After seeing the second installment of “Black in America” which dealt specifically with “The Black Man,” I realized what the real problem is with this documentary. THE UNDERLYING ASSUMPTION IS THAT ALL BLACK PEOPLE ARE POOR AND ARE CRIMINALS. So, in addition to the producers not giving “context” for why some Black Americans are in the situations that they are in, they also chose to present our community as though the GHETTO is our only experience…as though we are a one dimensional community. They profiled only a slice of Black life.
In “The Black Man,” there were an exhorbitant number of orange jumpsuits and men in handcuffs, talk of drug abuse and absent fathers throughout. All of this and no mention of racism or stereotypes…until Spike Lee gets on the mike. How in the world could CNN portray Black men this way and not mention neither racism nor stereotypes? I’m shocked that Spike’s calm rant even made it into the documentary, but I’m glad it did. Unfortunately, that short rant didn’t erase the further damage to America’s image of the Black man that was done throughout…it was worse than the evening news.
I really didn’t like that the Black men that were doing well (the children of the Little Rock 9 man and the guy in corporate America) all said that they didn’t fit in with Black people and that they were ostracized by Black people because they were “smart.” Not saying this has never happened…but trust me, there are Black men that are educated and successful with Black wives and Black friends. There are Black people that are successful that socialize with Black people and are comfortable with being Black. There are Black people who’s great grandparents went to college in the early 1900′s, grew up privileged, and didn’t have to escape the ghetto. We didn’t see them tonight though.
I accept the Black experience fully, the success and the struggles…primarily because I am proud of my heritage and aware of what my people have been put through in this country. I do, however, also acknowledge that most Black folks don’t live in the ghetto. Most Black folks aren’t in jail. Most successful Black folks are not sell outs. CNN, next time you do a documentary on a minority group, give us a full spectrum of the experience from an unbiased angle, and give us context for why they are experiencing struggle. You can’t wholly increase awareness without that.