRUST ME IT IS~

    Don’t give you Modern Black History 101 I live it everyday. We as a people can still do much much better. This issue is a double edge sword!

  20. I think that if anything our forefathers are rolling over because their struggles have fallen be the waist side. Not from this documentary. Our people are not taking advantage of the education in this country. I don’t agree with paying the students to do well in school either. Because what happens when the fund run out? Will they remain motivated enough to want to continue to well in school? It is a possibility they could or could not.
    True, everybody knows about the negatives but some who have experienced the positive try to block it out, doing nothing to help lift their people up from bottom in order to see the light. It is as it is a struggle. I volunteer as a counselor mentoring teens; we tutor them, we take on trips so that can get a chance to see outside of their own community. We expose them to doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. Many of them when I sit with them for the first time come in with the mentality that they won’t amount to nothing because of the environment that they live. It’s up to us show them better….but just because the positive is not shown in great depth does not mean you can’t do or want better.
    So, you say I should be ashamed….well I’m not.

  21. I watched the program last night. Though the positive side was squeezed in there. I have to agree with ‘Doris’; you have to want a better life for yourself. You don’t have to see the alot of positive things to do good in life. Though it would be nice it they show it more on television. But comeon pepople we as a people have to strive to achieve the highest goal.

  22. Tlady03 says:

    Thanks for the awesome clip of Whoopi! I too missed the documentary.

  23. dettygirl says:

    I thought the show was ….interesting. I will see whether they will gloss over the black man issues tonight as well though. One thing I think everyone is talking about is the apathy we are saw our people. Granted, we live in a society that continues to tell us we aren’t worth anything: mainstream magazines don’t reflect us, laws have been in place to separate & destroy black families for centuries. Some us know what’s up, but many, like those depicted last night, believe the hype. When everywhere you look, you are told you aren’t worth anything, IF YOU DON’T KNOW BETTER, you will start to believe it. Haven’t you noticed how hard it is for us to work together for something? WE don’t even show up for us half the time ( like the lady last night who had the classroom of empty chairs)! I love my people but I agree that each individual has to WANT to be your best &not just follow the crowd, or believe everything you see & hear. It does start with education in the home as well. There is a serious disconnect between all black people & I don’t see how anything will change until we stop being so fearful of one another & learn to work together.
    WOW I didn’t mean to write this much;didn’t realize how fast I was typing!:)

  24. I only caught the last hour but I did dvr it to catch up later but what I did watch, I realized they are not talking about anything that we already don’t know. I can relate to every situation that was discussed from single parenting, being a biracial and understanding what Ryan goes through to trying to find a black man that is on my level. Just like you said, who is the indended audience? I believe that white people are the indended audience but are they going to watch and if they do what difference does it make? I really hope someone can learn from what we go through on a daily basis but I doubt it. That is just like saying we are finally going to have World Peace.

  25. I have to say that I was disappointed at the single mother with 5 children. She blamed her situation on being young and depressed but how do you end up with that many children. Ok, yes I brought a child into this world and it might have been a mistake but 5. Well really 4 of her own and one she took in. What was she thinking after the 1st and the 2nd? Struggling to take care of 1 or 2 is hard but she had more. Obviously she didn’t learn anything. I am trying hard not to knock her but it is hard to have sympathy for her because she chose to have all of those kids.

  26. cosmicsistren says:

    @edessedesigns – Please get out of my head!!!! I agree with everything you wrote. I HATED this show. Watching it made me VERY ANGRY. If I was a non-black person I would think that blacks are hopeless and lazy. Paying kids to learn? Are you kidding me? I don’t understand what was the purpose of this show? What ever happened to personal responsibility. Everything bad that happens to black people we are supposed to blame racism? I was disgusted when the volunteers were begging that black kid to go back to school. Where is his mother? How come she isn’t getting on him? It just seems to me that the show portrayed blacks as baby making shiftless negroes.

    I am getting angry just remembering it. I don’t think I am going to watch tonight’s episode on the black man. I felt the black women wasn’t really discussed all that well.

    @edessedesigns – Do you see Black Men Revealed on TV1? After I watched an hour of the crap on CNN I tried to watch BMR but couldn’t take the foolery on the show. I would be intereseted to get your opinion.

