Thursday, June 12, 2008

Coming attraction: ‘CNN Presents: Black in America’

On July 23 and 24, CNN will present a six-hour “television event” – “Black in America” – hosted by undercover black woman Soledad O’Brien.

A 3-minute trailer is embedded below.

To be quite honest, I’m leery about these huge, quasi-comprehensive “race” projects. Seems kinda 1970s-ish.

Number one, if you’re black, you don’t need a TV show to tell you what’s happening. So from the gate, this seems to be about explaining black America to non-black America. (Check the final words in the trailer: “You Have No Idea.” Who has no idea?)

Number two, how deep will it go? I’ll be shocked if “Black in America” deals frankly with the great crisis of our day: homicide.

But... we shall see.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

That made me feel ill. To place being any race in this world into a box as small as a three minute trailer is foolish and racist.

Undercover Black Man said...

“Their ups and their downs, their challenges and opportunities...” Yep, that covers everything.

mynameismyname said...

The key word, UBM (in response to your comment above), is "their". This is not targeted to black folks at all. It's targeted to non-blacks so that they can 'learn' about 'them'. Bullshit.

In the wake of Obama, I think there's going to be a lot of coverage on "the state of Black America". ....that's the mainstream media for ya.

GenevaGirl said...

After being subjected to a week of CNN's Focus on France which aired last week on CNN International, I'm not hopeful. CNN can be heavy handed.

I'm curious if Soledad O'Brien will identify herself as black or bi-racial.

Antonio said...

No matter what they do, they're doomed to failure, especially when you compare the level of discourse on a 41-minute television program to a good blog. Here on the blogosphere you can get a million different views on a subject from just as many perspectives. They'll probably talk to a few different professors, maybe some "street" people, but it'll never measure up.

Kellybelle said...

Good point. It does have a kind of "Meet the Negroes" quality to it. A focus on race relations would be better.

Anonymous said...

She looks 100% black to me

Anonymous said...

That show looks boring as all get out, but that Soledad is fine as hell.

Undercover Black Man said...

I'm curious if Soledad O'Brien will identify herself as black or bi-racial.

Well, GenevaGirl, she's a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

MIB said...

As a couple of commenters have noted, Black in America is a primer for White folks... kind of like a video version of Black People for Dummies.

I disagree, however, homicide is the great crisis of 'our' day. Regardless, CNN won't cover that issue either.

Eb the Celeb said...

"if you’re black, you don’t need a TV show to tell you what’s happening. So from the gate, this seems to be about explaining black America to non-black America."

EXACTLY!!! I couldn't have said it better

Anonymous said...

The real black in America issues...

http://www.blackstate.com/dateblackwomen.html

Undercover Black Man said...

I disagree, however, homicide is the great crisis of 'our' day.

You may be right. It's only the No. 1 cause of death for young black males. Nothing worth talking about, really...

Thembi said...

Hm I didn't know that Soledad was Undercover (which I guess is the whole idea). Your point about this being aimed at non-blacks is so on point that what I really want to see is the black conservative response to the conclusions presented in the show. I cant wait for the word "bootstrap" to come back into vogue :-/

Jeffrey said...

Had to chime in too due to your refering to Soledad as UBW. Fascinating, I've never really pegged her as "black". She just kind of fit in my mind as ethnically ambigious.

I find that interesting because, in her case, race seems to be more a matter of self identification as opposed to visible genetic traits. When discussing Obama on a radio show recently, the commentator mentioned that he could just as easily be considered a 'white' candidate since 50% of his ancestry was white/anglo. The response was that since he appeared to be black, he was black.

In Soledad's case that isn't the case. I'm happy to see she embaces all her heritage though. Per the wiki page, she's also an undercover latina woman. I thought it was a riot that Al Gore made the mistake of speaking to her in Spanish just because he assumed she must be fluent.

I'll be planning to TiVo the show. The full treatment is several hours long so there may be some content worth watching.

Though I think CNN's timing is kind of poor. The more race is highlighted before November, the more Xenophobia we'll see.

