Saturday, July 26, 2008

CNN's Black in America..A tale of 2 Stories...


Whenever I watch a documentary, I try my hardest to view it with the eyes of a person who doesnt live that life. My goal is to watch and get a better understanding of whats really going on and see if I learned anything new from watching the show. That being said, it was hard for me to watch CNN'S Black in America without being a little more crittical then normal givin that A, I am indeed a Proffesional Black Male in America, and B Im married to someone who is Black and living in America.

If im being totally honest, I give the overall 2-day special a 5 on a 10 point scale. Before I breakdown why, allow me to express this quick point about the special. It was infact, groundbreaking. MSNBC tried something along these lines, but there story was based more on a young man tracing his roots back, and coping. It is my hope that other networks pickup where CNN left off. There are so many aspects of peoples lives that frankly we just dont know about, and with us on the verge of potentially electing a blackman as president, I for one am a HUGE FAN of full disclosure. I want want to see how this affects the whiteman, brownman, blackman, and soforth.

Ok , back on track..Day1 Black in America Blackwomen.
Family I was VERRRRRY dissapointed by this. 90% I repeat 90% of the special was dedicated to painting sisters as promescurous sex goddeses who rarely work, engage in unsafe sex, cant marry, and have low self esteem. The sistahs who are out there, are to out there, and only want to focus on there careers. Atleast thats the picture CNN painted on Wednesday's canvas.

Here's a summation
There was a story of a woman who through bad choices/lack of dad was living in Houstons fifth ward district(avg. ghetto usa) trying to make it as a real estate agent and raise her 5 kids by her self. Everyday was a struggle between want and need. She gets kicked outta her home, and the gamily has to move into a lower mortaged house. She's making it though, but its tough. She blames her upbringing for her decision to makem men her burden/pleasure. Growing up withoutt any prominent ones in her life, resulted in her chasing them in her adolescent age. 2 kids beofore 20, and 5 total by 35. Another story was of a cutie who had unprotected sex just once and contracted HIV. This one broke my heart. This girl has alot of energy, and she has the looks of a dyme. She's now an activist, and speaks out against AIDS/HIV. The last snippet I'll provide dug into the life of a biracial married couple in ATL. Sistah with Opie..The situation didnt bother me at all. Im all about people dating whoever makes them happy. What bothered me was the commentary given by Tara Wall )(conservative sistah) .."Black men are taken aback by my sucess and often dont want to date a succesful sister"

WRONG WRONG WRONG. I dont know what circles up in DC she's runnin in, but I know first-hand that nothing is more attractive to a man, then a woman that can do her. Throw in a cute face , and the ability to make a brotha a country style breakfast, followed with freakishly heathenist sex, and I'd say a sista is the most lethal thing on the planet. And those women exist.

The proffesional sista who was taught by momma the way to keep, and maintain a proffesional career/relationship. Sadly CNN was more interested in highlighing baby-mommadrama and the rest of the stereotypical assumptions made of black women.



Here's 3 things CNN could have done to improve the women segment.

1st. Hilight Sista's in there comfort zones. Ie the Beauty Parlor, Massage shop etc. Give them an open mike and moderate it all topics ranging from politics, to gossip.

2nd More showcasing of the Proffesional Sista. Investiigate her struggle to maintian in a workforce that is DOMINATED BY THE WHITE MALE, all the while maintaining her blackness

3rd. Coastal representaion. Sho how sista's from Cali differ from there Houston, Baltimore, and NY counterparts


Overall I gave the Black Womens segment a 3.

On to the Brothas.
Someone at CNN must have got the memo, either that or they were directed by 2 totally different people. Whatever the case, it was like night and day.

CNN showcased a tale of 2 brothas out the gate. Brotha one was the modern dayt Cliff Huxtable. Model family 3 kids all succesful, and wife is a Circuit Court judge. He a superintendent , along with his wife raises his kids to be smart, repsectful and value an education. Brotha 2 was a former felon who accepted God while in jail and made it a point in his life to turn young brothas life around.

