Not this O'Brian, but the other one. Our dearest O'Brien.
Being a black woman in America I felt compelled to watch CNN's Black in America out of an obligatory respect for my people. I watched it. And I found it terribly underwhelming.
NUMBER 1: As my mother so adamantly pointed out, it was a show about black issues in a America, something Tavis Smiley has been advocating for years and yet the lightest complexioned black woman they could find (Afro-Cuban / Irish) was hosting it. Now I have a great deal of respect for Soledad. By American standards she's a black woman (+1), she's an Ivy League graduate (+1), she's a successful TV anchor and investigative reporter (+1), she spoke at my school's convocation last year (another +1), and she managed to create this special and the buzz around it (another +1) (and an added "Get it biiiiiiitch, get you that Emmy nom!" lol) and yet something is not right. It's unfortunate that in order for issues about black people to reach and be validated by mainstream America, the color complex still comes into play.
NUMBER 2: From an editorial POV, the actual special seemed to lose focus and not concentrate on any particular issue for a substantial amount of time. She kept coining the phrase 'let's have this discussion' and yet she floated over topics. There's a difference between stating the obvious, and exploring/analyzing it. I still want my discussion, but then again that could just be me expecting too much from a 2 hour special. I guess I'll just invite over some friends, mellow out, and have the discussion our dearest O'Brien wants us to have.
NUMBER 3: This special did not necessarily represent me or black people like me. The extreme poor was highlighted and the upper middle class was highlighted, but where was the working the middle class? My parents are both teachers, putting us in the lower six figures concerning income. We're the middle class that's hit the hardest. For example my school offers complete financial aid for students in 4 person households making less than $60,000 a year. Students in 4 person households making $200,000-$250,000/year or more aren't necessarily troubled by paying a full tuition. Its the people in between like my family that feel the brunt of the economy. We're fortunate enough not to have to rely on the government for handouts, yet we're not wealthy enough to not mind paying full price for everything. The irony. Let's address that. Just saying...
I'll reserve further judgment at least until I watch the 2nd installment tonight about black men. Should be interesting...
Note: My intention is not to damper the importance and groundbreaking aspects of this special. I find it commendable and I am greatly appreciative that the spotlight is on us and our issues. :)