  27. I did watch this past weekend and I think it really was ok. I think that it was appropriate for blacks and non-blacks. A lot of times black people get very self absorbed and think that they are the only ones going through issues with being black in America. I also think it was good for our younger children to watch. It wasn’t as in depth but I applaud them for the broad range and scope of issues that they touched on. Now it is up to us to pick up where they left off and finish the job of educating others.

    As far as paying children to learn…
    I am kind of on the fence about that. I can see the pros and cons to this type of incentive, so I eagerly wait to see what comes of this at the end of the trial period.

  28. It was definitely interesting, but as others have said before me, the analysis was cursory, at best. Other things were downright laughable.

    I think the target audience was varied. Much of the commentary was probably directed towards whites, however, it’s pretty clear that lots of black folks have seen it and I don’t think CNN is foolish enough to think that we wouldn’t.

  29. OMG edessedesigns and cosmicsistren I totally agree with you both 200%. I did not like the program one bit. I thought it was very generic, and only perpetuated the stereotypes that plague our people. I too feel that if I were of another group I would have been watching the program with no sympathy.

    This program talked a lot about the issues that many Black people face but I thought the program would have been more effective if they discussed WHY we face these issues. I wanted the program to help others better understand the different issues we face on a daily basis, like why at my corporate job people look at me side ways when I wear my hair natural, or racial profiling, or that we are often ignored when we walk into certain establishments. I wanted them to reveal that although it’s 2008 we still experience racism and face challenges with inequality, and that’s what it is to be Black in America.

    Sigh…I can’t say I was expecting something fantastic but I was highly disappointed, I don’t think I’ll be watching tonight.

    Oh, and marry your baby daddy program? I was furious. Ok I’m mad now, I need to take a deep breath.

  30. I saw a bit of the show from Saturday and Wednesday night. I am always amazed at the lack of visibility about HIV/AIDS. Here in Louisville the only ads I see about HIV come on at 1:00 in the a.m and the 2 I have seen have featured African-American women…I thought the picture had moved beyond focus on groups to behaviors…sigh. Malveaux was accurate in pointing out that there is greater attention/information about HIV in Africa (and I can certainly speak for tremendous initiatives in the Caribbean), than what is being done here in the USA.
    Marry your baby daddy takes me back to the post-colonial social policies in the Caribbean where mass marriages were advocated by churches and anthropologists from outside the Caribbean who pathologised Afro-Caribbean family forms…but if it works for the couples who enter voluntarily, who am I to judge!
    I am not particularly upset by giving incentives to children to learn…not all of us are internally driven/motivated…does it have to be money? Maybe not, could full scholarships, partial tuition, free school book schemes,be alternatives. I am the only person in my family with a graduate education. Does it mean I am more motivated than my siblings or that our motivation steered us in different directions to make different choices.
    I could identify with Dyson’s commentary on colourism, I know my first taste of colour discrimination occurred in my own household.
    In summary, I think the overall the series analysis was somewhat lukewarm and did not really do the slow dance necessary to strike at the systemic complexities of how the issues they identified affects African-Americans.

  31. conflicted says:

    Yeah I too had major issues with this broadcast, having seen portions of each episode. First problem = SOLEDAD O’BRIEN! Really? Let’s talk about “black issues” by having a clueless NON-BLACK moderator to ask asinine questions. They couldn’t find one black person in all of CNN to do this show? Maybe because they all agreed it was whack. This reeks of pretentious ulterior motive; I could just hear the emmy nomination with o’brien’s name as each segment played on.

    Second, as others have said, it was way too stereotypical and not one new fact was learned as to how things got this way. Blacks are either immoral baby-makers, hardened criminals or if we become successful, we immediately must run out and marry white to cover up our low self-esteem or sell out by only associating with white friends. Sorry but as a proud black professional i seriously take offense to this; NONE of the people i roll with fit any of these categories!

  32. jasmine the jigsaw says:

    I actually enjoyed the show. Well, I didn’t “enjoy” it (obviously) but I felt it was well done. I felt that the segment on black women was totally glossed over though, and that disappointed me. I just finished watching the segment on black men and for whatever reason, I liked what I saw tonight more than I did last night.

