Yesha Callahan

The Extremes of Black In America 2

cnn_black_in_america

According to the dictionary extreme is defined as:

–adjective 1. of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average: extreme measures.
2. utmost or exceedingly great in degree: extreme joy.
3. farthest from the center or middle; outermost; endmost: the extreme limits of a town.
4. CNN’s representation of being “Black in America 2”


I’ve learned not to get my hopes up when it comes to the mainstream media. Even though you’re forced fed it every day, the only thing you can do is listen, digest it and draw your own conclusions in the end. There’s the saying, “believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see”, and I definitely think that’s how people should deal with the media.

In the age of our supposed “post racial” society, the quickest way to garner ratings is to keep it ‘racial’ and CNN has done it well with their second installment of Black in America 2, with once again attempting to shedding light on the ‘plight’ of black people.

Once again, it’s done in extremities, as shown in last nights 2 hour installment in regards to youth and education. I’m not going to discount the fact that there are inner cities in America where the school systems are in need of drastic change and the kids who attend these schools are subjected to receiving the short end of the ‘stick’.  But not all kids can be lucky enough to have Malaak Rock come and fly them off to Africa to basically say, “Hey, your life could be worse”. Sure, it’s great they got to see Africa, I mean who wouldn’t want to?  A trip to Africa is not going to cure the ills that these kids obviously suffer from.  Instead of sending kids to Africa, send them to counseling, send them to tutoring, get them the educational help that a failed school system can’t provide for them. Let those boys, who think that basketball is their way out, that chances are it isn’t. Take the basketball out of their hands and put two books in each of them.  What about the children in these inner city schools that are actually striving and doing well? Why wasn’t there any mention of them in the Bushwich school?  I’m quite sure they would have enjoyed a trip to Africa as well.

I do applaud CNN for profiling Steve Perry and the Capital Preparatory School in Connecticut. He’s not a millionaire taking on philanthropic endeavors, he’s a real person trying to make a difference in the lives of the children who attend his school.  He even touched upon the fact that a parents involvement with their child has a drastic effect on their success in school. People always say that it takes a village, but I also think, that if a child is not properly cultivated in their own backyard, it’s a recipe for failure.  It doesn’t matter how great of a school a child attends, if a parent(s) isn’t involved, then what makes you think the child is going to put forth any extra effort?

So there, CNN touched on the ‘underprivledged’. With the two inner city schools. But of course it wouldn’t be right for CNN not to showcase an extreme as well.

From poverty to riches.

Sure, there are wealthy black people. Black people with a distinct history that started in the early 1900’s with success, education, and money, is nothing new if people knew their history.  You have everyone from the Talented 10, to the Jack & Jills and The Boule, the examples are never ending.  These groups of course still exist till this day and I understand why they were highlighted in Black in America 2 for white black people to see. But within these groups of people, there is an obvious elitist attitude that has existed since day one.  Sure, the younger generation want to grow up and make an impact, but bring home someone out of their ‘circle’? It’ll be like a sequel to “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” Black in America style.

From last night’s installment, I came to one and only one conclusion:

Black Middle Class, guess what…CNN’s not that into you.

Maybe tonight’s episode on marriage and relationships will be different, but then again, there’s a possibility that it won’t.  One thing I am sure of, the extremes will definitely be thrown in.

  1. July 23, 2009 - Reply

    I think that is the point of the BIA series… to depict a multifaceted image of the African American community, in an effort to dispel the extreme biased views of our counterparts & of some of our own. I understand that to every action, there's an equal or opposite reaction, therefore expecting that ALL Black people will not agree w/ Soledad O'Brien's efforts. However, who else is telling this story in such an eloquent manner? The show is actually opening my eyes (as I am a highly educated, well traveled, overly cultured, young Black man) to some of the efforts of our up and coming leader, such as Steve Perry. It seems that our “creme de la creme” is shunning the documentary, as it “is saying things we already know.” Well, Black people, let's be honest w/ ourselves: our up and coming generation is lost– all they are exposed to is the media & pop culture. Such programming as BIA should open their eyes to what they should be proud of as well as what needs to be worked on in our community. This biggest problem with the African-American is that we lack identity. Where identity is being built, we criticize. Such criticism, could further lead this next generation back into shackles.

  2. July 23, 2009 - Reply

    Agreed… as it is with most media outlets… I wish CNN would have done a better job of addressing the VAST population that is middle-class black people. I, for one, could truly relate to either group they chose to cover last night.

