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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.

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May 21st, 2009

Comments:

Comment #1 by Marcy Webb on July 21, 2009 - 1:51pm

Hi, Rebecca.

Thank you for your post.

The following two quotes resonated with me the most, Rebecca:

"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."

"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."

I watched the first installment of "Black in America", but, there wasn't much that was new - at least to Black Americans. Which brings me to my second point: The series is designed for an audience which isn't exclusively Black. I think the purpose of the series is to educate and inform those who aren't Black about what it is like to be Black in America, and nothing more. So, I don't think we'll see anything more cutting edge, at least not from CNN.

Comment #2 by Super Amanda on July 21, 2009 - 6:15pm

I have two opinions.

Firstly, I feel this cuts across gender and and race and into class as the ultimate purveyor of how we are all seen and what we all face. I'm having my first baby (any minute now!) via the low income system in California (Medical) in a small county with (thankfully) , a lot of funding and twice midwives have reminded me how lucky I'll be 'to have air conditioning when the actual birth takes place." Assuming we have none at home, which we do (next to the out door shower hahaha ;). My last name Casabianca, has pulled in more than a few polite to annoying exchanges with many of the Mexican born/Mexican American staff who are interested in the entomology my last name, including one occasion that bordered on offensive but which I had to let go because the staff member ( the pre-nantal health advisor childless and far too young for the job at 24 years old) obviously displayed her own awkwardness/self hate at being Mexican-American. Lack of diversity is actually the issue I see at the Clinic, virtually all Latino administrative staff and than all white midwives with zero African-Americans and a few Asians despite many of said groups who I see in the waiting room each visit.
As an Italian-American who is anti-racist, I need to see more diversity.

"Me. We." as Muhammad Ali once said,

Secondly:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090721/ap_on_re_us/us_harvard_scholar_disor...

What can you say when one of the greatest living historians is bundled up, booked and mugged like transient rubbish, because some lady "saw a black man and called the cops"
?
Soledad O'brien is so limited by the mainstream media that I doubt she could tell the truth and I doubt many viewers/advertisers could 'handle it.' I cringe to think of Katie Couric putting a spin on what happened to Gates tonight . As if she has any experience in racial profiling apart from why she has her lucrative media position (ok I'm being a tad bitter). We NEED Soledad O'brien to commenting on these events, not Couric, and yet, as you implore, we need to hear how African America WOMEN ARE being profiled themselves everyday.

"Gates showed his driver's license and Harvard ID — both with his photos — and repeatedly asked for the name and badge number of the officer, who refused'

I guess it doesn't work both ways, we have to make sure it does.

Comment #3 by Super Amanda on July 21, 2009 - 6:56pm

Continuing:

"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. "

That says so much. So little is said within the second wave about domestic help/day care and nannies-professions almost solely staffed by uninsured low income women of color/immigrants as well as lower income white women that it has made me turn my back on much of feminism. There has been so little allowance for dialogue about this hypocrisy that I can't justify it within the movement. Caitlin Flanagan, wrote a book called 'How Serfdom Saved The Women's Movement" and was stoned for it by MS. In fact a search on Ms' website leads an over whelming concern at the high MONETARY COST of childcare and virtually nothing about the racial, class and emotional costs in women exploiting/resenting other women. The Third wave, imho, is the only hope for feminism at this point.

Finally, class is NOT the ultimate binding agent we all face in creating tolerance as many socialists would argue. Gates would not have his mug shot all over the web today if it were. I would LIKE it to be so we could all found common ground but it can't be that way-not yet.

"No one who has looked into this country's maze of segregation statues, miscegenation codes, housing covenants, slavery laws, or civil rights debates could ever suppose that being a "Celt," say was tantamount to being some kind of European "Negro." My point here is not to one equate one racial experience with another, but rather to demonstrate the inadequacy of modern notions of "ethnicity" in rendering the history of whiteness in American social and political life. Ultimately, I would argue, this treatment of the racial history of European immigration counters any facile comparisons of the African American experience with the white immigrant experience:it is not just the various white immigrant groups' economic success came at the expense of non-whites, but that they owe their now stabilized and broadly recognized WHITENESS ITSELF in part to these nonwhite groups."

