No Soledad Blacks are not 3/4 of a Human Being: A Black Hispanic attempts to translate the “Black Experience”

In politics, Race, Race and Class, The Economy on July 26, 2008 at 8:50 am
I find it awfully ironic that Soledad Obrien chose to try to report on the black experience in America when she is of Hispanic descent.  The honest truth is that if I had to report on a social problem in America at this moment it would be the problem of illegal immigrants crossing the border taking the jobs of citizens of all races.  In reporting on this I would report on the almost inhumane living conditions  that I have personally witnessed in New Mexico which were worst than all the deepest darkest stereotypical Africa stories that I had ever heard about.  They were certainly worst than any American ghetto that I haveever been too.  Even so daily we are barraged by the crimes that Hispanic immigrants commit not on each other Ie/ black on black crime……..but on the general American population. 
Solded and Mother

Solded and Mother

My words sound a little mean don’t they.   Well the little I saw of Black in America and I mean very little that I saw.  I think in the first episode, I happened to see a single father who had been given three months to find another places to stay and after three months he “still” had not found a place to stay and was granted six “more” months to find a place and then the sentiment by the reporting was poor poor poor man.  Frankly my dear………….. I’m from the South you should be able to fill in the blanks.   Furthermore, I think I did stick around for a liittle more with commentary from Micheal Baisdon a black radio personality, oh but wait, isn’t  Micheal the radio personality that also has a show on BET that has urged women to get plastic surgery on their vaginas so that their husbands can feel more pleasure, and has a steady stream of strippers and adult entertainers on his show, where he asks such questions as since you are an adult entertainer can you still feel sexy with the one you love.  Just the presence of this personality let me know that the documentary “Black in America”  is not hard hitting journalism. 

The next day I tuned into CNN with the expectations of looking at CNN and their report on the black man and I am blasted with the percentage of black men who are not fathers and I see a cute baby boy with a big fat mother and the commentator says no father in the house.  I immediately turn the TV off.  This is not my reality, neither is it my childrn’s reality.  It took Obama’s playing the race card and CNN’s heavy reporting of it for my eight year old to even realize that their is a race problem in the United States.  Since Obama’s presidential run and CNN’s reporting of race, I wonder if  Asian, Black, and White children will ever play the same again in the IKEA nursery again.  I deliberately have left out Hispanic children  becuase they seem to possess an eerily race conciousness at an early age that I find rather strange.  To emphasize this, I have to recount an incident that happened when my daughter was around three we had gone to the local health center for a check up and my daughter was playing with a little boy and a little hispanic girl no more than three herself walked up to my daughter and pushed her for no reason and grabbed the little boys hand and pulled him away.  I know this could have been the way children play but it had never happened before and I never witnessed it happening again.  Another incident that I witnessed between Black children and Hispanic children would be when taking my daughter to the park.  I very much like the local park, I can drive my car up in front of the picnic tables and from there my daughter can run to the playground which is within seeing and walking distance of my car, so I can sit in the car and read while she has a great time.  I say all of this to say all the children play together, white children play with black children and vice versa.  However the Hispanic  children will not play with black children.   I have to backtrack just a little bit and say the Floridian Hispanics are very much Americanized and from one incident do interact with blacks and seem to have some affection for black people, but the other Hispanics from anywhere else seem to have a very real animus towards blacks I say all of this to say that Soledad’s documentary will not affect the way the majoity of Hispanics feel about blacks but will affect the way blacks and other races interact. 

Personally after the documentary aired I self concious and less than as a person.  I walked into the Farmers Market and probably because of me, I thought people were judging me, looking at a statistic, wondering things about me.  HA I really felt this way. 