I'd like to see Obama win or loose without race being a deciding factor.

MIB said...

"[Homicide's] only the No. 1 cause of death for young black males. Nothing worth talking about, really..."

Snarky comments aside, you'd rank homicide among Black males 15-34 over the deterioration of Black social structure, i.e.; families, communities, etc., as our greatest
crisis?

Interesting. Not persuasive... but interesting.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ While you remain unpersuaded, another 20 black men will be murdered today... and another 20 tomorrow...

The scale of that pain and waste is staggering. Which is why it's psychologically uncomfortable for black folks to even talk about... especially since white folks can't be handily blamed.

MIB said...

I'm aware of the ramifications of homicide for 'Black' communities, thank you. However, whenever I hear the term, 'Black on Black crime' what usually follows is a nonsensical political hypothesis that murder, robbery, etc., are somehow 'Black' crimes or unique to Black people. We tend to ignore what law enforcement officials and social scientists say about homicides among Black and Latino youth in urban neighborhoods representing a microcosm of American society at large.

I realize Black people are at greater risk of exposure to violence and crime than the 'norm' and have no problem discussing causes and solutions, if only that were to be the case. I am not so cynical to accept as true crime -- Black on Black, or otherwise -- is the prevailing feature of Black culture or is the number one challenge facing its posterity.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ More than half of all murders in the United States are committed by black people.

The prevalence of black violent crime has shaped American demographics for the past 50 years.

That's gotta get dealt with eventually.

Des said...

"you'd rank homicide among Black males 15-34 over the deterioration of Black social structure, i.e.; families, communities, etc., as our greatest
crisis?"

I agree with mib here and not the later backpedaling.

Doesn't it seem common sensible that if we could somehow repair the larger social problems such as the aforementioned deterioration of Black families and communities, that there would be a subsequent reduction in black on black crime?

When you look into the causes of Black on Black crime....where do you think you're gonna end up?

" Which is why it's psychologically uncomfortable for black folks to even talk about... especially since white folks can't be handily blamed."

And this bullshit has no place in an intelligent discussion on the issue....no place at all. Somebody needs a Tom Out.

cnulan said...

The prevalence of black violent crime has shaped American demographics for the past 50 years.

Racism and white flight have shaped American demographics and economics and been causative of multi-generational impoverishment.

It's the poverty - embedded in a gun-rich American cultural environment - that's causative of the crime and violence.

To even imagine otherwise is simply ahistorical and ignorant. Given the pending catastrophic collapse of the American economy - this summary characterization will be borne out in spades, so there's really no need to argue about it. Just wait a little longer and you'll be witness to an impoverished white crime wave the likes of which hasn't been seen for a very long time.

Hell, meth heads hereabouts have been stealing entire sections of Time Warner Cable infrastructure and taking down service to chunks of the city just for the copper wire in the cable. They also stole tons of copper blanks intended for the military ammo factory up in Independence. As the U.S. County Sheriff's Association is quick to point out, that thur is the #1. cause of crime in the entire U.S.

It's just not being covered.

Hey, there's a thought David, mebbe you could do a rural meth head version of The Wire. Now THAT would be some cultural gold and for this household at least, some mustsee teevee...,

cnulan said...

Somebody needs a Tom Out.

ROTFLMBAO.....,

orange crush all over my keyboard, through the nostrils - and that isht stings too!!!!

John B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brown Girl said...

Well, they've got air time to fill and they're not going to fill it with anything really earth shattering so why not fill it with non-negative entertainment about black folks.

Maybe it's not for people of African ancestry ... in America anyway, but I think it would be of interest to people of African ancestry like me who live outside America. I hope someone loads it up on You Tube for people like me. BIG HINT!!!

Misguided as the show may or may not be, it wouldn't be a waste of time if it begins/continues a public dialogue which updates ideas of race and racial identification.