Both men were in there mid to late 50's and had came up in newly de-segregated Arkansas.
The stories ran in perfect parralel as they showed how choices can shape and change your life.
Another story hilighted a young brotha who got a Computer Science Degree while in prison. No he's a felon so his job options are a little bleek, but he still remained positive and hopeful that his prospects will improve as time goes by.

Now here's where it FLOORED ME. A proffesor at Princeton did a study. Get this, 95% of blackmen with a felononious are criminal backround almost never get hired. Now that may sound steep but heres where I just sat there. A whiteman with the same prison wrapsheet has a 50% chance of getting hired. THE SAME STATISTICAL ODDS OF A BLACKMAN WITHOUT A PRISON RECORD...Essentially a blackman w/o a prison record is just as hirable as a whiteman with one.

Im going to let you digest that one for a bit....


Ok, Im back. They had Spike Lee on. He dove into the complexities he's faced trying to get his movies out. Many of them are privatly financed b/c Hollywood believes his message can be "to over the top"..Blackfolk we know code. The counter to his arguement was Joseph C. Philliips. He of Strickly Business, and small role fame. (He was the naval officer who married Denise on the Cosby's) He claimed that Hollywood does have the job's its just blackmen are lazy. Of course since he hasnt been heard of since Girlfriends axed him, I guess he's just to lazy to be found out there. Black conservatives irk me. Most of there stich is puttin us down. They seem totally oblivious to how society has ACTUALLY TREATED BLACKFOLK, and they come off as trying to hard to impress a culture that secretly could care less .

My last snippet is of he brotha they followed out on the job chase. This brotha was young, had 3 kids, and was on a daily grind. He was positive, and focused and in the end he got a job. A good one night stcoking, and delivering. Now they had another one, specific to me. A young brotha who was in a worfoce heavily dominated by wihtes. I thought it to be good as well, but I would have liked to see them go deeper into how he has to be proffesional while being black. Its a fineline that I think people need to see.

Overall I gave this special a 8

I'll close by saying this. CNN isnt going to impress everyone with there special I am one of those people. I will say though, that im really impressed with the effort. I felt Soledad Obrien did about as good as one could w/o the exp. of street life. I place a strong emphasis on someone being able to tell a story or drive a narrative they can somewhat relate to.
Blackfolk are a prideful people. We are proffesionals, we are entertainers, and we are family people. Not all of what you see on BET represents us . You wont catch a majority of our men walking around with wifebeaters and gold teeth. Also, you wont catch a majority of our sista's walkin round in booty shorts with 5 kids at home, and lookin to find there "Captain"... (dont act like dont know what that mean..)

CNN was able to provide insight on one of these,and for that I thank them. But im standin up for my sistas and asking them to to submit a better perspective on sistas the next time.
SMOOTH.....



7 Comments:

At 4:54 PM , Blogger peaceselena said...

I think you are right on! Thank you for that!

 
At 8:38 PM , Blogger smoothie said...

PeaceSelena,
Thaks. I wasnt to comfortable with wednesday, but Thursday was much much better. Stay tuned, i plan on tackling more issues that effect our community as I go along

 
At 3:26 AM , Blogger Original Black Buddha said...

Smoothie,

Peep this:
http://rainbowdharma.com/festivalscreening/theater1.htm

 
At 6:57 AM , Blogger smoothie said...

OBB,
Deep..i never knew we could trace our roots back to ankor (sic)...If those statues were indeed of blackfolk, this may have opened up a part of asian culture i have been complety unaware of..Maybe, just maybe, they, have black roots..there culture really isnt that much different from ours.

 
At 9:30 AM , Anonymous TIF said...

First of all...very good analysis and critique of the documentary.
There were a few parts that made me cringe but overall, as your last comment stated. Hey, I thank CNN for trying to provide insight on what it's like to be "Black in America."

One thing that made me feel some kind of way was the Rand family. When they found out that they had the blood of slave owners in them (in other words, white people) they seems so enthused!!!! I'm not saying that they shouldn't have been happy to meet their distant cousins. I'm just saying, it seemed like a badge of honor to Mrs. Rand to know that she had that generational white blood flowing through her veins. (even though in some way or another we are all connected to each race). Now, touching on the men and women...Lets start with the woman.

