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Openness is our greatest human resource.

Black in America, Pt One


 Black in America
As we approach the airing of Black in America Pt 2, I thought I'd pull out my post from the Root that ricocheted across the web last year in response to Pt 1, and was then erased entirely when the Root did their site re-design.
Black in America: Ain't I Woman?

It's not pretty, but I'm going to tell you what I think.

A lot of black women are pissed about the first segment of CNN's Black in America.

Not able get a man? Unprotected sex? 40 minutes to get a tomato?

Get real.

I respect Soledad O'brien and enjoyed the interview we did for my first book on being biracial. I think she's wonderfully talented and I'm glad she's on the air.

But is almost impossible for Soledad to do a real piece on black women in America if it is safer, professionally, for her to exclude women who have a critique of corporate media. Or women who might bring up the issue of light-skin privilege. Or women who view economic disparities between black men and women as something more than a reason black women should consider marrying white men.

I think Soledad should have used her own story to show a facet of black women in America. She could have talked about all of these issues--how she was treated growing up, the challenges she faces in her career and home life vis a vis race, what her relationship is within the largely white corporate media world.

If she had told that story, it probably would have resonated with at least a few of the black women I know-- women who run national museums, are foreign policy advisors, astronauts, tenured professors, Pulitzer Prize winners, screenwriters, studio heads, and VPs of major financial institutions.

Who are doctors and lawyers, nurses and counselors, comedians and correctional officers, legal secretaries and visual artists, teachers and construction workers.

Who are so far up into the digerati I can only contact them through one of fifteen social networking platforms. Who live in Dakar, Belize, San Miguel de Allende. Who read Vogue and wear Manolos, Dries van Noten, and Prada. Who work for the CIA.

Ain't they black women?   

Instead of a woman who can get a gun easier than a vegetable, what about the black women who use vegetables as guns in their commitment to change the way people of color eat? What about the black mothers who bring ideas about natural foods, homeopathy, and spiritual balance to their families and communities.

The black women who design innovative strategies for addressing mental illness, encourage healthy same-sex eroticism and partnership, and emphasize the need to define ourselves as global citizens. What about the ones fighting environmental racism?

What about the black women who have such a deep concern about the fallacy of racial constructs, they don't even identify as black.

Perhaps the state of black women's lives could have been looked at through the lens of racism, classism, and heterosexism within the Second Wave feminist community, and seen in terms of who, statistically, has benefited from the women's movement and who has not.

Honestly, I think CNN should just get a do-over. Maybe black women could get a whole show this time. What do you think? CNN should call me and I can call my friends, and they can call their friends, and they could call their friends, and we could make some real, ground-breaking, transformative popular culture.

Because we have more than enough to fill two hours.