I know I’m a couple of weeks late but I really wanted to comment on the two part documentary that aired on CNN, produced by Soledad O’Brien, Black in America. A significant portion of the documentary was centered on the Rand family and showcased a sort of juxtaposition within their family and people connected to them. It exhibited some members who were anomalies of the black community and went on to have great successes, as well as presented those who became a product of their negative environment. I feel the documentary tried to close the gap between the two groups by showcasing the fact that the more affluent, educated blacks still incurred racism no matter where they lived, what title they held and/or how much money they made.  Some issues that were covered included; struggling single mothers, drug addiction, college, interracial relationships, success, racism, the AIDS epidemic, etc., all things that have a profound effect on our community be it negative or positive. What I was puzzled about was the fact that I, as well as the other blacks that I talked to about the documentaries, already knew a great majority of what was being presented to us. This lead me to think that the target demographic wasn’t those in the Black Community. My thoughts were absolutely confirmed when Soledad defined the term, “baby daddy”, during a segment where she spoke to a woman who created a website called, “Marry your baby Daddy”. Then I thought, ‘Do those who aren’t minorities really care about the state of the black community? Was this documentary made to garner sympathy for Blacks in America?’ I know this may sound a little closed minded, but that was my honest thought.  I also noticed that, at times, Soledad would present a problem in our community, then give some excuse for it. For example, just because the statistics say that black men are on the same playing field as a white criminal, when it comes to getting a job, that is not the sole reason why the unemployment rate is much higher for Blacks than for our white counterparts. We don’t need others to feel sorry for us, so they might want to help. We need to feel sorry for ourselves. If we want the Black Community to change, we have to start from within. Just like if you want to change as an individual, a simple change of your hair color or a new wardrobe is not going to do it. You have to start from within and work outward. 

Now there were a few thins that I was pleased with concerning the documentary. The Emergency Room Doctor in Baltimore, Maryland, who started the V.I.P. program (Violence Intervention Program) is doing a great thing. Dr. Carnell Cooper takes the young men who come into his trauma center as a result of violence and offer them a way off of the streets. He gives them the opportunity to take advantage of a GED program if they aren’t in school and if they are, offers to help them finish high school. He also assist the young victims with finding a job. Although the situation that brings the young people to him is greatly unfortunate, he is performing a much-needed service in one of the most crime stricken black communities in America.

“Marry Your Baby Daddy Day” is an attempt to curb the plague of fatherless homes in the black community, as well as other communities, by Maryann Reid who hopes to “bring black love back in style.” This initiative offers an “All expense paid, Wedding Extravaganza” for couples with children who are living together and want to tie the knot. The idea is great, although the name has a slightly negative connotation due to it’s containment of the phrase, “baby daddy”. 

Overall, the documentary did a good job at revealing negative and positive aspects of the black community. To those who don’t live through them everyday, that is.  From the media outlets that I heard advertisements and promotions for this documentary, it seemed to me they were targeting blacks, but once I viewed it, I was convinced their target wasn’t the audience in which they showcased.

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Comments
  1. 2partssoul says:

    I just didn’t agree with how they completly ignored the black working middle class. I wanted to see a family like mine, the single mother who is doing well, and putting a child through college, but still doesn’t have it made in the shade (so to speak.)

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