People Sound Off About The CNN Special “Black In America”


My Reaction To CNN Presents “Black in America” by Gary A. Johnson

Part II of CNN Presents Black in America focused on “The Black Man.” I hate to sound like a broken record, but this show fell short of my expectations. It was so negative that at one point I thought I was having a heart attack. If I was wearing a blood pressure cuff it would have blown off of my arm. Would it have been so bad to show one black male success story from start to finish?

Here is CNN’s official description of the show: “In Black in America: The Black Man, Soledad O’Brien evaluates the state of black men in America and explores the controversial topics of black men and fatherhood; disparities between blacks and whites in educational, career and financial achievement; and factors leading to the dramatic rates of black male incarceration. The documentary also examines the achievements of black men and the importance of the positive influences of black fathers.”

There are tens of thousands of black men who don’t have children out of wedlock. There are tens of thousands of black men who have children out of wedlock and take care of their children financially and are involved in their lives.

Some of CNN’s portrayal of black men included showing brothers married to white women, a marketing executive with mostly white friends and whose black friends say he’s not black enough, a lower-tiered rapper and a 32-year old high school graduate with some college finding a part-time job after months of searching.

The segment featuring the Reverend/Doctor/Professor Michael Eric Dyson started off well and ended with a negative showing his brother going back to jail cell to serve his life sentence. I know this is life for many folks in America. I can accept this. Let’s also show the other side. There are positive aspects of life for black men that were not shown. Let me repeat my earlier question:

Would it have been so bad for the show to have one segment featuring a black man without any negatives?

I’m assuming that CNN would argue that the segment featuring the brother who was an Assistant School Superintendent in Arkansas married to a Circuit Court judge was very positive. They had three sons. OK, let’s look at that segment through my lenses. They lived in a 6,000 sq. ft. home in a mostly white neighborhood. (I have no problem with that). One of the three sons was married to white woman, the other son had a white girlfriend and was involved in a shooting where he escaped jail time. When asked about the incident both the son and the father refused to discuss the matter. Again, that’s their choice. (I’m sure having a mother who is a judge and a brother who is a prosecutor didn’t hurt).

My main complaint has to do with the issue of balance in the coverage of the challenges facing black men. This show did not show the full range of black men in America and their families as they claimed in their promotional pieces that preceded the show. If they did, we would have seen more “positives” than “negatives.”

Having seen both shows, I saw a clear and consistent “common thread.” Every segment that started out with what appeared to be a “positive” story ended with a “negative” outcome.

Am I wrong on this?

The only segment that I could stomach was the segment with filmmaker Spike Lee who talked about the impact of the negative images of black men in Hollywood and his challenges of making films other than comedies that perpetuate negative stereotypes.

Let me state for the record that I applaud Soledad O’Brien for this effort. I believe that her intentions starting out were honorable, however, somewhere along the way either she and/or CNN got off track. This was not an accurate and full portrayal of life in Black America. It focused way too much on the negative aspects of black life for my tastes.

CNN Presents Black in America is the perfect argument for why we need strong black owned media outlets. Perhaps if there was a black owned media outlet with the capability and “reach” of a CNN a different story would have been told. It’s not good enough to have just the outlet. You have to have strong leadership willing to exercise courage to tell the whole truth. You need a company willing to resist the temptation to lean toward the negative and portray more of a balance of life in black America.

There was a time when we had such a media outlet, it was called BET. However, I don’t think the story would have been any different under the leadership of Bob Johnson. We need black owned media outlets willing to tell our story. Some will argue that Bob Johnson formed a film company to tell “our story. Yeah right. Let’s take a closer look at this argument.

This is the same Bob Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), who sold BET to Viacom, and became this nation’s first male black billionaire. You are correct. Johnson did form a film company called “Our Stories Films,” which debuted its first film on July 27, 2007, entitled Who’s Your Caddy?” starring actor/rapper Big Boi and Sherri Shepard. WTF?

Bob Johnson and Tracey Edmonds (the former Ms. Babyface) said they want to produce films that show black people in a positive light. So they give us Who’s Your Caddy? as their first film. (I stopped using the N-word. Where’s Jesse Jackson when you need him? Bob Johnson, talking down to black people, I’d like to …) “_________ Please!” Don’t start me cussing up in this camp.

This is Bob Johnson’s way of telling “our” story. Making a film that even Stevie Wonder could see that the characters in the film depict racially offensive stereotypes and the jokes are stupid and crass.

Folks, it is time for solutions. What are we going to do for ourselves to help break these cycles of violence, poverty and apathy?

A good friend of mine helped me calm down today and put this whole thing in perspective. He said to me, “Gary, the reason you’re upset is because you expected too much from CNN. CNN is a news organization that does not have the perspective to tell our story.” Thank you Janks Morton, you of all people should know “What Black Men Think.”

Am I being too hard or critical about the CNN series? What are your thoughts?

Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”

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59 Responses to “People Sound Off About The CNN Special “Black In America””

  1. indigoblu Says:

    Thanks…I honestly needed this reminder. I simply would have missed it had I not stumbled on your blog.

  2. I watched the first part of Black in America last night. That was some of the worst BS I have ever seen! Granted, it is an accurate portrayal of a segment of our community; but why is it that there was almost no focus on the achievements Black people have made. They could find a single mother of 5 (4 by the same guy she never married, 1 an adopted niece) who was getting evicted, a single father of 2 (who was also getting evicted, coincidence?), all kinds of stats on Black incarceration, stats on why Black women aren’t getting married, but they could only find 1 successful married couple that they barely discussed.

    In 2 hours of telling Black folks how bad we got it; they spent maybe 15mins (I might be exaggerating) on anything positive. By the way it looks like Richard Parsons, the BLACK Chairman of Time-Warner and Soledad’s BOSS apparently wasn’t available.

    Can anybody give me a different point of view? Hell I’m honestly hoping that I missed some message in the show other than “you Ns are just a bunch of losers”!

    Part 2 tonight is specifically about Black men. Given the way we’re usually portrayed in the media and the way the 1st part has gone, I assume I might end up shooting my TV by 11pm.

  3. I thought last night’s show was the equivalent of holding a mirror to the faces of some aspects of Black America. The show didn’t have enough balance for me. My initial reaction was, “Tell me something I don’t know.” I hate to sound like a broken record, but these issues are always a question of balance. Why weren’t there more positive stories? I’ve only seen one part of the series and like you, I am anxiously waiting to see how black men will be portrayed in tonight’s show. If tonight’s show is anything like last night’s show I’m not optimistic. I hope I’m wrong.

    So far this show has pointed out certain “realities” of black life in the United States of America. The question that is guaranteed after viewing the show will be: “Who’s reality?” The answer depends largely on your cultural conditioning and life experiences.

    My concern about this series and others like it, is that they do a fairly good job of pointing out the problems. Now what do we do about them? We need another series that specifically addresses possible solutions and specific steps. I applaud the show and the effort. A series like this makes it easier for us to have cross-cultural discussions about a topic that is not easily discussed. There were some feel good moments in the show that were certainly worth noting.

    Hey Carl, you mentioned Richard Parsons in your commentary. Parsons, a black man, although not shown in last night’s show was quoted in an interview with Newsday about the series. For those of you who don’t know, Richard Parsons is the Chairman of the Board of Time Warner, the parent company of CNN. Parsons told Newsday columnist Les Payne that he views the series as something other than a straight-up news effort.

    In discussing the series, according to Payne, Parsons went on “sliming African Americans’ struggle to achieve parity as a ‘paradigm of victimization.'”

    “It’s time to stop thinking in the old way and start thinking in the new way. Barack Obama is trying to get us to converse through this new paradigm,” Parsons said.

    Carl, don’t shoot your TV tonight (until after the show is over) and then log in tomorrow and share your insights and views on Part II.

  4. indigoblu Says:

    From what I saw on the program, they did go over positive aspects on the program. I wouldn’t say 15 minutes, but all the same there were very positive aspects. Can we ignore the bad in search of something good? Were you expecting an entire show dedicated to the positive aspects of black America when half of black America is, indeed struggling?

    Since you’ve already pointed out the negatives, I’ll point out the positives that I saw:

    The black family with both parents and 5 children, all of which they successfully sent to college, except one because she/he was not of age yet and the parents have their own family business.