  3. July 23, 2009 - Reply

    *couldn't*

  4. July 23, 2009 - Reply

    […] The Extremes of Black In America 2 | [fung'ke] [blak] [chik] […]

  5. July 23, 2009 - Reply

    […] The Extremes of Black In America 2 | [fung'ke] [blak] [chik] […]

  6. July 24, 2009 - Reply

    so yeah…my first comment to my friend was “when will the rest of us get some shine. those who are neither dirt poor or filthy rich. those who don't have to deal with extreme poverty but don't have elitist attitudes. when will out story be told” i was dead serious. i want them to show how hard it is to get around when you've done all the right things but don't have the right connections or skin color. i don't know, these episodes aren't nearly as disappointing as the last series, but they still have a way to go because i'm not convinced that they've revealed what its like to be black in particular in america. seems like its just what its like to be poor and/or rich in america (black or otherwise).

  7. July 24, 2009 - Reply

    first of all, great post on BIA2, i really agree with the majority of what you have wrote about. also ^^ 'young woman' i was infuriated my the same thing as well. however, i do not have a problem with the first BIA as i feel they did a good job of showing what it is like for many poorer people in the black community. but in BIA2 i feel that they have just repeated a lot of what they have already said instead of continuing to unveil the rest of the black community. they briefly touched on the upper class, but as [fung'ke] [blak] [chik] said:

    “there are wealthy black people. Black people with a distinct history that started in the early 1900’s with success, education, and money, is nothing new if people knew their history. You have everyone from the Talented 10, to the Jack & Jills and The Boule,”

    I do not just want to hear about how they also get discriminated against, i wanted to see how they've grown up, what schools they have attended, what college they go to and their 'friendship' circles (i didnt want to use the word friendship, but i couldn't think of the word i wanted to use).

    More importantly i wanted CNN to show me the black middle class as i can only guess that there is one and they it may even be growing.

    My favorite part of the whole documentary was the peace on Steve Perry. i think what this man is doing is nothing short of amazing. Him and his staff and THE role model for every other school that isn't sending 100% of their graduates to college and who have a large number of failing student (i don't remember what their graduation figure was).

    Anyway, my one criticism of your post [fung'ke] [blak] [chik] is your opinion of the kids with basketball:

    “Let those boys, who think that basketball is their way out, that chances are it isn’t. Take the basketball out of their hands and put two books in each of them.”

    i absolutely agree that they need education, and that education must be their number one priority. But with basketball, i feel they need to be told that 'you may not make it to the pro's, but this this orange ball can help you not only get in to college, but make it less expensive or even free, and as long as you keep your grades up, you can play ball in the NCAA like all the pro's did.' i dont feel that they know that 99% of the pro's attended college, and now coz of the rule changes in 2006 (i think) they wont be allowed into the NBA draft unless they have done at least one year of college.

    (wow, i didnt mean to write on essay on this)

  8. July 24, 2009 - Reply

    oh god, i forgot. i would like to see more of the south.

  9. July 24, 2009 - Reply

    Thanks for the comment, it's definitely appreciated!
    I have to agree as well, Steve Perry's segment was excellent! He's a man who choose to be on the 'front-lines' and make a difference in those teenagers lives. It not so often where you see someone who makes sacrifices for their students. I don't know when was the last time I heard a principal picking/dropping his students off at school! He will be the one person that his students will remember way into adulthood.

  10. July 24, 2009 - Reply

    They had the opportunity to address that on last nights airing, with the Barnes family, but since their focus was on only their relationship, I guess they didn't feel the need to.

  11. July 24, 2009 - Reply

    Multifaceted images, would not only include, the poor and rich, but also the middle class black family that are not only struggling b/c of the economic times, but are primarily the ones who are continuing to increase in population because of their educational and professional backgrounds.

    I wouldn't say that the 'creme de la creme' were shunning it, people expect more considering this is the 2nd installment of the series. Don't show me that children are failing in school, pinpoint the reasons why, and give solutions.

  12. July 24, 2009 - Reply

    Thanks for the comment, it's definitely appreciated!
    I have to agree as well, Steve Perry's segment was excellent! He's a man who choose to be on the 'front-lines' and make a difference in those teenagers lives. It not so often where you see someone who makes sacrifices for their students. I don't know when was the last time I heard a principal picking/dropping his students off at school! He will be the one person that his students will remember way into adulthood.

  13. July 24, 2009 - Reply

    They had the opportunity to address that on last nights airing, with the Barnes family, but since their focus was on only their relationship, I guess they didn't feel the need to.

  14. July 24, 2009 - Reply

    Multifaceted images, would not only include, the poor and rich, but also the middle class black family that are not only struggling b/c of the economic times, but are primarily the ones who are continuing to increase in population because of their educational and professional backgrounds.

    I wouldn't say that the 'creme de la creme' were shunning it, people expect more considering this is the 2nd installment of the series. Don't show me that children are failing in school, pinpoint the reasons why, and give solutions.

  15. February 3, 2010 - Reply

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