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July 26th, 2008
02:57 PM ET

Overcoming setbacks from color

Program Note: In the next installment of CNN's Black in America series, Soledad O'Brien examines the successes, struggles and complex issues faced by black men, women and families, 40 years after the death of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch encore presentation Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m. ET


We devote several days on the blog to smart insight and commentary related to the special.

_____________________________________________________
Michael Heard
CNN Producer

I had the fortunate opportunity to help produce the “Black Man” project for 'Black in America.' The pressure behind the scenes to illustrate the black experience was high. As you can imagine, everyone has their own opinion and everyone wanted to see this documentary succeed.

I introduced a character named Corey Mackie who has a difficult time finding employment. Despite his good qualifications, employers wouldn't hire him, nor would they give him a reason why. It’s a story often overlooked and difficult to illustrate, so a hidden camera was used to help give viewers insight.

I’ve personally experienced situations like Corey’s where I didn’t get feedback or the job.
I’ve never been called the “N” word, but I’ve often questioned subtle racism.

I also grew up in the projects of New York City and managed to finish college- that gave me connections to internships and other opportunities.

Corey’s setback, and many others like him, includes the absence of networks – Having family or friends who have gone to college before him and may be in hiring positions, or internships that lead to opportunities.

Thankfully Corey found an organization dedicated to helping residents in the inner city overcome this handicap. It’s called ERDA (East River Development Alliance).

I’m proud of CNN for their trailblazing programming on Black in America. And, I’m also enjoying the dialogue it is generating.

I look forward to being a part of much more.


Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Black in America
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. J.V.hodgson

    DEAR ANDERSON,
    The fact that you still have to have a one week long debate in programs re blacks or others tells all!! Negatively!!
    Racism, ethnic divides and secularism are alive and well and kicking in America, unfortunately.
    In your Amreican multi racial multi ethinic and secular society why is it a surprise that such people will vote, black, hispanic, muslim or islamic, jews, catholic or secular interests in accord with their own personal or religious beliefs, or thier economic or social best interests, depending on what the presumptive presidential nominees say is their policy.
    Consequently in America you can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.
    In todays complex global religious ,ethnic and secular world ( being black is irrelevant. In Africa India and Japan) (( albeit for diferent reasons)) and so it should be in America but is not.
    I am white, christian, X nationality but have succeeeded in Europe, Asia, US and to some degree the middle east by simply accepting the differences religious, cultural, or any otherwise.
    It is called TOLERANCE and RESPECT even though I might disagree especially with local religious and cultural views.
    On balance I have more friends than enemies or people who feel oppresed or uncomfortable rightly or wrongly by my attitude.
    Minorities will always lead in the claims of unfair treatment in any democracy wherever thank god, and so may it continue.
    Let those issues be decided simply fairly ,reasonably, and not based on colour of skin, religious belief, ethnic or secular differences but basic simple humanity, that we are all equal and not the cynicism that yes that's true, it's just that some of us are more equal than others!!
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    July 28, 2008 at 8:08 am |
  2. sunitha

    Congratulations to CNN for a wonderful Documentary like this.I really loved the whole story about MLK. Hope you will have similar high quality programmes in the future too.

    Sunitha Charles San Ramon ,CA

    July 28, 2008 at 6:41 am |
  3. John Harmon

    Race is a factor. Always has been and always will be. Lincoln himself once said Whites and Blacks would always be a Burdon on each other. Its actually a fact of nature people...... same as the old saying birds of a feather flock together. If you cant change it then accept it and move on with life..... life is actually what you make of it anyway.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:18 am |
  4. llonzo1

    I believe that dialogue has its place. But when a culture continues to experience shortcomings despite the advances that it makes in society, then it is time to focus that energy within that culture exclusively in order to raise the socioeconomic, financial, self-empowerment and unification of that culture from within.

    It is impossible in 2008 to expect an outsider no matter how much they emulate and revere that culture to assist in achieving that culture's full potential and dominance. Other cultures, whether you want to believe this or not, are looking for you to show them the way. It is imperative that you understand how powerful AA are and can be once they discover the key that unlocks their true power. Everyone else knows this but the AA (African-American) come together and realize it.

    In the beginning when our ancestors were brought over as slaves, we were welcomed into this society with open arms because Europeans and Indians were not strong enough to do the labor required to create the economic powerhouse that is America. An ignorant few created the N- word, the media picked up on it and from that point on we were villified in the media despite that fact that we were and are superior in every way (morally, physically, spiriitually, and mentally) don't be fooled by the propogranda that is the media it's all lies understand that and evolve to your true status.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:37 am |
  5. Aubrey Hill

    I would like to see what others feel about experiences or racism within the military. I am a Dentist and former Major of the United States Army. I attended a historically black university for my graduate degree. After the initial excitement of serving my country and excelling within the military, I found I was scrutinized, demeaned, and outright discriminated against for being black and from a Historically Black University. I found that if you were not towing the same "party-line" as your white counter-parts in regards to politics, race, and other issues your carreer could be doomed. It seemed to me that the military is far behind the rest of the country in regards discrimination and race.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:02 am |
  6. Christine

    It appears, from the comments, that many Americans don't understand why a TV series that focuses specifically on the Black population is even relevant today. Perhaps someone can explain why for those who see anything labeled "Black" (Black History Month, BET, Black in America, black fraternities, etc.) as "racist." It might help build bridges of understanding.