    I remember them talking about a child who successfully made it out the “hood” and went to Julliard for dance and we all know Eric Dyson’s success story.

    I remember them talking about the rapid increase of black business (up 45%, I believe) in the last decade which often the media ignores.

    I remember them covering a large family who annually held family reunions, strongly stuck together and helped each other, and knew their family history tenfold.

    They talked about the large number of black sisters who hold a degree. They talked about the many intelligent, financially well off sisters who are doing well for themselves.

    They covered the 2 year experimental program in NY for less fortunate children which actually pays children to go to school and is designed to help motivate young black children in learning and give them a more promising future that would probably otherwise be bleak. So far it has proven to be a successful motivation tool for learning.

    As Blackman stated, I’d give the program a chance to play itself out before I denounce it. I’ll be tuning in tonight for the black men segment.

    Besides this, I was watching it with some family members (cousins, aunts)—some of whom fall into the category of single parent mothers and they were very pleased to have an open dialogue about these issues and it opened their minds to many other things mentioned on the program. I think overall, it was more helpful than harmful.

  5. Well stated Indigoblu. Great summary of the positive.

  6. So do you 2 work for CNN or are you just related to Soledad O’Brien?

  7. indigoblu Says:

    Sam:

    Neither. I’m just an average black female, with a college degree, and working on a professional degree.

    Why are you so upset? I’m not.

  8. indigoblu Says:

    Sorry…Carl 😀 I called you Sam.

  9. I am not really looking for a response or anyone to value my opinion, because God knows our struggles and how we have had to endure many persecutions and terror, it is his approval that I value and his alone.

    However, the segment was entertaining to say the least, and disturbing to see Michael Eric Dyson walk through Detroit in a city with a Black Mayor who cannot properly oversee his Public Works Department, to clean up the trash and vacant lots. Nevertheless, it goes to show that no matter how much money is poured into government agencies, and not for profit agencies, somewhere down the line of command and during the allocation of funds, the fleecing occurs. Privatization of Public Agencies has been a true enemy of the inner city residents. We pay taxes on every single thing we do and buy! Why cannot we have jobs to clean up our own streets? Do our own construction and maintenance? Pave our neighborhood roads? Teach our own children and etc… There are millions of us who can do a better job than the “time out lady”.

    Also, for there to be no grocery stores with fresh fruit and produce in Black inner city neighborhoods is sad. Why no Black owned grocers? I lived in LA during the Rodney King riots and one of the reasons why Blacks were so angry, is that Koreans owned 702 out of 705 Ma and Pa groceries and conveinence stores in South Central LA. Foreignors could get off the boat and go to their National Banks and get whatever monies they needed to start businesses in our communities, but when we attempted to borrow, funds were not available! Matter in fact, the black clergy have problems getting their congregations money back from bank deposits, when asking to borrow on certain community projects. The white man’s think tank organizations have always conspired to rip us apart no matter how much progress we made. Furthermore, white women were classified as a minority in the 70’s and take up most of the SBA funding today. Where does that leave the Black Man?

    Brothers, America is in for a rude awakening, God Almighty is not going to allow this oppression, genocide, pillaging and raping of the earth and human beings, who were created, in his likeness, to continue much longer. He will vindicate his name and his sovereignty! So, do not get discouraged for in Psalms 37 and 72 he promises an inheritance of the earth to the righteous and tells how his people are going to be provided for in his Kingdom! He said he would deliver the poor ones crying for help! Read Revelation 21, we will see the end of this system soon, it is falling hard and fast. So do not put your hope in it.

    These people who rule and control, have had their measure in full.
    The timeline of history is running out and they have had a chance to prove that they cannot rule themselves successfully apart from Jehovah. Now is the time, to open up your bibles and study, meditate and pray moreso than ever before, because the Great Tribulation is near at hand and the only way to survive is to flee from Babylon the Great into Jehovah’s Righteous Nation, then you will be granted protection and blessing!

    Whatever you do from this day forward, do it for the Glory of God! All we can do, is clean up our bodies, our minds and hearts and get ready to inherit the blessing, because “eye has not seen, nor has ear heard the things that God has prepared for those who love him!” What man has promised has not come true and any attempt to clean up the earth will fail as well. For every problem they think they correct, they create several more. Only Jehovah can restore the earth into Paradise conditions. They may be able to beautify their surroundings, but do not have the will to beautify ours.

    Tonight, we will see their portrayal of our condition. Remember, they crucified Jesus and he is our brother, our King and redeemer. They slayed our Prophets, killed our leaders and to say the least, raped our women. Don’t forget, they have slaughtered hundreds of millions around the globe! God is angry! Soon his Angels will execute judgement upon an ungodly world. Return to God, without delay!

    • It does one like myself a great deed to hear the words of those who are of the light which assures me in times of trial that i am not alone in this cold and lonely world, one in which only the black man has the fortune of the having the black mans experience and usually all others are only by-standers and are far short of truly understanding the pains one must endure throughout a life time…those fortunate to survive and maintain clarity and sound judgment. PEACE and Blessings!!!

  10. Fallon Massey Says:

    What a waste of time! The real problem is NEVER discussed.

    The real problem is simply that White People in America are afraid to compete with Africans. Africans don’t need their love, just a level playing field, and the rest will be history.

    You’ll see the same result we got when they leveled the field in sports… total domination by Africans. If Whites are so good, then why do they have to cheat.

  11. Fallon Massey Says:

    Any time you do something, you have to ask, what is the goal?

    What is the goal of this series? To ask Whites for help? To tell black people what they already know?

    I do know what the result will be. It will bind all of the whites that fear blacks the most, and those on the fence to get together to stop Obama.

    The advance of Blacks can ONLY hurt them in the short to mid term, and they aren’t in the mood to get hurt right now. So if we’re making noise now, they can only imagine what we’ll be demanding with a Black President.

    This is a White designed and promoted program. Liberals think that other Whites want to be fair like they see themselves. They’re WRONG!!!

  12. It amazes me how they never talk about how they have been conditioned to despise and fear us. They never admit their guilt. When other races mistreat us, all they do is mimmick the whites because they have gotten away with terror for so long. They never get to the root cause by making Americans own up to its evil ways. Whites have never openly denounced police brutaltity on telelvision news coverages. I have never seen or heard one white news correspondent cry out to his white brothers in police uniforms to stop profiling us and stop harrassing us. I believe the Police Chiefs across the land encourage it. Its almost as if they do not know right from wrong and because of media sensationalism it becomes an automatic thing to do. Its like their brains lock up and stop thinking about being fair and honest towards us. By the way, those taser guns should be banned.

    How many murders per minute do you see on television? How many times do you see a sex scene in the movies and on cable and network TV. Did’nt Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynnt start airing all of this filthy sex in the media. When whites portray sex, its somehow glorified, when blacks do, its evil. Nonetheless, to air filthy content is immoral regardless of who is portraying it. As long as we are portrayed as we are today, other people will never get to know our true nature. Absence from the drugs, alcohol and pornography we are wonderful human beings. When we choose to stop the self abuse and accept the fact that chasing waterfalls is futile, then we will begin to heal. LOVING GOD AND EACH OTHER MORE IS THE ANSWER TO OUR PROBLEMS!

    I hope that the brothers who control the rap industry will turn from their wicked ways and channel their energies into something more productive whereby creating jobs and opportunities for their generation of brothers and sisters. They have the power and the money to forge ahead in new industries and so do the black athletes and entertainers. The government is not going to grant our needs fully. Katrina was a perfect example.

    If things do change under Obama as President, then a score of beauracrats, legislators and government officials from coast to coast will have to be fired or resign, because change may not be in their hearts and it will take divine intervention for all of the rooted vestiges of evil to be removed from all sectors of society. America must take the lead in doing this, then the rest of the world will follow. No African person is free until we all can live without fear of terror, brutality, poverty and injustice on a global basis. I think it is too big of a task for man to accomplish alone!

  13. My opinion? I personally believe that CNN should not have had a host with a family full of Harvard University graduates, a father who worked as a Mechanical Engineering Professor, and a mother who was a French and English Teacher. I wish they would have had an African-American intellectual who has lived through the life of an average African-American in today’s society. No offense to Ms. O’Brien, but I’m sure they have someone else within CNN who could tell the story from OUR prespective in a way that isn’t too aggressive and would educate others a little more about ourselves.

