There needs to be Equal Opportunity when discussing issues affecting America. I remember a few years ago when CNN’s Soledad O’Brien did two deep-dive studies. One, Being Black in America and the other Being Hispanic in America.
The two sensational mini-documentaries focused on how blacks and Latinos have struggled in America. The pieces pointed out the good, the bad and the ugly. But I remember waiting for a third content-driven piece to flash across CNN. It never happened. I called CNN and actually sent Soledad an email asking her when can we expect to see Being White in America?
Her response was, ‘there are no plans to produce such a piece.’ I was like, really? I replied: You showed the many sides of blacks and Latinos in America, but you didn’t profile the most logical commonality, which is white America. The conversation ended. This has plagued me for years.
I’ve noticed that most times when there are close look miniseries or TV programs or even movies focusing on black pain, there’s never a hardcore focus on how white America has contributed to some of these very disturbing and disastrous occurrences. White America gets a pass in terms of showing how they’ve caused catastrophic tragedies in this country. And it’s been done all for either greed, bigotry, ignorance or all three!
There are always studies on black poverty, black dysfunction, black homelessness, black violence, black lack of education, etc… There was a recent article written about the life expectancy between blacks who live in urban communities versus whites who live in rural or “Alice in Wonderland” environments. But the main attention was focused on blacks not being……. whatever. There was very little attention on how and why black life has become so tainted through decades of racism caused by white bigots.
My last point, I was at an event yesterday, and this is pretty typical of these kinds of gatherings: It was called Advancing Economic Equity. There were blacks on the panel but it was attended by mostly whites. These blacks on the panel seemed afraid to mention the word “racism” when listing all the causes of economic inequity within urban communities.
Now, there were slight mentions of white America’s long history of racial oppression, but it was a soft step. I decided to remain quiet on this outing, but it bothered me that these four black panelists didn’t attack the concerted industry of bigotry. Again, there was one main point made by a panelist that I thought gave me pleasure but it was noticeable that maybe these blacks didn’t want to disturb the present apple cart.
I’ve decided that I’ll not engage in any more one-sided panels, summits, or conferences that do not ask the question or bring attention to white America’s massive role in urban poverty, police brutality, unemployment, housing disadvantages, false imprisonment, workplace prejudice, inadequate schools, etc. The focus cannot be on blacks and their inability to progress in America without bringing much-needed attention and admittance by white liberals or conservatives who’ve used institutional racism to stagnate the progressive flow of black lives that matter.
This is an issue that needs to draw just as many headlines as urban violence. We cannot continue having post discussions about black dysfunction while not focusing on how white America has caused the majority of the ills affecting not only black America but America. White America has to accept this reality and attempt to have an open and real dialogue. It’s imperative! White America must speak out against white America!