    July 28, 2008 at 12:27 am |
  7. Donna from Illinois

    Dear Michael,
    As part of the production staff of this series, how could you have allowed this show to be aired as is? If most of what you presented is negative, and it is, then how could you not address the issues that put Black Americans in the plight we now find ourselves in? And why is so much of it negative? I just returned from DC, where my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha just celebrated 100 years of service to all mankind. Sadly, we were one of many, many people, programs and positives that were left out. of Soledad's series. In light of this, why not invite Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority to tell the story of being Black in America on (on a CNN series) ? I'm certain we would have a more fair and balanced approach. Please consider.

    July 27, 2008 at 11:51 pm |
  8. Eric S. Dean

    Stop perpetuating racism through the media. I have yet to see a church painted black and all votes for either candidate are American votes. As for my race, I am human, what are you?

    July 27, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
  9. Anna

    Dear Anderson I dare you to bring this up. My frustration is why does a black man have to have skills for an overnight stock position while the a non black is hired on the spot. Furthermore a black man who went to a private school, no criminal record (with school loan he has to pay back) applied for a job, then did an over the phone interview, was given an appointment to come over to the office; but when he showed up the HR personal was shocked to see him "BLACK". he was told the person he was about to meet is unavaible and they will call him back. It's been 9months.

    July 27, 2008 at 8:32 pm |
  10. Ricky Kendall

    I would like you to know thaat their is two sides to every storie.I have enjoyed every show you have put on the air yet,if the sides were reversed you have to realize the prejudice goes both ways.My mom,whom I love so very dearly,left my father for a black man that just happened to be both my coach and my mentor.Growing for me was hard to.My days often contained being called my mom is a niger lover.The only reason I feel that I can use that term is I am not prejudice in any way yet that is how NY percieved my dear mom at that time.Imagine me a sports success,getting good grades ,yet having to deal with this on a daily basis.I don't blame my mom in any way as a matter of fact I love her new husband ,that just so happen's to be black,yet he is a great role model.GOOD ROLE MODELS HAVE NO COLOUR!He has made both me and my father realize that it is not the colour of your skin but what substance you pertray in the public and private lives of who you touch!

    There is alot more to this story;
    I do congratulate you for bring this racism to the public ;I just wish you would show both sides.

    How about the poor white child that gets a 4.0 gpa yet can't get the scholarsip she so desperately needs bec ause a black child recieved it with a 3.25?

    Iloves CNN;
    Rick

    July 27, 2008 at 8:24 pm |
  11. Eddie

    There are many stories of success and achievement in the black community and those need to be celebrated and exposed. But, there are far too many stories of people or are left behind or denied access to the chances for success. I know that many of us who succeed blaze trails for ourselves but there are things in our paths that stand out and make differences. I have a few in my past that, when I reflect upon them, turned out to be real "forks in the road" or opportunities to make very bad choices.

    I can remember High School where I achieved a very high level of success but I was tired of carrying this banner of "the successful black kid." I had a girlfriend who wasn't planning on going anywhere and would have been content to graduate from HS (maybe), get a mediocre job and have a few kids. We even talked about just moving to Mexico since I speak fluent spanish and with my HS education and the few skills I had, I could carve out an average existence there and just live life. I was at a crossroads and ready to throw in the towel. One day my counselor suggested to me that I apply for a scholarship that would take me to Valley Forge, PA and Washington DC to study American History. I made the choice to do so not because I really wanted to but because others expected me to. I was tired of doing what was expected of me. So, very frustratedly, I wrote an essay and submitted it. After the interview process, the time for notification was to take a week but I was called that evening with a scholarship offer. During that conversation with the Head administrator, she expressed to me how very impressed with me she was. That was a game changer. I went on the trip and everything changed. I dropped the girlfriend and my path was corrected and solidified.

    I could have very easily taken the easier path but I didn't. I could have also argued that society beat me down but I didn't. I could have argued that life was harder for me because of my race. I didn't. I was given a chance and thankfully, I did. We just have to make sure that more kids are offered that chance and encouraged to take them.

    We have come a long way but we can only go further if we put ourselves to work. I have faith...

