I will be the first to admit that I have been one of the most critical people as it relates to Soledad O’Brien’s Black in America series for CNN. I really believe her heart is in the right place as far as the docu-series is concerned, but somehow the execution was the problem. Maybe she is restricted by doing it on CNN. I don’t know, but either way it left something to be desired as far as I am concerned. Honestly, I always thought the whole series was better suited for HBO with Spike Lee at the helm. The documentary he did on Hurricane Katrina was nothing short of masterful. I’m sure he would be able to provide a very in-depth look into being Black in America.
Now with that being said, I will admit that I am slightly intrigued by her new installment into the docu-series entitled, Who is Black in America.
In this new documentary, O’Brien is going to explore what makes one Black-identified. Some of the questions that will be asked are what does black look like? Who defines black? And why is there and argument – or disagreement at all – about who counts as black? Can someone choose to be black? Isn’t race assigned at birth just like gender? If race is a choice for some people, why pick black? Why not? What does your choice mean for your future? What does it mean for the future of your children?
Now don’t get me wrong, just based off those questions it appears as though this show is more slanted towards biracial people. There are a lot of us who don’t have a choice in the matter as far as our race is concerned. You know as soon as I walk in the room that I’m a black woman (and I’m damn proud of that), but for a lot of people they are constantly bombarded with the question, “What are you?”
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been asked this question a lot as well, but it’s mostly because some people have a hard time believing I’m American (well, that is until I open my mouth and that Southern drawl comes out…LOL!). I’ve been confused for being Panamanian, Nigerian, Brazilian, Dominican, and Haitian. Anywhere there are black people; people will assume I’m from there.
As a people we have to admit that this is one of those internal debates we’ve had for a very long time. A lot of it stems from the one drop rule in my opinion.
So who is Black?Soledad O'brien's “Who is Black in America?” premieres this Sunday at 8 PM ET/PT.