Some Thoughts on Black In America 2

From GenmaSpeaks:

I watched Black in America 2 with great trepidation. I honestly sent up a prayer begging God to have mercy on black folks, all America would be watching this show. My prayers got stuck somewhere over Nashville’s skyline because what I saw was a diversity project gone astray.

I applaud CNN for wanting to show that they are committed to diverse subject matter. After all, they are the “most trusted name in the news.” What I find perplexing is the need to script news segments and promote the result as a documentary about life in Black America. Based on the promos, BIA2 would bring forth new ideas or solutions to old problems within the black community. Part 1, which I watched three times, gave us the same extremes that are usually spotlighted by the media and left many wondering why repeat the predictable caricatures that appear on cable news every day.

CNN’s narratives exploited the most vulnerable segment of the community and highlighted bourgeois attitudes at their worst. There is no denying that the two groups – the very affluent and the poor - are parts of the black community. But the affluent and poor are in any group of people. For millions of black folks who work hard every day, who are not making six figure incomes, who pay their bills and taxes, and who have trials and struggles like everyone else, what CNN profiled is not a total of our sums. CNN continued the perpetuation of the same stereotypical genres of black life which are the focus of the media the majority of the time. Blacks are viewed as thugs in jail, unwed teens, and absentee fathers/mothers. While true facets of the black experience, they are not reflect of all of our lives. Just like poverty stricken trailer parks and welfare mothers are not reflective of any other group. In a veiled attempt to show balance, mainstream media who most often portray the negative aspects of the black experience will occasionally show an elitist intellectual who is out of touch with his/her people and reality. Good, wholesome and normal people in the black community are rarely shown on television. BIA2 should have been renamed the “Continued Mis-education of White America” (and the rest of the world). Where is the balance between the two extremes?

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