From what I've been reading on the internet America needs some serious lessons about the actually racial makeup of it's self-identified black population because many people:
1.talk as though the idea of a mixed race person self-identifying as black (Sen. Obama) is a new phenomenon,
2. seem not to understand that the term Latino/a does mot define race but rather defines linguistic grouping (relevant only within the context of the Americas)
3.still seem to buy into the one drop rule hook line and sinker.

mynameismyname said...

Brown Girl hit it right on the head.

It's interesting and predictable that some folks are questioning and scruntinizing Obama's blackness since he became the Democratic nomination. If Obama was a peasant on the street or getting arrested or a deadbeat dad, do you think people would be dissecting his blackness? And emphasizing his European blood?(Which most western blacks, despite appearances, have anyway. Thank you slavery!)

Food for thought.

Soledad actually referred to herself as a "light skinned black girl" once in an interview and that's what she always appeared to be to myself and many others I've known who knew of her. She faced much discrimination in the early stages of her career, so people surely weren't ambigious about her blackness back then!!! LOL

I agree with Cnulan about the black crime thing. Poverty and lack of oppurtunity=rampant crime. And most crime in this country is committed by whites, no?

Undercover Black Man said...

And most crime in this country is committed by whites, no?

Like I said, myname... most murders (that is, more than half... the majority) are committed by black people, who constitute 13 percent of the population.

And the only reason this isn't a topic of national conversation is because the simple-minded media don't want to draw the wrath of simple-minded Negroes who throw around terms like "Tom."

mynameismyname said...

Interesting take, UBM, I found some sites on a simple Google search, there's some unexpected stats:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm

Undercover Black Man said...

Yep, myname. That’s the data of which I speak. To wit:

Of all U.S. homicide offenders between 1976 and 2005... 52.2 percent were black, 45.8 percent were white.

cnulan said...

And the only reason this isn't a topic of national conversation is because the simple-minded media don't want to draw the wrath of simple-minded Negroes who throw around terms like "Tom."

In your world David, simple-minded negroes got a helluva lotta pull. The real reason it's not a topic of national conversation is because the hoods in which it occurs are a microcosm of the larger society in which these hoods are embedded. Resource deprived microcosms. As such, any discussion of hood norms would inevitably serve as an indictment of the national governance and behavioral paradigm in which all of you operate. Simple-minded negroes are decidely NOT the folk seeking to avoid THAT indictment or the discussion that would yield the same. Pretending otherwise is dishonest, stupid, and craven.

"I put for the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceases only in death." -- Thomas Hobbes

Six billion or so of you humans are imprisoned in a status-driven social paradigm. You are bound and determined to increase your social status -- i.e., increase the size of your peacock tail. The only way for you to increase the size of your peacock tail is to deplete natural resources. I call this process the Peacock/Peahen Spectacle.

All of the organizations comprising your society -- be they branches of government, universities, corporations, politicians, churches, and philanthropies -- work to support the genetic drive for increased status. The leading members of those social organizations (i.e. highest status individuals) work to increase the status of the organizations and in the process, increase their own personal status. Throughout this process, opinions expressed by dissenting individuals are suppressed. Dissent within the overarching paradigm is not conducive to the achievement of high status.

In addition to being among the most powerful genetic drives, the genetic drive for status is utterly insatiable, in other words, if your neighbor appears to increase his status beyond yours, then you must work harder to increase your status and get ahead of him (buy more-expensive car, bigger house, better job, etc.). This tendency is commonly referred to as "keeping up with the Joneses".

All high status individuals within your social paradigm deliberately lie (many subconsciously though none the less obviously) to further their drive to increased status. Moreover, no high status individual is willing to lose social status by admitting lies, errors, or omissions in the decisions that they've taken pursuant to their status-seeking aims. So, not only do all of the organizations within your society work in concert to promote this paradigm, but, all the current high-status individuals leading these social organizations are genetically-biased against telling the truth because it threatens to cost them their hard-won social status.

When people are frustrated in their endless drive to increase status, they often resort to violence. The only alternative to public violence is the endless conversion of finite natural resources into ever-more-marvelous peacock tails - thus it is that the Peacock/Peahen Spectacle operates within a system of governance via dopamine hegemony.