    July 27, 2008 at 8:05 pm |
  12. Carduci Martini

    "Black in America " is one of the most facinating documentaries I have ever seen. Having said that, I think "BET" would do the African American community a big favor if it were to play the documentary in its network. Only a small number of blacks watch CNN, at least the most educated ones. I know for a fact that the vast majority of black households watch only "BET" or some sport channels. Rarely they have their tv set to CNN or other Channels that provide more educational programs. I really think that that eye-opening documentary would hit a larger black audience if it were to play on "BET" or "MTV" for that matter. I really think that would make a big difference in the way Blacks conduct themselves. As a Black myself, I really think "BET" should start airing some programs that are more educational in nature rather than promoting Gansta raps with their sexually explicite videos. I think rap music has a detrimental effect in the society as whole. Again thumbs up to you CNN for that documentary!

    July 27, 2008 at 7:39 pm |
  13. Paul

    My wife and I watched the series and were extremely disappointed. We both feel that we are "Americans" without any sort of label attached. We achieve based on our hard work and merit, and not how we label ourselves in order to to qualify for hand-outs, or hand-ups. Prosperity is not a birthright.

    Unfortunately, the civil rights movement has stalled. That is a fact.

    It brought issues of ethnic discrimination to the fore, and provided a basis for other types of discrimination to be addressed (religion, disability, age, etc). But the dramatic progress experienced in the 1960's has been eclipsed.

    Indeed, many Blacks in America perceive that the civil rights movement is and was about providing them success and prosperity and not about providing a level playing field for working towards success and prosperity. They have unjustly taken ownership of the concepts of prejudice and discrimination.

    We look forward to future specials on CNN that will address the challenges of being a senior citizen, or disabled, or of another demographic that experiences discrimination .

    July 27, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  14. Misha

    Mr Cooper, and all involved in this production, I'm really glad cnn aired such informative program on CNN. I'm of Mixed race, but I find it really really interesting, because, I didn't grow up in America, at all. I recently arrived in America. I was raised half of my life in west africa, and the other half in all white europe. Unfortunately, I have had only lots of love in Africa, than compared to my Sad unfriendliness and hatred in Eastern europe against me as a dark person. Here in america, I think it boils down to other events in history within here in america, like slave trade, the 60s, seggregation, and now in 2008 its hard for an african american to just forget all that. One has to be simply educated enough that ..the color SHOULD not matter and not say...the color DOES not matter.

    July 27, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  15. Matthew

    So when will we be getting our "White in America" series? Or even a "Yellow in America" series. How is it that CNN believes that African-Americans have a monopoly on being discriminated against?

    July 27, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  16. Ellie B

    I would like to thank CNN and everyone behind the scenes for Black in America.Thank you Soledad good work.I am of mixed race from the United Kingdom i think my experience of race is slightly different from the American experience,but thank you for the insight.

    July 27, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  17. gill

    What isn't commented on is the African Americans that have jobs and have to perform so much better than their white counterparts for less pay. I can use my situation as an example: I perform my function that my job description calls for and I am looked to perform duties as the maintenance man and network adminstrator as well only to earn a third of what my white counterpart earns. This is a subtle form of discrimination where yes the company I work for hires Blacks, but pays them less and demands more than our white counter parts.

    While I do defend this company because it does give opportunities to those who may not have the degree's and education to get positions else where, but if we perform over and above those who do have the degree's and education then rewards/pay should be commenserate with performance and not potential.

    The election of a black president willnot change the mind set that allows this unfair pay practice to continue. I personally heard the president of the company state:

    Blacks dont need that much money, they'll only waste it on cars and houses and not invest it.

    This type of stereotypical thinking from my white employer is indicative of what I feel is the standard and not the exception and the inequity in pay between Blacks and Whites will not be seen as a problem.

    Gill

    July 27, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  18. teresa

    I am so sick and tiered of hearing about how bad black people have it in life. Do you honestly think there is no racism toward whites? Do you think that all white people have it so easy? Do you think I can wake up in the morning and feel like a million dollars? No, I am a white mother of four children and I didn't hear anything on that program that doesn't apply to the society I live in. I am a poor white person praying to God everyday to help me to get though the day and keep me on the right road. I have a sister who has this great job . I think this is crazy to think that blacks have it any better or any worse then the whites. I do realize that this story is based on the black society , but tell me when are people going to get it staight? We as whitesdo not have life handed to us and we must still work just as hard as anybody else in order to make it though life on a daily bases.

    July 27, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  19. GP

    I am wondering why you seem to think it is unusual for someone to have to search for over a month to find a job, to not be called back by a prospective employer for an interview, and to be paid only a little over minimum wage, especially for someone who is has not been out of high school very long....all of these experiences have been mine too. My next door neighbor is much older than Corey, and has now been unable to find a job for over one year, yet we are both white. I looked for over eight months before being hired at my present job, which seems fairly normal, and I looked for months while trying to any job in the past. It also took a few years for me to advance beyond 'just above minimum wage'. but not by much. To your credit, you did show Corey getting a job, and later a second job- I felt glad for him- but he accomplished this a much shorter time than it ever had taken me to find one. I am just wondering if there is another purpose to this kind of presentation- what segment of your audience are you trying to influence, and why- especially during an election year?

