CNN's Black in America

Tongues are still wagging over CNN's Black in America documentary. If you haven't seen it yet, it was a two-parter hosted by Soledad O'Brien last week. You can read all about it HERE and reruns have been airing every night since.

I've heard from people who thought it was great and taught them things they didn't know, like the impact of the AIDS epidemic on the Black community. But other people felt is was more of the same old stuff about how terrible it is to be African-American. Today, Oneita Jackson of the Detroit Free Press has an interesting take on the controversy in her article Black Experience Doesn't Live On My TV .

Now, what do YOU think? Was the documentary too negative? Did it break stereotypes or reinforce them?


potsy said...


Anonymous said...

I tuned into the program like millions of others. I found some startling statistics on young African-Americans and education. It reaffirmed what I already knew about growing up in middle class suburbia and my current life as one of the 45% of Black women who have never been married. It brought tears as I saw single parents trying to make ends meet while raising young girls and boys to be solid, productive citizens. Above all, I was convicted of my need to give back to my community and to live the adage of "each one, teach one."

Oneita Jackson's article, I think, misses a point. I believe CNN's documentary, although about "us," wasn't strictly aired to educate "us" but the larger society in which we live. So often, I find myself having to explain "us" to my European colleagues. For instance, I had to explain the call-and-response traditions in the African-American community, especially in the church, while discussing Rev. Jeremiah Wright's publicized sermons. I had to explain the rolling cadences and excited responses. Most of us know that already; we expect that when we go to traditional Black churches. My colleagues were...less enlightened. So maybe we know all the facts presented in CNN's documentary but there are plenty of people around us who are...well, less enlightened.

Anonymous said...

I kind of agree with Oneida Jackson. At the end of the series I was left looking at the tv with a blank look on my face. On different boards I participate on there has been little to no discussion about the show as we all have the same disappointing reaction - THIS is the result of an 18 month report? I'm not impressed.

The show was not advertised as "hey all you other people watch to get more understanding" it was ultimately heavily advertised as something it really turned out not to be. Just more fodder & samples of very stereotypical behaviour (by the poor and by the rich).

I should have known better & fell for the okey doke anyway. Won't happen again.

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