    ALL IN ALL, I can’t really complain too much. Unfortunately, it’s better than anything we’ll ever find on BET now a days. Especially since the network was sold, the “E” in BET stands for Exploitation.

    UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL
    I Love Ya’ll

  14. indigoblu Says:

    OK. I can in no way say this was balanced in the light of positive and negative and the positives this time were a little bleak. Looking back, it seems as if the bottom line is this…although there are many black families/people/children who are doing well, we all struggle in some way or the other, simply because we are black. Surely, we weren’t expecting someone‘s story to be triumphant with no problems, unless it was half-told. Mostly because of poor race relations in America. The harsh reality is that the majority of us are not faring so well in many aspects.

    Yes…….yes…………….and yes….there are many successfully black people/families/children in black America and that’s a great thing, but the majority of us are struggling. Look, there’s no way to flip that sentence around, manipulate it, or whatever. It simply is what it is. That doesn’t mean it can’t change because it most defiantly can change—I just think most are looking in the wrong places for those changes—white America.

    When has white America ever gave a damn about the issues that affect the black community, our children, and our future generations? Exactly. Yes, there are social injustices all throughout the white “privilege” system of America—I’m far from ignorant about that. Things on that end, involving other people in fact, do need to change and hopefully they will change in time. However, if I stood around waiting on white America, I’d be putting the lives of many black children and future generations (as we have been for years) on the line because I am waiting on the world to change and not commanding change in myself and within the community that is affected.

    I’m a little confused though. It seems black people want to desperately improve their self-image and rightfully so. But….why are you all not mad and do something about crap like BET that promotes negative stereotypes and imagery of black people and actually claim it is black by labeling it Black Entertainment Television? A lot of black people watch this piously. How can one be mad about the images white America shows of black America when the images we show of ourselves are not much better?

    We, ourselves, often don’t show positive images of blackness. Why not be mad and do something about the fact that there are not enough positive, educational black shows and images on TV. Why not be mad that the rappers your sons or daughters listen to who are probably promoting the lifestyle they are choosing to live. Why not promote rappers who are talking about something, making changes, etc—who actually give a damn about the youth and state of black America? Why not boycott some of this crap?? I have been saying this for years…YEARS and I’m only 22. Why are older people not commanding this change in their lives and children? Simply put: I’m tired of black people pretending this crap doesn’t exist, and I’m tired of them acting as if we have no part in making things better than what they are for us presently.

    We simply can not afford to play the “blame game” any longer–even though they (white America/government) are part of the blame-, not if we care about the future of our people. If we don’t care and take action, who will?………..no one. Acknowledging both extremes are important, but let’s not neglect the one we actually have some personal control over, and it’s rather obvious that many have.

    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

    There are things that we, as a people, have the individual power to change on an individual level to better ourselves, children, and strengthen our communities—yes, especially those in the inner city where it would have the greatest effect.

    I often find myself daydreaming about the days when it MEANT something to be black; Tupac said it best: “I remember Marvin Gaye, he use to sing to me, he had me feeling like BLACK was the thing to be”;where we were united with each other. “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud!” I think that is my era, maybe I was reincarnated, but that’s the hope and love I have for my people, but they lack the same hope and love for them selves, and it’s very disappointing.

    What happen to when we ALL use to respect eachother and respect ourselves and respect our women, respect our elders, without a doubt…respect the family, and without a doubt respect the church? That fire is gone and we are shattered in mind and body–where is the strong black spirit that has endured us all these years?

    Now I am not saying that they had everything all figured out because they didn’t but they wanted better for themselves, and not only did they want better…they took action to make it better.

    They protested, they rallied, they boycotted, they worked hard, they helped each other, they respected each other. What happen to having guns as a means of self defense (Black Panthers) and protecting our people? . Now we tote guns as if we have the right to take someone’s life without our own being threaten. The gang that was first formed to protect our people now murder our people via drugs and guns in cold blood on the streets.

    We’ve always made our own way, but now it seems like we are just taking any ol’ way. We have forgotten who we are, and who we are not. We are not just descendents of slaves. Who we are is a people who have tremendous strength, love, and creativity. Where is the flame? Did someone forget to pass the torch or did it simply burn out?

  15. Black Man in America Says:

    If I had to write a summary over what I saw it would be. Most black people are uneducated and lazy people who have multiple kids by different partners. The men usually leave the woman who must now take care of the child alone while he travels off to prison. While in prison, some men get their associates degree while others get out and go back in for the same crimes. Although their are exceptions, these black people are said to be “acting white”. In conclusion, if you want to be black in America you must drop out of school, get addicted to or sell drugs and allow your children to follow the same process so they will be “acting black” instead of being a sellout.

  16. indigoblu Says:

    I guess that is problem. I do not care how white America sees me as a black individual. The question is how do I see MYSELF and how do I see black America as a black American and are those things that I see acceptable and progressive for my children and future generations of my people? I’m not worried about what other peoples’ ills and concerns are about black Americans when they themselves are not black; I’m concerned about the next generation and future generations of black Americans because I am black.

  17. I hope the following message helps all of those who are searching for the truth! The following was extracted from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. Matthew 5-7. Jesus’ Sermon On the Mount

    “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belong to them.

    “Happy are those who mourn, since they will be comforted .

    “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.

    “Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, since they will be filled.

    “Happy are the merciful, since they will be shown mercy.

    “Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God.

    “Happy are the peaceable, since they will be called sons of God.

    “Happy are those who have been persecuted for righteousness sake, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.

    “Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake. Rejoice and leap for joy, since your reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you.

    “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its strength, how will its saltness be restored? It is no longer usable for anything but to be thrown outside to be trampled on by men. …”

    I encourage every one to continue in Matthew Chapter 5, verse 14 for there you will find the lessons that Jesus spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount. Continue on and read Chapter 6, then 7

    He speaks about, just to name a few! Adultery, divorce, swearing. He tells us to “Love our enemies” and offers the “Model Prayer”.

    He says, that we would find “true treasures” in heaven and spoke of how thieves would rob us of our treasures here on earth.

    He went on to say that if we kept “seeking first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these [other] things will be added to you.

    The remainder of Chapter 7 is there for all of us to devour, there is no greater food than God’s word. A daily portion of it will edify and make you stronger; to be able to deal with this system of things. Jesus said, “if you remain in my word, you truly are my disciples.” That is the key people, you must follow his commands. John 17:3 says, “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one who you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”

    Jesus said “feed my sheep” and search for the lost ones. Gather your loved ones who have gone astray and help them by delivering this message!

    God’s Kingdom is near! Read Matthew Chapters 23, 24 and 2 Timothy the 3 Chapter. Then you will see how urgent it is to do God’s will. – 1 Timothy 2:4

    1 Corinthians 6:9 -11 reads; “What! Do you not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom. And yet that is what some of you were……..” Continue reading!

    May God Bless!

  18. Jeff the Interpreter Says:

    So, the sound track for last night’s segment should have been Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues”. Ya’ll know the line: “Makes me wanna Holla throw up both my hands, yeah! make me wanna throw up my hands”. I was talking to my co-worker Thursday morning and I told her that I was anticipating the same ole-same ole, and she cautioned me to be cool and not let it reflect who I am. I knew that already but it was nice for her to be concerned about my self esteem.

    My analysis of the CNN piece on Black people was that it was dasterly, I felt from the division of the issues that Black men was not going to fair well. Wednesday night: Black Women and Family, how nice of them to link Black women and family together in one night. Lord knows we can’t spend too much time on Black women and surely we can’t be expected to pull much from the Black family in about an hour; but the Black man!!!! Heck yeah, give him all night to pick out prison stats, college enrollment stats, absentee father stats, high school drop out stats, fatherless boys stats, hmmm oh yeah, drug use and drug career stats. Let me crunch the stats, hmm, 2a + (1-3) – 7(b) – 12 (4 + 8) – ab + bc = whaddaf*ck. I’m tired, you must not know bout me, you must not know bout ME!

    I knew it, I was hot, I went to bed, yelled at my wife, slept on my stomach, went in the kitchen, (note to self: must pick up some Hennesey immediately) came back in my bedroom and turn that shiggity off.