    I think we all – black, white, brown – were the intended audience. For non-blacks (and perhaps even some blacks) this documentary was done in an attempt to enlighten them on some of the very real issues facing the black community. Maybe for some blacks, the show was some sort of catalyst for change. If we want solutions we need to be willing to put the problems out there and talk about them. Of course, it wasn’t perfect and there’s always something that’s going to be left out but it was interesting nonetheless. I think CNN and Soledad’s intentions were good, and I don’t think they did a bad job.

  33. Sabrina97 says:

    @conflicted–while I agree with your second point, I must correct you about something.Soledad O’Brien is multiracial, having a Caucasian father from Austrialia and an Afro-Cuban mother. She is active in both the NABJ and the NAHJ. She is a part of these stories as much as you and I. While I feel that the show was shallow, I think Soledad did great interviews. For instance, the clip that Afrobella showed with Whoopi Goldberg was not shown in its entirety in the documentary, but only the part about her being a single mother on welfare.

  34. conflicted says:

    @Sabrina97, I see your point. However although racially diverse, I still maintain that the Latino experience is completely difference than the Black experience in the US. She may be 1/4 black or whatever but the reality is she is an outsider to the experience. It showed from her naive questions. And I am sorry but memberships in black organizations do not translate into experience.

    Don’t get me wrong I really like Soledad; this was just not an appropriate role for her.

  35. edessedesigns says:

    Doris:

    I apologize if I sounded harsh. That was not my intention. The “you” was a plural and not directed at you, singular. I wanted to clarify that. We are here to agree, disagree but at the end of the day respect each other. I totally respect your opinion and apologize if I sounded insensitive to it.

    Erica

  36. edessedesigns says:

    cosmicsistren:

    No, I did not see the “black men revealed” show but did see clips. I knew immediately I might get angry so I did not watch it. I will try to see if I can catch it over the weekend.

    Did you watch the second part of “Being black in America?” What were your opinions?

  37. edessedesigns says:

    andrea:

    Very well said!!

  38. Both segments were disappointing. There were no fresh insights about the regression or progress in this country. Major issues like poverty, health, and crime were not approached with any depth. So I wonder, what was the purpose of this series–perpetuate stereotypes?

  39. dettygirl says:

    Yeah Part 2 wasn’t likable. I kept thinking “if I was a black man watching this,I’d be mad.” They weren’t fair to ALL types of black men. They mainly focused on supposedly successful light-skinned black males. I kept waiting for an interview that explained the WHY behind the choices these men make. And they didn’t even TOUCH the gay black male/downlow thing, b/c that is directly correlated to the rising # of AIDS cases in black women. Overall, all I felt this series did was show how institutionalized racism is in america. And if Barack Obama isn’t the next president, i promise you, I will never vote again. America desperately needs a change.

  40. Viva La'Fro says:

    “And they didn’t even TOUCH the gay black male/downlow thing, b/c that is directly correlated to the rising # of AIDS cases in black women.”

    I don’t know if I believe that the rising number of AIDS cases with Black women is because the women sleep with men who are on the downlow. The downlow ‘phenomenon’ always struck me as an underhanded homophobic paranoid mess. Just seems like a ‘fresh’ way to demonize homosexuality to me.

    But I digress…

  41. I watched a little bit last night and I want to comment on the brother trying to get a job. He applied for a job online and was told to go to the store for an interview. He arrived at the store with a hidden camera. He met with a manager at the store and was told that the person he needed to speak with wasn’t there at the time. Did anyone notice that the manager he was talking to was obviously of Latin decent? Unfortunately, blacks get it from Hispanics as well. I bet you if it was someone just like him applying for that job, he would have went out of his way to help them get that job. I am just saying….

  42. dettygirl says:

    I don’t understand Viva La’Fro. I did not mean to offend anyone or demonize anything. I was just wondering why CNN chose to ignore such a huge issue in the black community.

  43. On Soledad’s “blackness”:

    She is a Black Latina that was born and raised in the United States. She may not be a descendent of slaves from the United States, but I don’t think that disqualifies her from covering this issue.

    Next thing you know, Afrobella will not be allowed to talk about it either because she is from Trinidad.

    I don’t understand how people can come down so hard on Soledad but love to claim Barack Obama. Is it the way she looks? I think it unfair for us to define her. She has already defined herself as a black woman, just as Sen. Obama describes himself as a black man. (Check out this over at the Black Snob on questioning Soledad’s identity: http://blacksnob.blogspot.com/2008/07/when-is-black-black.html)

    What exactly did she say or ask that you felt was out of line?