With fewer natural resources available for conversion into ever-more-fabulous and more widely sought-after peacock tails - the insatiable and infinite genetic drive for increased status must inevitably lead to a new world war over finite natural resources.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Deep, Craig. The only thing missing from your cosmology is the possibility of human improvement. Also known as "hope."

cnulan said...

What you refer to as "hope" my friend, is merely "self-delusion". Thas aight for chirrens at Easter and Yuletide, taken alongside a healthy regular serving of the original Grimm's fairy tales, you know, the ones with murder, mayhem, adultery, cannibalism, and all that other reptile-brained chimpanzee isht that nobody tried to hide from youngsters back in the day...,

Look on the bright side magne. Viewed objectively, you're no longer obligated to feel ashamed of lil'nuccaz gankin in the hood. In context, as I've always exhorted you to view them since the very first time we exchanged correspondence, our little canaries in the resource coal mine are simply emulating the cowboy ethos that is at the historical heart of American exceptionalism.

They doin the best they can with what little they have. Not as good as Russian murder and mayhem apparatchiks, those muhphukkaz put in a damn sight more work, but many of them have had military training and experience so that the human trafficking and serial mutilation and murder in which they specialize comes far more easily and enjoyably.

Give the young brothaz a little more time, they're only just now beginning to flex the gangsterish medieval hardness that other folk have had centuries to perfect.

Anonymous said...

nulan's law - survival of the fitest, within the context of ones "hood" so to speak.

The media's laws on establishing dialog on the Black murder rate:

1. Can't touch this
2. If it ain't broke, don't fix it

cnulan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cnulan said...

Nulan didn't say a dayyum thing about "fitness" anonymous.

Don't ascribe words or meanings to me that I didn't author. What I described was "status seeking".

That's the American way. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with "fitness".

Write your own shit, don't confuse or distort mine.

Oh, and by the way, since I'm feeling magisterial this afternoon, the law I described is by no means attributable to me. The peacock/peahen spectacle has been known explicitly for millenia.

Look up Malek Taus if you want to know....,

Anonymous said...

...in all hoods dude, he/she with the highest status is by rank deemed the fitest.

...existence, by it's very nature, is all about the satisfaction of desires thru the consumption of resources. Which gives way to the all consuming passion.

craig said...

If your definition of "fitness" is the peacock/peahen spectacle...,

Anonymous said...

...the peacock/peahen spectacle is a behavioral attribute exhibited by one expressing his/her fitness/status within a hood. He/her with the biggest tail usually has many soldiers willing to pop the necessary number of cabbages required to reinforce the magnitude of his/her fitness/status/tail-size.

Anonymous said...

Soledad O'Brien is Black? What about Suzanne Malveaux?

Black, white, brown or green, those are two fine honeys!

Undercover Black Man said...

What about Suzanne Malveaux?

Yep. Her too.

mynameismyname said...

Do any of you guys think that CNN intentionally uses racially ambigious Black female reporters? Y'know the ones that make people go "really?" when they find out they're a sista?

Thinks that make you go hmmm ...

(Oh, and you ain't seen a fine CNN sista until you see the Sierra Leoneon one on the UK branch of the channel ...fineness, y'all.)

RC said...

Hey Dave, I know the lady is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and also the Latin Association, but no one here has spoken up for the forgotten and downtrodden Hibernians who have given her two awards over at the Irish American Magazine. Now if someone wants to speak up for the Aussies, this woman has a lot of ground covered, and she's a Cuban too.

mynameismyname said...

She's Afro-Cuban and Irish-Australian. Not Native Australian, as she's not Aboriginal. So, black and white, basically. Like most western blacks...in varying degrees.

Thordaddy said...

I find it amusing that those most critical of generalizations are steeped in generalizations about who will be watching this show.

The general consensus is that this show will draw an audience of whites to the exclusion of blacks that already know what the heck's goin' on.

The real truth is that this show will be watched by white liberals and black supremacists like Fisher and Nulan.

Why are "progressives" always playing pretend?

cnulan said...