    Soledad, sold out. Sorry sista girl but “you must not know bout me!!!!”

    Now let do a real documentary on say ….. oh I know, Whiteness, no not White people or whitie, but the institution of White, the color of power, entitlement, access, and authority. Let’s define it for the Europeans, the Asians, the Pacific Islanders, the Latinos, the Hispanics and all the other nationalities that had to give up their place of origin in order to enjoy the unfettered fruits of this nation. Let’s study the organization who were created because of the power of Whiteness. Let’s analyze why we have the American this and the National that. Let’s ask Hollywood, why only White kids can love a pig, whale, dog, dinosaur, lion, tiger and bear: Oh my!!. Let’s ask Hollywood why super heros have to be a White man in a costume, bitten by a bug, come from another planet, turn green with rage, ain’t you heard of a Black man in rage???

    Let’s talk about how some organizations had to add in their bylaws during reconstruction era that an eliglible member had to be White and then be a dues paying – card carrying participant. Let’s study the promotion and commerialization of Whiteness to the extent that any foreigner has to only be in the country for …. say … twenty minutes before they realize that they can treat Black folk one way and White folk another.

    Let’s really study Whiteness, White family, White power, White superiority, White poverty, White ignorance, White priviledge, White masculinity and feminity. Explain why it was easy to re-mix King Kong and in the scene with old boy: The Ape Crusader had to protect miss White and Blonde against not one but two Tyrannasauruses. Who in that show down, the lizard with the measureble brain capacity of a pigeon, looked at Miss White and Blonde and decided that, hmmm, it would be worth it to take on a 300 ton gorilla?

    Let’s study Whiteness in America that makes it possible and probably that the most inept and ill-prepare person in the world is eligible for the highest office in the land, but totally negates the smartest candidate in forty years.

    Soledad, let’s study white, the smell of white, the touch of white, the sight of white, taste of white and the sound of white. Let’s do the research, collect the data, follow some White folk around for the day, see Jane run, run run run, see Dick, run Dick, run. Let’s go back and find out why Aliens from another planet had to be White, why cavemen had to be White, why even Jesus had to be White.

    Let’s devote hmmm say one night on White women, one night on White families and then one night on White men. Let’s bring out psychologist, behaviorist, counselors, journalist, professors and doctors. After we’ve done studing Whiteness then come back and tell me what I need to know about being Black, on second thought save the film, pull back the mics, cancel the syrupy music, I already know!!!!

  19. I can appreciate the effort…but I question the intent and more over the content.

    All in all, it was a glorifed channel 2 news story, Black women are struggling unwed single mothers who go to church as the only means to feel better about themselves. And black men split their time between denying themselves all forms of education and getting n trouble with the law while abandoning their kids. BTW there are some good black people who live finish school, have their own businesses and go to college, but the stay in the suburbs with all the other “proper” folks.

    Oh yeah, they are sick alot to with aids, cancer.. hypertension and such because either they are predispose to it or they can’t or don’t bother to look after themselves or each other.

    There were some interesting facts and points of views that need to be said and addresses but you had to shift through the endless stereotypes to recognize them. And though there was some good content, the sterotypes kept coming.

    There was so much that was missing. I have a son that does not have his biological father in his life, never the less he has a father…another black man stepped up. I am not rich, but I am not in danger of losing my home . And that goes for most of my peers, my family and my community. Some of are struggling a bit more than others, but in this economy, does that really come down to black and white? There is a wider gap between what is considered middle class and what is considered poverty and I think most of us, especially in urban areas, fit that mood.

    I can say I viewed the entire program completely open, but there were things that settle in my mind. First, the desolate music and the grim montage of a “black neighborhood.” It was a impoverished neighborhood which is what most impoverished neighborhoods, no matter what race inhabits it, tends to look like. But for Black in America, that is the depiction.

    It is absolutely true that living in urban areas is harder, it is also happens to be that most urban areas are majority black. Now that may be by design or whatever the common theory is. But I am a Detroiter, an urban city dweller. And I am a black woman. I am not totally without the means to send my child to a charter or private school, I can choose to move out to suburb with better resources or whatever. But I am not, and it not because I am black and I can’t . But for Black in America, that is the depiction.

    I simply don’t believe I should have to. And I am not at all against those that move or send their children to whatever schools they choose. I would be lying if I said that I don’t struggle with that decision every August with the future of my own kids’ education. But I am a fighter. I believe in accountablity and responsiblity for all of us, so here I am taking the action I can to change the lack of resources and hope. That is what Black in America means for me.

    I think never the less, it was worth watching for at least that alone…we can see what an actual repetuable media source defines as the “Black Story”.

    There was so good information in it and if you are not already aware of whats going on…then it was worth watching.

    However, if you read any black magazine, such as Black Enterprise or visit Black America Web, you would have recieved much of the same information that was packed into a two 80 min programs(a lot of commericals and poetry sessions) that the CNN marketing department spent so much time and energy on calling it the must see documentary that would be so impactful.

    I absolutely agree…in fact…the following is what I posted to several of my blogs this morning.


    I will credit CNN this… It caused for dialogue. I have had, and heard, double the usual conversations about this issue. And that is a one more step of the many we all need to take.

    IF you have comments…please feel free.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    I am a black woman, not married but in a relationship with a man who has felony convictions a d-boy if you must label it, I am educated, have no children, and a decent job. I grew up in the “hood” in a single parent household with my little cousin who’s father died from a drug overdose and also sold drugs and whose mother was a former prostitute. I have seen my father 4 times in 19 years. You complain about the negative stories that were broadcast on Black in America, but have you been there yourself. I fit so many of the statistics in the program that it brought me to tears. BUT GOD! Are you giving back? How can you complain about your conditions when you won’t recognize the issues at hand. It’s like in a 12 step program, the first step to recovery is admitting you’ve got a problem. Black America has a problem, so deeply rooted that we need help. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe white America is doing something right? The “sell out” is doing something right? The married couple is doing something right? We as a people have fallen right into the trap that Satan has set out for us. Don’t you know his mission is to kill steal and destroy. That includes hope too people. I honestly think that we as a people are not as strong as we set out to be, and Willie Lynch set the fool proof method of how to ruin an entire people. In most instances we tear each other down, either out of fear that we will not remain at a higher level or fear of failure completely. It’s time to change, and stop killing and hurting ourselves. As you could see from the program we are denied many rights that others have, but it is up to each individual to make the choice to succeed in life. Encourage your brother and your sister, help them. If you see somebody trying and they don’t quite got it give them a hand. We are lsot people and it’s time to change. I am tired of being the last to be picked and having ot try harder than the average to get ahead. A lot of this we brought on ourselves black people. I love my people, every hue and tone. Stop blaming the white man we got to do better.

  21. Dear Anonymous:

    I am certainly not diminishing in any way your reality. I commend you for making the choices that brought you this far. You asked if I am giving back. Absolutely! I am actively involved in my community and have been for the past 20 years. As the father of two sons, I am actively involved in their life, their school. I work with children in the hood some of whom have had to navigate experiences and circumstances that are challenging to say the least.

    I don’t deny that people are living this way, I simply want a better balance of “our” story to be told. If you’re going to tell the story tell the good, the bad and the ugly.

    I hope you don’t think that I’m one of the one’s blaming the “white man.” This is not about blame, this is about change. We need to look to ourselves to meet the challenges before us. This is not an anti-white message, this is more of a let’s hold everyone accountable and move forward in an effort to have healthy family and communities.

  22. iteachtem Says:

    I’ve been reading the responses to the CNN report and find them very interesting. I am particularly nonplussed by the ones that have that knee jerk reaction of blaming the ills of our community on white America – evidently ALL of white America.

    I am a middle school English teacher at an urban school in New England. I see black youth in various stages of development every day. What struck me the most from CNN’s report was a small phrase – education is not a black thing. Unless I find that rarest of rare household (single parent or not) that values and promotes education, the prevailing message I hear from black kids is that being smart is absolutely NOT cool. They want nothing to do with school, education, smart, etc. because it dramatically reduces their street cred. In certain instances it can actually be dangerous. If the word got out that one of their “boys” actually made some academic effort it would definitely end up in a verbal assault and there could very well be physical reprisals. Please know that there are many of us black/of color educators who are more than willing to make the extra effort to help our young brothers and sisters. We will (and do) go far beyond our required duties to help these students (who are often 3 or 4 years below grade level). But how are we to fight a battle that is so entrenched. I honestly don’t know what happens in elementary school to make it this bad. It is an epidemic.