-Matthew Frye Jacobson

"Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigration and The Alchemy of Race"

Comment #4 by rebecca on July 22, 2009 - 9:54pm
Love it Amanda, thank you. I also have been stoned by feminist establishment for many of my views. Smeared, in fact. But that's another story. Thanks for your thoughtful statement.
Comment #5 by Super Amanda on July 23, 2009 - 3:51am

:)

I actually was very pleased to read your take on your contribution to "Searching For Mary Poppins" in regards to woman working as domestic staff :

"I didn’t want to have a person that intimate in my life, in our family life, and there’s some part of me that wanted to really do it myself and to know that I could, so I could look back and know that I went through it. It’s not easy."

That's not to say, as a former nanny myself who has had mostly VERY positive and magical experiences, that I don't think 10 or 20 hours week of childcare with someone in your own community who is fun and trust worthy can't be healthy at various points once a child is older but feminists have approached it as an unalienable right to walk away from a child for as much as 60 hours a week-even an infant- and part of that equation means the most "competitive low cost price possible".

Hire and ask questions later. To me the nanny/childcare/daycare debate is the biggest issue facing feminists right now and it is a huge issue of race and class privilege.
I mean when even Barbara Ehrenreich is getting a bit defensive and blogs like ISAWYOURNANNY, its time to go "whoa, what's up?!"

One solution is to base the addition of a childcare provider around an Afro-Caribbean family unit, where it's more co-parenting and "it takes a Village" than 'stay in the shack until the bell rings'
If I do childcare again, my baby will be coming along with me. A big and new trend in the UK now is to allow the nanny to bring her child along, it will be fascinating to see how this plays out! Unless I could have that same freedom here in Nor Cal, I would not nanny here again.

http://www.slate.com/id/2095545/entry/2095648/
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200403/flanagan
http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04/16/books/the-nanny-wars.html

Comment #6 by Mechia Browne on August 17, 2009 - 3:01am

Amen!-
Perhaps we should enlist the help of such filmmakers & influencers like: Tyler Perry, Oprah, Will/Jada Smith, Gina Prince-Bythewoods, or Spike Lee to join forces and redo the entire series, naming it, Black in America: The Real Truth. We cannot leave it to someone to tell our story, acurately.
MB

Comment #7 by hermes leather bags on July 9, 2010 - 8:44am

Love it Amanda, thank you. I also have been stoned by feminist establishment for many of my views. Smeared, in fact. But that's another story. Thanks for your thoughtful statement.

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Comment #9 by seo company on January 26, 2011 - 10:29pm

What most of them don't understand is that not only whites brutally kidnapped blacks and enslaved them, but also they have set up, through forces, a system on our mother land, Africa, design to provide for them and their descendants until today in 2008. Most natural resources come from our mother land devaluated, dishonestly obtained by whites supremacists.

Comment #10 by Lupus symptoms on March 2, 2011 - 11:07am

That's not to say, as a former nanny myself who has had mostly VERY positive and magical experiences, that I don't think 10 or 20 hours week of childcare with someone in your own community who is fun and trust worthy can't be healthy at various points once a child is older but feminists have approached it as an unalienable right to walk away from a child for as much as 60 hours a week-even an infant- and part of that equation means the most "competitive low cost price possible.

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Comment #13 by Shingles info on April 28, 2011 - 3:18pm

Hire and ask questions later. To me the nanny/childcare/daycare debate is the biggest issue facing feminists right now and it is a huge issue of race and class privilege. I mean when even Barbara Ehrenreich is getting a bit defensive and blogs like ISAWYOURNANNY, its time to go "whoa, what's up?!"

Comment #14 by Pneumonia signs and symptoms on April 29, 2011 - 2:56pm

"I didn’t want to have a person that intimate in my life, in our family life, and there’s some part of me that wanted to really do it myself and to know that I could, so I could look back and know that I went through it. It’s not easy."

Comment #15 by gout symptoms on May 6, 2011 - 2:31pm

Why not post the article here?

Comment #16 by muscle building forum on June 1, 2011 - 5:27pm

I think the purpose of the series is to educate and inform those who aren't Black about what it is like to be Black in America, and nothing more.

Comment #17 by lit mezzanine 2 places on June 7, 2011 - 6:23pm

Excellent post, I have loved the two parts !
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Comment #18 by is pneumonia contagious on June 30, 2011 - 8:29am

Amen!-
Perhaps we should enlist the help of such filmmakers & influencers like: Tyler Perry, Oprah, Will/Jada Smith, Gina Prince-Bythewoods, or Spike Lee to join forces and redo the entire series, naming it, Black in America: The Real Truth. We cannot leave it to someone to tell our story, acurately.
MB

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