Why David, it looks as though you've got one or more of these critters infesting your comments section too;

Many low-status individuals within our social paradigm deliberately lie (many subconsciously though none the less obviously) to further their drive to increased status. Moreover, no such individual is willing to lose social status by admitting lies, errors, or omissions in the decisions that they've taken pursuant to their status-seeking aims.

At the very least it's ironic to watch frustrated, low-status individuals struggle to achieve imaginary "status" in the comments section of a blog.

*Thordaddy* instead of masturbatory exhibitionism here, why not flesh out the content of at least one of those six blogs you purport to operate?

Thordaddy said...

Nulan,

Are you one of the black supremacists who pretends like he won't be sitting next to his white "liberal" friends chomping on popcorn and watching the cover-up job by CNN?

Who is going to watch this show, Nulan? Whites...? Blacks...? I think it will be sad white liberals and black supremacists such as yourself.

Do you disagree?

cnulan said...

Do they have cable at trailer park where you live in San Diego Josh?

If so, will the other members of the Farst family be joining you for a couple PBR's and a little hootin and hollarin at the lovely Soledad?

I'll tell you what though Josh - even though I'll probably be busy, if my schedule frees up, maybe we can text one another with all the salient details.

You want me to hit you here;
Phone: +1.6192831082

or just send my $.02 to email here;
Email: thor1323@aol.com

Let a brother know, kaaaaay?

Thordaddy said...

Nulan,

Just like Fisher, when it's time for engagement, brother leaves the field.

And you say there isn't any legitimacy to the correlation between race and intelligence? It's like you're trying to prove the correlation.

cnulan said...

I'm here Josh.

You say anything yet that merits a response from me?

quoting P6 for a change today;

If you acknowledge the existence of racism and/or the reality of Black people being for the most part at the bottom of the socioeconomic hierarchy...and we need not agree on the reasons therefor at this point...then you must acknowledge Black people have, on balance, more to overcome to reach any given socioeconomic level (you have to work with stuff like 'and/or' and 'on balance' because we're talking about collective phenomena here...otherwise it would be like discussing the air pressure of a single molecule of oxygen, or the toxicity of four molecules of strychnine without reference to the creature whose body processes it).

The functional impact of racism isn't to advance white folks, it is to set back our starting point and resist our forward motion. If we are equal, this would give the appearance of inequality and outcomes more profoundly unequal each generation (which Conservatives would..and do...declare to be the just end result of it all). The appearance of equality requires Black folks to be so much stronger than white folks that we overcome our starting penalty AND the resistance to our motion.

The appearance of equality requires the reality of Black superiority.

Anyone that makes this clear will be accused of being a Black Supremacist, which is actually a different thing. Though they would inevitably appear, and develop a fair sized following if the requirement that Black people be superior to white people in order to be equal to them were made widely known.

This would go far beyond the "you have to be twice as good" canard because it would involve more than the skill set for your job.

If I devoted myself to delivering the rhetoric necessary to convince Black people we could overcome racism of our own will and intention, my ass would be in jail before the end of the year. Worse, if it worked y'all would do your damnedest to change the game before we won...nothing personal, it's the nature of power.

Thordaddy said...

Nulan,

When dudes talk about "anus diameters" and "masturbatory exhibitionism," then said fools have left the field.

And when a black knucklehead googles and post some public imformation in an attempt to do what...?

Your game is weak like Fisher's and Deangelo's. Even your slights are archaic and boring. Trailer parks and PBR...? For real?

cnulan said...

Josh old bean, that's not google, that's a whois to your domain name registrar - but then you'd know that if you'd ever managed to put down the bong, get up off your sister, and exit the double-wide.

Say what you will laddy, but from where I sit, you're more stuck on drooling and responding to me than Pavlov's dog.

Given my penchant for abusing digital pinatas like yourself, this is an effortless exercise in routine meanness for me.

You, on the other hand, will find it a protracted and increasingly unpleasant experience.

BTW - don't you have some tile to be laying somewhere or something?