    There is one very important issue that was not addressed in the CNN report which I see as the “essential question” behind our black men as fathers. Here it is: why are so many of our young black men who are so woefully unequipped to be fathers becoming fathers? Again, being an educator, I see far too much sexual activity at the MIDDLE SCHOOL level. I am convinced we are putting the cart before the horse by having long, intelligent discussions about why black men aren’t parenting propely. Since neglected children are here, yes, that needs to be addressed, however, not having twice as much dialogue about keeping young brothers and sisters from becoming parents in the first place should be the priority. And before someone out there rails about the numbers of white unwed teens, I DON’T CARE. That is not my concern! My concern is the young black students I see who have never been to a dentist, are constantly hyper because they don’t have proper nutrition, can’t write even the most basic sentence correctly, and have parents who dress them fly from head to toe but have never bought them a book which is why neither can read Those are the people I care about! Again, the priorities are all wrong!

    From where I stand, the black community could use a huge attitude adjustment. Education works, no matter what! If teachers don’t like you, so what! If you sit in class and don’t bother anyone, pay attention, and do your work you can’t help but learn. We MUST help parents understand how important they are to their children’s education. No Child Left Behind must morph into No Parent Left Behind. Students have absolutely stopped respecting educators. I honestly don’t care whether adults return the favor. If our students begin calming down in great numbers, administrators will be forced to listen. Believe me – I am in the schools every day. Respectful students have an enormous amount of power, and respectful students in numbers are a force to be rekoned with. If our students stopped swearing at each other and especially adults (oh yes, it happens A LOT – a few months ago I was told I’m f—in’ ignorant, one student told his teacher to suck his d***, such is the legacy of our students), if they stopped disrespecting each other with nigga that and nigga this, if their parents were given the resources to advocate on their behalf and demand extra help, and if everyone dug deep and found the work ethic we had that got us through slavery and afforded us the civil rights we enjoy today, maybe, just maybe CNN wouldn’t have had the material for their report.

  23. Fallon Massey Says:

    Jeff the Interpreter, you got it right!

    White people are the ones that don’t understand all the “Affirmative Action” they get, and how they cheat(fail to compete) at every level of life.

    I wish the series started out with, FIRST, let’s define who Africans, and who Europeans really are. Africans have not only been civilized longer than anybody else, Africans have been civilized longer than everybody else combined.

    Europeans were the LAST group of people to be civilized, and Europeans are the only group that’s not completely modern human, they have Neanderthal heritage in them, and that’s not true of any other group.

    If you believe that God created man, then the only man that could be, as confirmed by DNA, is an African man. DNA proves that one African man fathered the entire human race, so we ARE the ONLY children of God.

    Well, I could go on, but I’ve got to get some other things done.

  24. iteachtem:

    You said a mouthful. As someone who has a front row seat, I respect your perspective. We need more people like you. You are right when you talk about the responsibility of the parents. Many of our parents “don’t know what they don’t know.” They are the root cause of many of the problems with elementary and middle school aged children.

    I interact mostly with kids at the high school level. I know of a single mom who consistently pulls her kid out of school and takes him to the mall to get the new Jordan shoes. She brings him to school late and signs him in so that jack ass can come to school looking fly. He’s not the problem–she is. At that time the kid was holding down a 1.8 GPA. His mother never shows up for Parent-Teacher night or any other activity. As my friend Jam Donaldson would say, “We gotta do better.”

  25. Jeff the Interpreter Says:

    Thanks Fallon;

    Plan and simple, we don’t know enough about other cultures and other struggles. It wasn’t until I visited the Ann Frank House in Amsterdam that I could appreciate the devastation suffered during World War I. The cramp quarters, the fear, the denigration was astounding. The Trail of Tears for the Apache Nation, The genocidal civil war between the Tutsis and the Hiutus (pardon the spelling) and the anguish of rejection and dejection of homosexuals and their families and church. Everyone’s has walked a mile in my shoes, let’s put on some other footwear and take the journey.

  26. blackfujones Says:

    We needed this just like a jena incident,a michael bell incident,to create a more universal dialogue about americas dirty secret which is the horrible race relations between black folk and the United States “not jus white folks,the United States”. I want people to ease off of cnn just a tad bc they are a white owned media outlet who really only had soledad trying “imo”to give the discussion some life so we can continue to converse about the social ills n our community. I live n chicago where its a second war going on and its on the southside n westside and it aint in iraq or afghanistan. So I didn’t care whether cnn,msnb or god help me fox news broadcasted this. Just as long as black folks kept the discussion up n white folks n others wanting to inquire n engage into more discussions in regards to us uniting.

  27. i thank cnn for all their time money and energy that they put into this “black in america” series, however i didn’t really get what the objective was. these are the same instances we see on news everyday and they are portrayed the same way, so i guess black in america didnt have much of an impact, the stories weren’t really telling it all, and the most important questions weren’t asked?? neither where any answered? so i don’t know what CNN was addressing.

    the most important question would have been WHY ARE THINGS THE WAY THEY ARE?? not giving us statistics of HIV, FATHERLESS FAMILIES, CRIME AND DRUGs, because at the end of the day these statistics didn’t really address the problem. i personally think people who’ve have more melanin in their skin are viewed differently because of miscommunication–the bottom line is human communication..

    even the “black” community doesn’t understand itself that’s why we cannot solve these issues within our communities. for example the reason as to why the “black” males turned to NBA and RAP MUSIC as well as wearing over sized clothes and sagging pants, in my view is because they are sending a message to us, a message that we aren’t quite getting. in my view i would think all they are saying is if i cannot get in to school because of my skin color, or get in but get teased, heckled and treated like dirt, i might as well find another way of achieving in life, i’ll use my talents, my music, my dancing skills to be able to live happily, thats all these people are saying.

    i obviously disagree with the drug use, violence, degradation and “sexploitation of women in these music videos ” but my point is these black boys and men are trying tobe “cool” in their own way. given the history of Africans in america they are finding a sense of worth in something else other than class room education. just as it was prestigious for Caucasian people to be educated and it still is, the slave and his offspring wouldn’t attend class, the effect is “i-the Negro come up with my own way of speaking which is termed “grammatically wrong” i mean even presidents at international summits can barely speak English.

    the point is communication, don’t judge me by the way i talk or or look judge me by my potential, and if u understand what i am saying then that’s the point of grammar. it’s only a problem because you want it to be a problem, because you make it and see it as a problem. in todays society white kids now wanta do what the black kids do, and the black kids are constantly expected to match up to the white kids regardless of economic and social barriers, so it’s quite a mess..” the message i get from them when, they dress this way and speak differently which most people think is “grammatically wrong English is, given the history of the African Americans “if i am treated differently then i am different and this is how i be” as simple as that, instead if all americans cared about human potential and stopped judging people by color maybe things would be better.

    communication is very important, i guess “black” people are treated different because in the west the colour black means BAD..we often here and use statements like, “it was a DARK cold night, it was DARK and ugly, we were thrown into this filthy DARK dungeon, it was my DARKESt hour, my DARKEST moments,” satan is the lord of the DARK,”.. in contrast we also use statements like, the angels are light, it was bright and beautiful,” and we do not realise the implications of this, how such statements affect our everyday interactions with people ,if every bad or negative act or thing is described as dark or black then there’ll be tendency for human beings to relate to all dark things as bad things and see them in a negative way including dark skinned people, because even the words themselves are a problem, and that spells out M-I-S-C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N…i am african but am not black ..i aint black like ur shirt or your shoes or your hair, just like your not white like snow…the series shoulda have been tiltled the THE AMERICAN…..period…only it’s content would really speak out on what section of the american population they were addressing. and i have a question, why at this point in tyme?? is it because of the bi-racial candidate who has some drops of african blood runinng thru his veins???? if it was a latino, a red indian, or east indian would CNN have had a series on the lives of latin-americans, or asian -americans??

    i was expecting to see, sean bell’s family, some to speak up for amadou diallo, martin luther kings family….where was all these people in the series?? soledad was talkin about setting examples, the examples are everywhere i didn’t hear about charles drew, who invested the blood bank or dr. daniel hale williams who performed the first open heart surgery, these examples are everywhere everyday but we choose to show the drugs the guns and poverty and disease, , and don’t get it wrong i aint saying the news shouldn’t report on crime or anything but lets be reasonable, portray the good and the bad not what’s happening which is every time and most of the time when reporting about an african if it ain’t sport then it’s negative, until america acknowledges the truth and the truth of which is that america is racially stratified, the laws are biased and people are stripped of their rights and abused by their own elected government only and only then will we move forward, america needs to acknowledge the racial differences and cultural diversity but not perpetuate them, simply acknowledge and appreciate the difference..