In any event this documentary was ill timed and ill thought out.  There may be more children in the United States without fathers, but there are other populations in the United States who’s rate of abortions are astronomical, how shall we say it or how are their own race of people saying it to each other, “you have aborted a whole nation of people” .  In addition some populations are less fertile so their rate of pregancy is going to be lower.  This accounts for some of  the disparity between children without fathers in the black community versus the majority community.  In addition black people my be experinceing an economic crisis but to my knowledge, the majority of American citizens are expericning an economic crisis in their lives also.  This was empahsized to me by an article in the New York Times several years ago that discussed the fact that white men were not working and white women were taking care of their unemployed husbands.   All of the above is said not to negate the fact that there is a problem in Black America  but to say that documentaries characterizing a whole race are inappropriate and impede the efforts of those who are trying to climb  out of their situations.

  1. I don’t know what rock you have been living under. Maybe, you were educated about black america by white america. Every nationality besides the African American chose to come here to make a better life. My blood line goes in many directions but I hold on to my African descent. So don’t look down to Soledad because she is trying to educate my people about where they have been and that the possibilities of a great future is endless if, they can believe that they can have a better life.

  2. I really don’t think Soledad was trying to educate black people about their history. There are many people working towards educating everyone about the history of African Americans including some pretty heavy intellectuals. This TV show did not aim to educate individuals about the history of Black Americans from the little I could see of it. As I said before CNN could have focused on any race or group of people with this type of story. They could have focused on the plight of poor whites in factory and mining towns, they could have focused on the living conditions of illegal immigrants, they could have focused on the economy and the economic factors affecting “all” of society, instead they chose to blanket balck american in one truth. Personally I believe in a deracialized society where color is secondary to all factors. The CNN story would have had a broader impact if they would have done a special on the plight of “Americans” in this time of change.

  3. Would you have watched more of the program if it had been about another race of people? Sounds like your denying something….

  4. I don’t like Soledad since she was very mean to the Congresswoman from my district Cynthia Mckinney. So essentially I would not have watched it period because I think Soledad though she may pretend to have love for blacks, does not care to much for black people. They are just a stepping stone for her ambition, and I wish she would use her own race to step all over, CNN has plenty of African American reporters that could have reported on the black experience differently. There is one in particular who could have done a great job, CNN did a piece on her father who happens to be a gold medalist. This reporter could have reported on all aspects of the black experience.

    As far as another race is concerned, my tolerance for seeing poverty reports went away when I graduated from college and had to face the facts that I could be poor too and the way that Soledad sees poverty is far from how I see it. In addition I believe that when Soledad reported on the man who could not find a place to stay in New York. I think he needed to realize what a lot of people have realized is that he could not afford New York and move to New Jersey. Forbes reasoned out that New York never makes the top five as a place for singles to live because it’s just too expensive, and this man had three children and no job! I found the reporting quite illogical and pieced together it did not have a flow. I will also repeat what I wrote in the post, If Soledad is Hispanic, with all the problems that Hispanics have I can not understand why for the life of me she would skip over reporting about Hispanics to report about black people. Furthermore, it is a statistical fact that the majority of Hispanic immigrants coming to America are the uneducated ones. In terms of Mexico, the average Mexican has a high school education and may be bilingual. These are not the ones coming to the United States in record numbers. The ones coming the United States are the ones who can’t find employment in Mexico’s skilled jobs so they become America’s responsibility. I think this would have made a better story then a piecemeal study of African Americans. There was a blog that I read by a professor of African American Studies that actively questioned where the intellectuals were in the piece. CNN is establishing itself as a network who grabs people off of the street without the objectivity or the training to offer real opinions, in other words their experts just want to be on TV and have not offered any real body of research into a topic in terms of books, papers, prizes, etc. CNN is on the precipice of being Yellow!

  5. […] Link to another person who agrees to disagree on BLACK IN AMERICA […]


  7. Why is her momma’s face angled downward in this photo? How much love for her momma is she showing, by allowing THAT photo to be the cover shot???

