Thursday, July 31, 2008

One Of Us

I don't have cable nor do I watch television.  Instead I live through the screen on which I type.  I can faintly hear it whispering "you're one of us, one of us, one of us..."  Yeah.  Apparently I am.  I'm waiting for the Terminator prophecy to come true, and when it does, Skynet will have all of my shit because I do live my life through this.

Back on topic.

Since I don't watch television, I have not seen the "Black in America" series on CNN hosted by Soledad O'Brien.  Somebody asked me if I was watching it and I echoed my mother's sentiment -- I'm Black in America everyday, so...

The person who asked me seemed surprised that Soledad O'Brien was Black.  I knew she was from her first appearance on television because of her nappy edges.  But this person was truly taken aback.  "She doesn't look Black," the person said.

I sighed.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, expressed his feeling that any show that attempts to broadly categorize ("The Black Man," "The Black Woman and Family") a whole race is destined to fail.  Having also not seen the show, I'm reticent to kick in, but I get the point.  I am cocking my head as to why it's not "The Black Man and Family."  But again, I haven't seen it.

Racialicious has an excellent post picked up from The Black Snob about Ms. O'Brien.  The post references a message board on One Drop Rule (different from One Drop on Too Sense).

Self-identity is a personal thing, but apparently some folks are upset because they see Ms. O'Brien self-identifying in a convenient manner.  They feel she claims to be Black when it suits her and Irish when it suits her, Hispanic when it suits her and Multi-ethnic when it suits her.

To which I reply...

Yeah.  And?


  1. Anonymous11:18 AM

    You should watch the series. Once. I had many of the same objections to the categorizations until the series itself answered the q's. The Black Man episode was full of family. As a matter of fact, the whole backdrop of the series is the Rand Family.

    I think this series should be required viewing for any who espouses AfAm sensibilities or are trying to build same. Along with "When the Levees Broke", which Soledad also was in.

    As far as claiming convenient culture, it's the quid pro for the status quo: you're gonna get sweated for one or t'other each day when you're least thinking about it cause you're on the inside looking out, and well, you just forget until someone has the nerve to walk up to you and ask "Are you mixed, or what?"

    I go with the Marilyn view. Maybe multiculturalism is the new affluence or beauty... "you wouldn't marry for it, but it doesn't hurt"

  2. phoebe8:13 PM

    I feel the same way! "And?" Soledad can be whatever she wants! She is multicultural and should be proud of that.

    My little brother is both black and white and he wasn't allowed to claim one race to the exclusion of the other. My parents instilled pride in him for both races. And, trust me, he has had it rougher than most African Americans when it comes to racism. He has experienced racism from both black and white people, in spite of his racial pride.

    The documentary was very, very good. I thought there were many important points discussed and I wish it had been longer. There are so many things to discuss about being Black in America, not the least of which is what I feel to be a collective PTSD that is largely ignored. Yes, that's a different kettle-o-fish altogether.

    Anyway, I'm stepping back from the mic and getting back to my original point.

    I concur.