  28. ZuluWarrior Says:

    I feel this was one big ratings scam.There were a lot of important issues that weren’t discussed. Al ot of Whites and other races in America are oblivious as to were the poverty,guns drugs,and broken families in the inner cities came from. A lot of non black people will walk away thinking Blacks created those problems.Theres no talk of Jim Crow laws,Iran Contra,Rico laws which were created for the Mafia being applied to regular street dealers,excessive racial profiling amongst police officers against Blacks,unfair sentencing guidelines,three strike laws,unfair loan lending practices and a whole host of other issues.I saw a special investigation on my local news a few years back on how some fortune 500 companies HR departments were instructed to throw away resumes of job applicants whose names sounded Black.Theres a lot of denial of how uneven the playing field was.Blacks had to basically try to play catch up to whites in a very hostile environment that didn’t favor them. After slavery when Blacks started to have success what happened?????

    Whites hatred for Blacks lead them to burn there towns down and lynch anyone they could find causing the ones who managed to escape to start all over.That underlying hatred is still around but not as open as it was back then.Its more subtle now.They could have shown Blacks who succeeded and all the adversity’s they had to deal with.

    I think Soledad is suspect anyway. I really question her own experiences in being Black in America. She just comes off as if she has no clue whatsoever cause if she did she would have done a much better job.

    I don’t think she has any love for brothers. Someone should have asked her did she ever date within her race. That Black men segment was a hit job. I won’t be surprised if other races look at us with even more disgust. The 2 brothers whose parents moved them to the nice house amongst the whites who cried that Black men called them out on talking white and the older one tried equating the accusations he got with him being successful were just full of it. They were accused of talking because of the tone of there voice not because they spoke proper. No one ever says Roland Martin, Michael Dyson or Barack Obama TALK WHITE. Black and white people have a different tone of voice when they speak and those 2 brothers happened to have a white one because where they grew up influenced it.

    The white RnB singer and the rapper Paul all grew up around Blacks and you can here it in their tone of voice. They sound like brothers. People who are accused of talking white mistake speaking proper with the speaking tone of their voices. I was very disappointed in this series and I’m not looking forward to any more CNN series.

  29. ZuluWarrior Says:

    sorry for not breaking that rant in paragraphs.I didn’t intend to write that much but I had to vent.I accidentally hit the submit button before I could go back over it.

  30. Please note: There are only two classes of people, the wicked and the righteous. You can find them in every tribe, tongue and nation. They are rich and poor, young and old, educated and non educated, deaf & dumb and legally blind. No race of people is better than the other. Each major race of people has had a chance to rule, starting with the Egyptians in the beginning and now the British-American world powers at the end. An 8th King is mentioned in the Book of Daniel and it is to rule for only one hour. Mankind has tried every form of government imaginable and all, to some extent, have failed to equally distribute the natural resources and food stuffs of the earth. The God of Heaven promised in his word, that he “would set up a Kingdom that would never be brought to ruin, And the Kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms and it itself would stand until times indefinite.” – Read Daniel 2:44. Soon, we will see this prophecy come true. Man cannot direct his own steps! Theocracy will soon be restored earthwide!

  31. If you’re looking for a “positive” out of all of this, you could say that the CNN special has served as a stepping stone allowing a wider pool of players into the discussion. Critical conversations that lead to actions are the first steps to getting us to take responsibility for our behavior, hold others accountable for their role and begin to move forward. No progress can be made without acknowledging the factors on all sides such as institutional racism, white privilege, our inability to stop making excuses, consistently making poor life choices, “lowering the bar” to make us feel better and the inability to meet and beat the challenges in a strategic way, just to name a few.

    The task before is daunting, but not impossible. We must tackle these challenges incrementally and gain confidence with each success along the way. We cannot wait for other people or institutions to help us. We have to take charge of our circumstances and strategically use what we have to our advantage. It can be done.

  32. I felt that it was detailed in some areas, but it could have dealt with other issues like the hip-hop generation, our fears, behaviors, mindsets, things that we have that cause us as a people to feel they way we do about white America and the world in general. Also, solutions are needed in this look at the African race in America. We are truly more than just rappers, ballers, thugs, whores, and gangsters that our music and media portray us to be.

    That is something that we need to shown, not just to other races, but to ourselves, a mirror to our faces, to reach beyond the limited facets we place on ourselves, as well as the world.

    My story is I am a black man in Atlanta, Ga. who has faced the realities of black on black violence, gang membership, family closeness, police brutalities, unfair treatment from both whites and blacks, and a hope and vision for the day when my people will stand up, carry the torch left by the generations before them and seek to embrace the past of Africa, as well as the darkness of the passage that has scarred them. The day when “know thy self” will be more than just a phrase and love will be more than just a “family affair”. I hope this documentary will inspire all, both old and young, man and woman, light and dark to examine themselves and discuss in full detail what blackness means to them and in comparison, the world around them. I am college educated and married to a beautiful black woman living in a 5 bedroom home at the age of 34. My story is one of hardships, but unlike the stories shown, I have a positive outcome ( I guess I should be dead or in jail to be on the show). Can we get some positivity in here please! maybe the answer to this issue is for us to tell our story, made by us, for us, with our resources.

    hope other documentaries will follow.

  33. iteachtem Says:

    Kudos Black Man, my feelings exactly. We have the numbers, so be definition, we have the strenghth. If we did it once, no twice, we can do it again.

    I’m watching the comments come in fast and furious about balance in the media and the inequity of it all. Well there isn’t balance, and all the complaining isn’t going to change that. I have conversations with my students all the time about the lack of fairness in “our” world. It is what it is, and only WE, all of us, can change that. What gets my goat is the monumental amount of time we waste talking and arguing AMONGST OURSELVES about it. By now it is abundantly clear that we have a consensus – it isn’t fair. That is what I tell my students – we can have that conversation for the next 13 minutes or the next 13 years. I prefer the former, because it leaves more time to deal with the reality that he/she has to work 3 times as hard to be as good as his/her white counterpart. Then we get to work, and with a cooperative student, miracles happen; and not just a few, many. And it doesn’t take years, it takes one school year for unbelievable progress. The point is that we stopped talking and got to work!

    We simply must stop complaining, practice some acceptance, take responsibility, and act! Blaming others makes us appear weak and ineffective. All of the infighting in the black community only serves to strengthen perceptions that we are apparently unable and unwilling to develop a common set of goals and work for them at any cost barring crime or violence. If every hard working, decent black person who is complaining about not being fairly portrayed went out Monday morning and signed up to become a Big Brother or Big Sister to a struggling black youth, unimaginable miracles would happen, and quickly. What we must do is please stop the rhetoric, because truth be told, that is what it is. It is ultimately useless to the young brother or sister who this very minute is living a deplorable life.

    As for black cultural norms in language versus the Queens English – at this point, given the prevailing power structure, the Queens English is it, like it or not. If, at some future point, black cultural norms become the basis for the prevailing power structure, then that will be the basis for grammatical usage. By the way, this conversation may soon be moot given the proliferation of computer speak (u, 2, y, lol, wuz, cuz). Check he blogs, chat rooms, and emails, it isn’t far off; lol.

    In the end, the solution will NOT come showering down like fairy dust from an awakened and enlightened white community that all of a sudden realizes all the wrong they have done. The solution can only come from our community rallying and sacrificing for one another. And lest anyone question my motives, please know that I gave up a lucrative legal career to become a teacher. I want no kudos or accolades. I’m happy; I’ve never looked back. Now I am finished talking so I can get back to this work.