    I understand the importance of identifying one’s self in America’s social climate, but as we know, there are significant challenges facing our community and we should spend less time embracing colorism and more time trying lift up our community.

    Of course, there is plenty of criticism to go around about the content of CNN’s special.

  44. I was very distrubed by this program. It was a boat load of negativity. Nothing was shown in a postive light concnerning Black America. If the audience was Black people, did they really become more wise to our issues or did it just reinforce the negative stereotypes they already know? I do not understand the purpose of the documentary.

    Where were the solutions? Where was the positive commentary? Evey situation that started off in a positive fashion had a …buuut on the end of it. This didn’t show black as beautiful but black as poor, downtrodden, uneducated, jailed, umarried, and homeless? Some huh?

    I blog and I discussed this on my site. It did enlighten a few people on the health disparities in the black community.

    I came to realize regarding African- Americans and being healthy like our white counter-parts. We are fighting a war with few foot-soldiers. Health is probably the topic we as a community are least educated about. We also tend to gloss over the topic and often times are not a part of the solution.

    Check me out at P.O.S.H. Life http://poshlifeposhstyle.blogspot.com/2008/07/black-health-disparity.html

  45. coco_fiere says:

    I watched both segments and was not bowled over by either one in it’s entirety. However, there were some things that moved me and I hope opened some eyes. The young boy featured in the incentive program wanted to split his money with his father to help take care of the household because he recognized his family could use it. I also liked the relationship between the father and son. I wasn’t thrilled by the assertion that successful black people somehow can’t find each other and must exit the community to find friendship and love. They tried to make it seem like a class issue but the successful black people I know socialize and date within the race and don’t exclusively hang with other races. We can associate with all people without bearing the burden of being the “one black chick” or whatever. I’m glad they pointed out certain issues such as the AIDS epidemic within our community and how little attention is paid to it compared to how we as a nation focus on it in other countries. The segment featuring Michael Eric Dyson and his brother was interesting also. As a longtime fan of Professor Dyson, I never knew about the different path his brother took that led him to prison. It was a true example of how people can come from the same background and end up in totally different positions, based on their choices. While most of us were aware of pretty much everything featured, good and bad, there were plenty of people who had no clue about any of the issues that plague our community (i.e. giving the boys in the family the “police warning talk”). They need to dig deeper and try again to really make this worthwhile.

  46. I talked about the program a little on my blog. A majority of people that I have spoken to have said that it is more of the same old, same old. Truthfully, I think we should see more. We should be confronted with staggering statistic after staggering statistic until change comes about. If everyone has said, “Well, tell me something I don’t know”…I ask what you are doing about it. It seems everyone just looks at the stats and shrugs their shoulders like it is the norm. If anything, I took away how much I can make a difference in my community. No, it didn’t take that particular program to do, but if it serves as a catalyst to make someone get off their hindparts and do something…that is all the more better. It really doesn’t matter what race does…we have have not gotten this far in this society without the sacrifice of non-blacks. I truly believe that there are people in the world who want a better society regardless of race.

    I wish programs would promote better imagery of our community because perception is sometimes reality. Providing positive reinforcement in people’s lives can possible push them to achieve more. It doesn’t help that BET will broadcast a “Wrap it Up”‘ commercial about safe sex followed up by Lil Wayne “Lollipop”. It sends a mixed message and constant imagery like this only fuels those hormones of 106th and Parkers. Hell, I watched Terrance totally dog out Rocsi (why can’t you have a body like Ciara) only to see her walk off and see Terrance the next program being feed strawberries like he was some king. I’m a guy and I’m wondering what type of message is this sending. WE have to start somewhere, maybe the climate is right to bring about the type of change that our community needs.

  47. I watched the program but I feel that all it did was talk about the problems and not offer any real solutions. The only way for the African American way of life to improve is to offer real solutions and stop focusing on the problems and the past. What can WE do to make education, healthcare, job prospects better. What can WE do to strenthen the African American family. What are those who have “made it” doing to help those that have not made it yet. The key word is YET, it’s not over until we give up and stop trying to make everyone’s lives better.

  48. I agree with most of the comments before me. It was for a broader audience. It was some of the things we already know. Which it has been in the media for years. I watched thinking it was going to go in depth of how some whites treat us up close and far away. I didn’t see that the real impact of the show.