I do believe they could have painted a better picture. Because we are not all those "ghetto hood rats that's just good for two things...a good nut and making babies." I agree with a lot of what you said about the men and the women depiction...but son...when it comes to that successful black woman...

I might have to be on the fence with you on that one. Trust...you are the exception to the rule.
Not all black men are like you and maybe your boys who are successful black men with your heads on straight. First of all..

.I do believe that most (not all) but most black men may be intimidated by a black woman who is successful and has her head on straight. It's an egotistical thing. These are the men that are not secure within themselves. So hey, maybe you are right...maybe she is hanging around the wrong crowd!

But lets get grimy with it son...Black Men...I'm so disappointed
overall. We can make excuses from here until the moon for them. Why
do I get up every freaking' morning and go to work and work HARD and see
n***** standing on the corner...then when I come home from work...I SEE THE SAME N***** STANDING ON THE CORNERS. Then got the nerve to try to holla at me! Why are they leaving their children? Why don't they work?
Why do they depend on the black woman to take care of them but are healthy...have all of their limbs...and can get up and go to Mc Donalds and fill out an application...but they DON'T? Really...I'm tired of seeing black men like that...(this isn't to say other races are any better)...but you have to admit...we have got to do better. You are the exception. You are a catch. As well as the guy who worked in marketing on the show...but I wonder does he date black women...odds are probably not. Just like the superintendents sons...the date white women. That's fine by me...but I wonder why...Why do the successful black men (for the most part) abandon their black women? And we women with our heads on straight(meaning those who date men, lol) are stuck with the funky n****s on the block to choose from. It's shameful. I would like to see Black men STAND UP. And be MEN! Love and protect their families. Work HARD because that is what a MAN (regardless of race) is SUPPOSED to do.
Even if they choose not to go to school...Work those jobs. Do something constructive. DON'T GET ME WRONG...it's 10 times harder for us to get jobs than "them." But look at the dude who went out day and night.
Stayed positive, started off with the part time job...then got a full-time job...continued to work both to take care of his home. That is a MAN. He doesn't have to be a millionaire...he doesn't have to be a billionaire. Just stand up and do the right thing for himself and his family. Black women (overall) are loyal women. And will stand by you
through thick and thin. And there are many black men out here like
that. But son...you from HOUSTON...I saw what that looked like...and I'm in the inner city of the chi...what do you see the most of? For real...I've been with women more stand upish than some of the black
men...And the young girls. Having 3 babies by age 20...oh yes...one
walked in here Friday like that. The mentality of our people sometimes
really bothers me. No all of us aren't like that and yes I wish the media would stop allowing these select few to represent the whole black population...but dayum. Is it not true? I work at the public aid office son...I see this everyday. Whoopi Goldberg supports it...and I guess I do too cuz if it wasn't here...where would I be working? But I know the tricks that they use to work the system. They don't want to work...They just want to collect money. They feel it's "owed" to them.
But overall...there is so much more to the black community than what they showed on CNN. Look at you...look at me...look at our military members. Our CEO's and Execs. So their portrayal of us...eh...not so sure. But my personal opinioin Black in America aside...you be the judge.

 
At 9:42 AM , Blogger smoothie said...

Here's where being close comes in so well for us..We see many things in the very same lens of life..As much as I want to breakdown black men working, I cant.

I only see it from the eyes of a succseful Blackman. I know I WAS SOMEWHAT represented, but the numbers show that im infact a "catch" as you put it. Yes being from H,

I have seen and still see many who walk around with my skin tone who hold the street up, but I don’t think they by and large represent US...the same for the Sista with ___kids b4 20....she doesn’t represent u either..Unfortunatly CNN played of stereotypical assumptions whitefolk wanted to see, rather then what life is ACTUALLY For us.

As for the Rand lady, yeah..i was feelin your comment on that..Dont know if im supposed to be happy that I have a slave owner in my bloodline. (though I very well, and most of us HERE might) its not something I want to advertise..

 
At 10:18 AM , Anonymous blkninja said...

yeah, that CNN joint was a let down big time! PBS (go figure) did the best! It's called the 2 nations of black america hosted by my man henry louis gates jr.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/race/

 

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