  34. indigoblu Says:

    Anonymous:

    I simply applaud you for your candid honesty.I really appreicate minds like these. Her is a sister who lived it and knows it, and she’s not mad, she is tired of the BS. Let me put it this way: it’s like pointing fingers at the dad for not being there or the mom for opening her legs in the first place—and in the process FORGETTING about the child, in this case FORGETTING about the situation at hand.

  35. indigoblu Says:

    teachtem :

    I agree with you 100%. I will just say that they should pick their teachers wisely. If you want quality in the educational system of these children when the government simply doesn’t care, so they underfund the school and the overall quality of education is dire, then it comes down to the teachers and their quality.

    And before someone out there rails about the numbers of white unwed teens, I DON’T CARE. That is not my concern!

    You hit the nail firmly on the head. I really need some of my people to get off of the “pointing fingers” game like children. We are black people and you should care about your people’s issues, stop feeling like you are being belittled because it is what it is! I truly wish the minority of us were the majority and the majority the minority, or better yet the minute, but the FACT remains the majority of us are struggling, PERIOD.

    White people are not struggling with the same things we are struggling with; they have their own set of problems. Let them deal with it! Let us deal with ours, because if we don’t, no one will. Wake up and get over your hurt pride; we have bigger fish to catch.

  36. indigoblu Says:

    BlackMan:

    OK, I was about to call you out because of recent comments until I ran across your last comment, which let me know you were thinking more clearly.

    No progress can be made without acknowledging the factors on all sides such as institutional racism, white privilege, our inability to stop making excuses, consistently making poor life choices, “lowering the bar” to make us feel better and the inability to meet and beat the challenges in a strategic way, just to name a few.

    I agree with this entirely because you addressed the issues, which many try to excuse away by saying there are blacks who are doing well and it is not balanced (that is true but they are the minority and therefore, in reality is not balanced) or whites who are doing wrong too (not a black problem).

    I’d like to add that lowering the bar: food stamps, welfare etc. are all examples of this. They seem like easy solutions or fixes to problems but they are really not helping us, it’s doing more harm than good in most cases. In most cases it prolongs our dependence on it and even increases it in some cases—when it should only be a temporary thing or not used at all. Why work when I’m getting money for free?—-even though the money I’m getting is not much. The food I get is with food stamps I get for free and therefore I get food for free—but the food I get is limited and usually not all that healthy.

    It promotes the idea that we have to depend on these things to make it and therefore many rarely ever become independent again, if they ever were in the first place.

    I like to use this analogy about the monkey and an apple. In some Asian countries, the way they catch a monkey is to put something like an apple in a hole just small enough for the monkey to get his/her hand through and when the monkey attempts to get the apple out, he/she is stuck. Stuck for no other reason because he/she will not let the apple/banana go.

  37. Indigoblu:

    I see I just missed being called out. Whew! Thinking more clearly? OK, I can take that. This is such a complex issue that to grasp the magnitude of the challenges and where to start, makes one’s thought processes weary. We can’t quit and we won’t quit. We owe too much to those who we are responsible and to those who blazed the trail before us. A lot of folks are talking about this on The Daily Voice (www.thedailyvoice.com).

    For those of you who missed the series, CNN is re-running both episodes back-to-back tonight beginning at 8:00 PM ET and ending at midnight.

  38. indigoblu Says:

    😀 It’s all out of love, Blackman, and nothing but.
    I was hoping it would get more people talking. Thanks for the site; I’m going to check it out.

  39. Mr. Bromont Says:

    Well, well, well!!!! Where was CNN when it comes to the intelligent intellectual talk and post from a good many of my sisters and brothers here in response to Mr. Gary Johnson’s comments and article here? By the way Mr. Johnson again I compliment you on your eloquence of how you write and speak here on your perspective. There are so many of you here who are talking and saying and writing and posting here that I have a high regard and respect to you from me[Mr. Bromont]. There are several of you who have hit the nail on the head with the hammer of what could be the solving of a lot of our community problems. If CNN had come around and talked to you sisters and brothers here doing your post I think it would have been the Black in America that a lot of black people would have liked to see and hope they would learn from.

    Indiglou ; Rel ; Jefftheinterprter ; anonymous ; Blackman ; iteachtem each and everyone of you have got very good thinking that I [Mr. Bromont] concur with greatly. All of you are the ones that the community could use more of. What each and every one of you has posted here is what a Blackman like me calls good learning from. Gammaman I am with you also, because as you speak I am one who has that dream of our future putting all of us together regardless of how different we think and do. I am from the Watts/Willowbrook area of south central Los Angeles. This is where my upbringing was for me and all my siblings. We had parents that made us go to school, when I said made us go to school, it was not to be just showing up at school. They made it clear it was about going to school and getting education. They monitored our schooling through us and our teachers. We could not come home with bad report cards or you had to answer for that with both my mother and father. They had good rapport with our teachers from the elementary school until we graduated from high school. There was strong discipline from both parents as a team together on all of us growing up. My parents have passed on for sometime now, but the results of their children were to be proud of up to their dying day. 4 out of their 6 children went on to get college degrees and successful careers, the other 2 have had successful careers also. No drug addicts bums jailbirds not a one us. The point being here is to look back at my parents and now understand what they were doing. They were part of the preceding generation that did their best in raising the succeeding generation to do their best. Iteachtem your name makes me think of something I heard from back in the day as I was growing up ”each one teach one”. Our community needs a lot of help from those of you who have posted comments here. If that starts to happen then we will not care what the white people of our society or CNN has to say or think about us Black in America. Thank you blackmeninamerica and Mr. Gary Johnson for allowing my two cents worth here.

  40. Fallon Massey Says:

    Very good conversation, and I have a real good feeling seeing that I’m not the only one thinking this way.

    I love that a few of you have come to the same conclusion that I have(quite some time ago).

    I don’t want, or need White Folks love, it’s either there or it’s not. All I want from them is to put a stake in the ground, and either live by the constitution or not.

    The one thing I know for sure, NOBODY will give you something you can’t take on your own. We need to build our infrastructure politically and more importantly financially. You can’t keep going to the White Man to get everything, we need something of our own.

    Remember these important words…

    Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
    — Frederick Douglass, 1857

  41. At this point, I hope that more of us from these discussions will go out and DO something about these problems. The very first thing we can do is raise our sons and daughters to be productive citizens. Then as many of us as possible need to spare our time to try to help others to see a better way

  42. indigoblu Says:

    Black Man:

    I posted some information that may be helpful to some people who visit this site concerning the current topic we are discussing. Please fish it out of your Spam filter–it has many links– and post it somewhere on your site.

    Thanks

  43. OK Indigoblu. I found the information that your referenced and as you can see posted it here on the blog and on our main web page’s Guest Commentary section located at http://www.blackmeninamerica.com/talkback.htm. Thank you very much for your contributions.

    Resources

    The following link is a list of local and national organizations and programs designed to address many of the issues raised in “CNN Presents: Black in America” and “CNN & Essence: Reclaiming the Dream.” Some of the people or guests featured in the programs are involved in some of these organizations
    CNN does not endorse any organization, and information is provided only as a resource and inspiration to help people explore the many local and national organizations involved in these areas.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/07/18/bia.resources/index.html
    I imagine a lot of people probably do not know about these programs. The links are extremely helpful.

    BET
    Write letters to the network and president demanding change in videos and programs shown on BET that promote negative stereotypes and images of black people that our children often use as a reflection of themselves, and demand more educational programs.

    Boycott the watching the program (children and adults alike) so that BET will lose money and their ratings will drop. I assure you; this will ring loud and clear.

    Here are three petitions that are currently going around; bring awareness and send them to those you know and those you don’t know to the dangers of such programs:

    http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/change-bet.html
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/betterBET/
    http://www.petitionnow.com/BETVIDEOS/petition.html

    In Addition:

    Promote education at home:
    http://www.ehow.com/how_2147355_promote-early-reading-home.html?ref=fuel&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=ssp&utm_campaign=yssp_art

    Start some educational and inspirational after school programs in black schools and churches:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_2335689_start-after-school-care-program.html?ref=fuel&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=ssp&utm_campaign=yssp_art

    Start free parenting class in your community –even if it is only one or two days out of the week:

    http://www.fathersworld.com/fulltimedad/issue2/bf.html
    http://www.blackparents.org/
    http://www.babycenter.com/0_fathering-classes-could-you-use-one_8249.bc

    Start free abstinence classes, not just Safe sex, in your local black churches and black school, especially HBCUs:

    http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/247/27/

    Send copies of the CNN’s Black in America special to your church and school. (This is something I am very intent on doing).

