THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Black In America

Has anyone been watching CNN's Black In America series? I haven't. Apparently, the second or third segment airs tonight. I might tune in, if nothing else demands my attention.

To say that I'm unenthusiastic about the program would be an understatement. I don't expect it to be anything more than a paper-thin "exposé," if we can even label it as such. I wonder who CNN intends its audience for the series to be. Is it a program meant to educate non-blacks about the plight of blacks in America, or is it an attempt to appease blacks in America by supposedly openly discussing the so-called "black experience" in America, or is it an amalgamation of both and other possibilities I didn't mention?

Will it be followed by a Latinos In America special, or an Asian In America series?
What's the end goal? Will it see its intended impact realized, or will it soon be forgotten, rendering it ultimately useless? Is it only adding to the divisiveness that's already prevalent in American society?

I've received a few messages in the last 24 hours from others planning on making an event out of the viewing experience for this evening's segment - essentially, let's all get together at this or that venue and watch CNN tell us about ourselves. Huh? Why?

Am I just missing something altogther here...?

7 comments:

  1. Sergio said...
     

    I have to agree with you. I've seen several other so-called TV exposes about BEING BLACK IN AMERICA in the past and they all amount to nothing. (How many has PBS done in the last 10 years?)Aside from that once you take out the comericals what you're left with is is a three hour show, in total, to tell people what's it's supposed to be like being black in this country. That isn't barely enough time. You would need a show that was on every day for a solid year and that STILL wouldn't be enough time.

    And I have another problem with that show. Yeah i know some people are going to be upset but could they have gotten like a REAL black person to host the show instead of Soledad O'Brien? I swear to God I didnlt even know she was (half) black until a few years ago. Now c'mon you know what I'm taking about. Why get the lightest skinned, whitest looking person to host a show about black America and what's worse she's one of those "I'm only black when it's convenient" type of black folks like Rosario Dawson or Tiger Woods.

  2. nic said...
     

    @sergio: Has Tiger Woods EVER been "black when it's convenient"?

  3. Sergio said...
     

    @ nic

    Yeah once when he made this commercial about how blacks were once forbidden to play in counttry clubs, in other words it was O.K. for him to be black when he got PAID to do it

  4. Anonymous said...
     

    Sergio, you are entitled to your opinions but they are unsettling. You accuse biracial black people of being "black when convenient" which how do you measure that, number of guest appearances made on BET? It sounds like you apply blackness when convenient. If black folks went by your litmus test of blackness then we would have to retroactively expunge and blacklist (no pun intended) abolitionist/ex-SLAVE Fredrick Douglass, Langston Hughes, Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, the majority of the former heads of the NAACP, Halle Berry and Barack Obama from the black history books permanently. And if purity is how you define blackness then 80% of the "black" community would not qualify probably including you. The fact of the matter is that while there were light-skinned and biracial black people who decided to eternally pass there were just as many if not more who used their small privilege to advance black causes. You talk about Tiger (and I don't consider him "black" b/c he explicitly doesn't see himself solely as such) but what did Michael Jordan do at the height of his career besides present dark skin to show his commitment to blackness even 60 Minutes a few years back challenged him on that very issue. Blackness is an amalgamation of qualifiers including but not limited to phenotype, African ancestry and state of mind. Case in point Alicia Keys is directly biracial but explicitly identifies w/ militant verve as a black woman and so I consider her so.
    -bChick

  5. Sergio said...
     

    Well I saw the first part last night and safe to say I won't be watching the second part. It was about what I expected that: "Hey black people are doing great over here but some black people are not doing not-so-great over there" Yawn. Basically this show, like most shows of this type, was made for white viewers to show them that we're normal and not some sort of circus freaks. Of course it doesn't help either that the second part dealing with men will feature Prof Hip-hop Pork Chop as a friend of mine calls him better knopwn as Michael Eric Dyson (or as someone once said about him recently "My mamma always told me to beware of fast talking kneegrows")

    As for O' Brien I stand by what I said abut her. It's not that she's bi-racial but the fact that she has from everything she has done has kept her black identity (what is she a quadroon or what?) is top secret as if it's the LAST thing she wants anybody to know about her. Except when she does this show. With all the black reporters on CNN they pick HER? And as for Woods vs. Jordan, to my knowledge at least Jordan has never deined he was black as Woods has done

  6. Anonymous said...
     

    Sergio as I have prefaced before you are entitled to your opinions but the narrowness of said views makes it easy to dismiss them. My awareness of Ms. O'brien's racial heritage (black mom, white dad) via Essence magazine for which she's done a whole lot of correspondence/guest speaker work for hence the "Essence magazine presents CNN's Black In America," so cancel your subscription. And how can Michael Jordan deny the obvious that's like Angela Bassett denying she's female. You seem to have a bias against biracial/light-skinned black people that wouldn't be swayed even one were to tattoo "black" across their forehead like a swastika. And if Soledad O'brien's ethnicity jars you I wonder what also ethnically- ambiguous but black CNN correspondentand featured in Essence mag too Suzanne Malveaux makes you feel.

  7. Sergio said...
     

    Being light skinned myself believe me I have no problem with bi-racial or light skinned people. Are you kidding? I DO have a problem with people for who bend over backwards denying who they are or avoiding the issue until it's "convienent" or in their benefit for them to be black like O'Brien.

    And you brought up Alicia Keys being "militant". C'mon, her so-called 'militancy" is just an attempt to prove that she's black because of her looks. You know that she must have been criticized because of her looks (especially by black women and bothered by black guys who have no doubt been chasing after her all her life) so she has to work over time to prove that she's black enough. Even back when she first appeared on the scene affecing this stupid "Yo-Yo-Yo" ghetto accent in a misguided attempt to prove her blackness. She's a Julliard graduate for Christ's sake! But if you've seen pictures of her when she was younger she's clearly had major nose job to get rid of her "black" nose for a straighter "whiter" one. What gives?

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