  8. As a “hippy chick” I wonder how it is you got to be so racist.
    “…because they [Hispanic children] seem to possess an eerily race conciousness [the correct spelling is consciousness] at an early age that I find rather strange.” Whoa! I’m sure you (and your child) have interacted with no more that 20 Hispanic children (and I’m being generous), and with those few you judge them all! You don’t find find judging children as racist, RACIST?
    “… the problem of illegal immigrants crossing the border taking the jobs of citizens of all races.” Do you mean those jobs such as janitors, gardeners, maids, nannies, fry cooks, etc. that so many Whites, Blacks, and Asians want?
    “Even so daily we are barraged by the crimes that Hispanic immigrants commit not on each other Ie/ black on black crime……..but on the general American population.” Of course, Hispanics are the ONLY peoples who are committing crimes in America, or at least the majority of it. Right?
    “…but the other Hispanics from anywhere else seem to have a very real animus towards blacks I say all of this to say that Soledad’s documentary will not affect the way the majoity of Hispanics feel about blacks but will affect the way blacks and other races interact. No need for any insight there – straight-up racist.
    You finished your article by saying (and I’m laughing as I read this):
    “All of the above is said not to negate the fact that there is a problem in Black America but to say that documentaries CHARACTERIZING A WHOLE RACE ARE INAPPROPRIATE and impede the efforts of those who are trying to climb out of their situations.”
    Characterizing a whole race is inappropriate, you say? Like you characterized all Hispanic children?
    Hippy Chick (seriously), you attempted to make this article as your way of lambasting a documentary you saw that did not characterize Black people in a good light, but all you did was spout anti-Hispanic rhetoric. And if you honestly don’t think that what I’m saying is true, think about this: The thing that rubbed you the wrong way to begin with, what made you so irritated that you could not hold back your racism and wrote this article for all to see, was that a woman who is Black, White and HISPANIC dared to speak about her Black self and her experiences as such. Had she been just Black and White, maybe you would have given her a pass, but Black, White and HISPANIC?! Oh, hell no. That’s how much you seriously dislike Hispanics.
    Your first sentence: “I find it awfully ironic that Soledad Obrien chose to try to report on the black experience in America when she is of Hispanic descent.” So because of that Hispanic in her, she has no right? (I bet to you she doesn’t)
    Your second sentence – instant put down: “The honest truth is that if I had to report on a social problem in America at this moment it would be the problem of illegal immigrants crossing the border taking the jobs of citizens of all races.” You may think that what you said is a fact, but not only do “all races” DON’T want the jobs the illegals do, it was sharp, cold, untrue, and completely smacked of racism. Just your second sentence and already you start with the put downs. And all because a Black, White and Hispanic woman dared speak of her Black self.
    Hispanic children being “race conscious” and “having animus towards Black children” is not my reality, neither is it my children’s reality. My daughter is half Hispanic (from my husband’s side) and she is not the little racist you would paint her to be.
    You have a serious problem towards Hispanic people and I can only hope you realize this and do your best to change before your daughter grows up to be just like you – Racist.

    Oh and by the way, if college did not teach you how to write a decently worded article, and clearly they did not, at least make sure your spelling and grammar is o.k. by using the spell check button. My 12 year old half-Hispanic daughter can write better than you. Sheesh!

  9. It’s sad, American blacks really have a lot of issues. Please black people educate yourselves and learn to communicate. We have to love ourselves and overcome this wall of self hatred. You are still BLACK whether you were born in Cuba, America or any other country. Hispanic?

  10. I agree with the last point this writer makes. It is very difficut to assess a particular race’s attributes when we are all so different from each other. People differ regionally, culturally, spiritually, and that is true within races as well. Shows that try to pinpoint an entire race’s similarities and/or their issues don’t do those races any justice. Instead they end of stereotyping a group of people and not really getting to the cause of particular problems we face as a nation. Not all of us listen to Michael Baisden and not all of us have experienced inactive babies’ daddies. Of all people, Soledad O’Brien represents two “minority races” and she is very different from the stereotypical views of either. She, of all people, should understand the unique ways of individuals. As our populations grow and change, many races are meshing, and the stereotypes are diminishing. Let’s all just let them go!

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