  44. The color of one’s skin= a biological response to ultra-violet radiation. That’s it, the bottom line, we are all human.

  45. Bravo, Mr. Johnson. Well articulated, poignant and fair. Although I do believe that you are being nicer than warranted with your assessment of Soledad O’Brien’s complicity in the overtly negative and ill perspective being promoted in this very destructive television special.

    Thank you for articulating the sentiments of the masses of conscious black folk.

  46. Mac Attack, the real Ole'Bama Says:

    I’m glad others saw the lack of balance in CNN’s Black in America special. Like many of you, I saw nothing new about our community, but I also did not see the whole truth about the positive things real black men are doing in our community. Oh yeah, when bruthas were shown in a positive light, they were cohabitating with White. Hmm, brutha Obama is trying to do positive things, cohabitating with a sista, and yet some of ya fakes have a problem with him……..Willie Lynch unleash your spell and let my People go.

  47. […] CNN: Black In America Author: admin  |  Category: Life, News CNN: Black in America Maybe my first mistake was being misguided for even being offended that we have to be Black in America, rather than just Americans who happen to be Black. Secondly, why must we be a special report? You would think that in 2008 Blacks would be so prominent in mainstream media that we would not need a special report to discuss what it means to be Black in America. I only saw Part II: The Black Man and I was saddened by what CNN chose to showcase as the life of a Black man. I was hurt to see that they chose to portray Black men as a bunch of worthless losers. If I was a Black man, I would be looking for the nearest bridge to jump off because if CNN is in anyway correct; life is bleak. Sure, some black men are in dire straights. Lots of Black men are in jail, there are some who father child after child and never look back and there are some who are undereducated and can’t/won’t hold a decent job if their lives depended on it but there are plenty of Black men who are the exact opposite. The brothas that I know and love don’t fit the mold CNN has cast. The brothas that I know and love are family men, first and foremost. The brothas that I know and love have been on the job 10+ years and continue to grow and promote upwards. The brothas I know and love treat women with respect. The brothas I know and love have degrees. The brothas I know and love give back to their communities. According to CNN, “In the “The Black Man,” Soledad O’Brien evaluates the state of black men in America and explores the controversial topics of black men and fatherhood; disparities between blacks and whites in educational, career and financial achievement; and factors leading to the dramatic rates of black male incarceration. The documentary also examines the achievements of black men and the importance of the positive influences of black fathers.” I just wish CNN had showcased a little more of the positives within the Black community. Showcase the men that are in college or hard at work on the job. Show the men who have not only taken care of their kids but have solid happy marriages. Show everyone that being a Black man is not an automatic ticket to a life of disappointment and under achievement. Show that there is something greater to aspire to. I’m not sure who their target audience was but the documentary as a whole missed its mark and in my opinion reinforced some very negative stereotypes. Rather than really open the door for dialogue; it further separated the have’s and the have nots. Whatever its intended purpose- it failed; horribly.

  48. […] Black Men In America The Premier Online Magazine for Black Men (and women) « People Sound Off About The CNN Special “Black In America” […]

  49. C. Russell Fleming Says:

    I heard nothing new. It amazes me that no one except me have the solution to the problems Blacks America and in the near future America will face. The solution is so simple it would shock you silly. All this talk is solved by increasing “child quality” not “child quantity.” How you do it, well someone ask me and I will show you how. Like the economist on your show I too am an economist. I reserach the solution over 25 years ago. My regression analyst shows the exact variables that caused this mess. These variables are clear cut and can be seen impacting us from 1964 forward. The relationship in the regression is so strong that it will decrease crime, increase income, improve education levels, improve health, and make us “the Perfect Minority.”

    I leave you with that and I will only reply to individuals that understand this type of modeling. Believe me it will work, their are a few countries utilizing a variation of this model right now.

  50. I think you are hilarious! (No insult)— I do agree somewhat with your assessment. I too had a similar POV with the segments you mentioned. For some reason, the judge and her daughter-in-law and future daughter-in-law left an imprint on my brain.

  51. I am a noted author and just spent the last year teaching English as a Second Language to students who immigrated to this country with their parents. My objective is to teach these students how to read, write and speak English so that they can pass their academic requirements in our educational system. I am the Past President and current Vice President of Read Aloud Virginia, which increases reading literacy by encouraging parents and even older siblings to read to their children. Studies have shown that this increases reading literacy.

    I saw Black in America produced by CNN. All cultures here in America have their problems. However, the problems I have seen in schools that are predominately Black is a severe lack of respect for teachers of all races (mostly Blacks) who teach Black students. A substantial number of Black students drop out of school in the ninth grade because they can not read. Organizations that maintain statistics on reading literacy report that some Black students can not read because their parents can not read as well as their grand parents. This applies to some White students, who have reading literacy problems also. I commented during some literacy meetings that education is free, so why is there such a substantial reading literacy problem here in America. The responses are always relative to children not being able to read when they enter the public school system. Again, the generational problem of generations of family members who could not read, created generations of family members who can not read either.

    I have read about improved reading programs in about five states, where Black students are taught to read using strategies that are used to teach immigrant students how to read, write, and speak English. I use these strategies myself and further noted that the same (with advance variations) strategies are used by the maker of the best (learn a foreign language software) on the market .

    In closing, research statistics on the world wide web about reading literacy problems here in America. The statistics are shocking and looking at what Black American (youths) need to achieve (educationally) in our high technology world, reading literacy issues are crippling our youths chances for prosperous futures. Lets read to them as infants, toddlers, and throughout their elementary and middle school education years.

    I am heading back to a middle and high school in about two weeks and continuing my quest that Black Youths will respect themselves, each other, and teachers. I will stand like a rock and always say during times of disobedience, “WE HAVE A DREAM. BUT SCORES OF STUDENTS STANDING HERE IN THIS HALLWAY AND NOT REPORTING TO CLASS IS A NIGHTMARE.”

    It is time for community leaders, parents, and celebrities to go back to school and read to the students. If we do not get things straight at the schools, then the paths or roads to success will continue to have a crisscross of paths or cross roads leading to the commission of serious crimes, drug abuse and long term incarceration.

  52. ! Nice site
    Keep posting, and mate thanks.
    there is nothing in the world I enjoy more than learning. In fact, i’d rather be learning now!

  53. […] But reaction was decidedly mixed. Many found the series an enlightening attempt to dig behind stereotypes, but others pegged it superficial, narrow, detached and too negative. […]

  54. OK–Im probably going to piss off everyone…Im a white male, proud white, white as a person can be. That being said I have an interest in the black community and their success. Strong blacks or any ethinic group that succedes make America more strong and successful. Imagine everyone getting a fair shot at life..the ideas..the creativity would create even more jobs and growth thus making America even stronger. That being said I think the number one problem with the black community (this coming from hearing other whites complain) is the ABSOLUTE LACK OF CARING ABOUT EDUCATION. I will be bold enough to make this blanket statement. BLACK AMERICANS AS A WHOLE DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE EDUCATION THIER OWN CHILDREN ARE GETTING!!! So many black parents do not bother to show up for parent teacher conferencences. Black kids think its acting white to get good grades. Yes they dress great but who cares. Black boys by the end of sixth grade are lost. No government intervention can change this problem. THE BLACK PARENT MUST DEMAND OF THEIR CHILDREN AND SCHOOL THAT THEY WILL LEARN AND TEACH RESPECTIFULY. After reading the post on this site I realize everything said is basically BS….Its all about education people…12 years of it…a whole generation can be changed for the better and America for the better if parents would prioritze education #1 everything else..who cares.

    • S. Bird, as someone who works with educators and volunteers in under served communities, generally speaking I think your comments and observations are true. I agree with you when you say that education is the key. That’s the ticket to success people.

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