  49. I remember seeing a special segment on Grant Hill on the news. He was touring his African Art Collection called Something All Our Own. I though it was pretty cool to give back to the community showcasing something cultured like Black art. The problem was it was on a Sunday at 8 in the morning. I was only up because I was preparing to go to church. More stuff like this should be shown during peak programming and more often. We offer so much more beyond the usual BET or MTV perceptions.

  50. Viva La'Fro says:

    Dettygirl- I wasn’t saying you in particular. I understood your point about not seeing coverage about the AIDS epidemic. But I do believe that gay men or men who are “on the downlow” are unfairly stigmatized, especially in the sense of being the sole reason black women are seeing an increase in AIDS/HIV cases.

  51. I was thinking about why black women with HIV/AIDS cases are rising, could it be men don’t go to the doctor? Woman are usually good about going to their OB/GYN, but men are notorious for not going to the doctor. Men could be gay or not, we could be silent carriers because we don’t get physicals like we are supposed to. That also goes for undiagnosed cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood, etc.

  52. dettygirl says:

    Allrighty then. :) Thanks for clearing that up! @GLEN PALMER, males avoiding the doctor is a good reason I hadn’t thought of before. B/c I hafta almost threaten bodily harm to get my dad to go…

  53. OK Why is it Black women are still having babies out of wedlock? I am so over this single parent thing. Folks there are condoms and at least 25 methods of birth control. Stop the insanity. The women on the CNN special were particularly unsympathetic to me. REally. I am 37 educated date regularly but I ain’t havin no kids, without a husband who if the relationship ends can at least manage some sort of support and engage with his child. The HIV stuff again, CONDOMS. Just say no.

  54. The show was embarrassing. Most of what the program touched on focused on the poor choices made by Blacks, not by racism and oppression. Who’s to blame for having children out of wedlock? Dropping out of school? Shootin a fellow African-American?

    I wish they had focused on more positive notions. I’m tired of seeing stories based on the poor. Why can’t middle-class African-Americans receive more attention?

    The paying students incentive isn’t just focused on black students. It’s been discussed for all students.

  55. CNN tried their best, but I think they missed the mark. I felt the series focused too much on the negative and not enough of the positive. It seemed as though they wanted the audience to pity black folks. We all know the sob stories, but what about all of the African Americans who have overcome to make something of their lives??? I want to see a program focused on those of us who have achieved. I want to see a program about people like me, I made it out of the ghetto. I lived on the southside of Chicago for most of my life. There were nights when we would have to sleep on the floor, to avoid being shot in our sleep, but I was determined to make it out. Without a college degree I got a job at a telcom company making $8.00 an hour answering calls in the call-center, and I worked my butt off. Within four years I was promoted four times and eventually relocated to California making $120,000 a year. America needs to see examples and hear stories of people who were determined to make it against all odds. We all know racism and roadblocks exists, they will ALWAYS exist, but you can’t let that be an excuse and stop you from achieving your dreams. We need to see more stories of inspiration. Enough of the doom and gloom already!

  56. @ Glen Palmer, you have made a good point, but the issue isn’t as simple as just going to the doctor. It’s about asking for an HIV test. Just because a woman goes for an annual pap and pelvic exam, that doesn’t guarantee her an HIV test. Believe it or not, many practicioners won’t ask. We need to be proactive about asking our providers to test us for HIV specifically. HIV testing is not a routine test. If you have blood drawn at a check-up, HIV is not automatically inlcuded in testing. Bottom line: We have to ask instead of waiting for the doctor to offer the test.

  57. And about AIDS in our community. Why are people trying to claim AIDS as a black disease??? AIDS doesn’t care about what color of skin you have. Women need to start DEMANDING their men wear condoms!!! If he can’t put one on, he shouldn’t be allowed near you. That’s what we need to start teaching our daughters. And we need to tell young men to WRAP IT UP!!!There is no sex so good that its worth you LIFE.

  58. I am not a particular fan of Whoopi Goldberg and I believe she should speak for herself and not African Americans as a whole because there are alot of things she says I disagree with. She does not speak for me but obviously she’s welcome to her opinions and perspective. Unfortunately, she gets a national platform to do it because apparantly Hollywood loves her. She’s profane, users the “N’ word and projects the type of role model the establishment would love for us to emulate.

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