    July 27, 2008 at 1:37 pm |
  20. Austin

    Webster’s Dictionary defines racism as… The prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races. Discriminatory or abusive behaviors towards members of another race…
    In society today it is the consensus among White Americans that racism is nonexistent. That in fact is a blatant misconception! Racism is alive and quite well in the United States. It is true that the color of ones skin does in some aspects determine where a person of color works and lives. I applaud those Black Americans that have broken thru the “glass ceiling” in Corporate America…. Yet there are a million more Black Americans that can’t get thru the door of Corporate America and have attempted to do so very diligently. The door was closed shut on Black Americans when Affirmative Action was dissolved and no longer mandatory. Companies do not have to account for how many Blacks and Whites and Hispanics etc., which they are required to hire. Qualified people of color have been turned down because of skin color. It is something that is not verbally stated, but a practice that goes on in Corporate America everyday. For White America to deny and neglect to consider the fact that racism still exist is a blatant form of denial.. Just because Black Americans are now allowed to use the public restrooms and have the freedom to go and come where they please does not negate the fact that there are still racial barriers that exist. Racism in the United States is now “Underlined racism.” Consider the “Redlining” within the mortgage industry. Consider the predominantly White colleges that very few Black Americans attend. Consider the health care and insurance issues that more Black Americans face than White Americans. Factually…just take a look at the number of employees that are Black Americans in major corporations and do a ratio determinant of race and the numbers will speak for themselves.. Black America is not asking for a “hand out.” Just a chance to have the equal opportunity and not have to face any barriers or stereotypes because of skin color. What makes the color White superior anyway? “Fortunately, white aint always right…” Everyone should realize that “Black is Beautiful!”

    July 27, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  21. dwanda

    As always the media spits out a bunch of propaganda about the black community. Poverty is a state of mind and usually has little to do with money or wealth. Many people have lot of money but have a very poor state of mind; and values that are poor. People who value things/money are poor. The accumulation of things or money does not equal success or a successful life

    Kids care about and copy their parents. Rap music movies and so called celebrities have very little to do with who we grow up to be. Kids want to please their parents. Parent set expectations. Values are set by parents if a parent does not expect a child to do well or tells their children they will fail the children will fail. As the female professor on your show says most blacks or for that matter low income people no matter what color are law abiding, hard working and want a happy successful lives for their families. However the media thinks those stories do not sell or get good ratings. You show present stories that present young black men as criminals. The most criminal acts in this country are not committed by black men. That is my experience. As Senator Obama said you folks would have “me afraid of me”

    I grew up in New York City in East Harlem Wagner Housing in the late 60s. As a child growing up there I went to school with people whose background include Irish, Porto Rican, Cuban, Polish and black American to include West Indian, Mexican and Canadian. When drugs and crime moved into our community we moved to a safer area of the country. We were able to move because we made a lot of sacrifices to include not eating a lot of the junk food people eat. We ate beans and grew our own vegetables (as I do now) The woman you wasted time talking about finding a gun easier than finding healthy food stated she has to travel so far to find good food. Well she should buy a bag of dirt and a pot and grow fresh food. Stop giving your power away. Stop having blinders on.

    That job of recruiter of school drop outs; I did that same job in rural North Carolina in one the wealthiest counties in the state. I traveled to the homes of these kids. I was so afraid to get of my car at some of the places because my car was covered with the resident flies and pest over ran the area. The dilapidated home I went to had beer bottles and trash to meet me at the door. The young man I was looking for answered the door dressed in a bed sheet appearing to just have awakened at 10:00AM another man in the home was drinking a beer. This family was white. I recruited several kids into the return to school program. Each was white and each was in living in conditions similar to that I just outlined above. By continuing to seek out the poor in spirit folks to represent the black community just continues to promote fear and ignorance. Black people do not own ignorance and poor spirits. Low-income people do not own criminal behavior. Please stop holding our country back with your lies and half truths. Please use your powers for GOOD.

    July 27, 2008 at 12:06 pm |
  22. Pryce Watkins

    Wow... that is what happens when you see something that moves you to comment in the wee hours of the morning.... without proofreading. Sad commentary for a teacher. But I stand by the substance of my comments. It was a beautifully done piece, and I was moved! And it moved me to comment! I promise to proofread this one before submitting.

    July 27, 2008 at 10:40 am |
  23. Indigo

    Victimology. I have read so many of these comments on a myriad of issues and it seems like there is still so much victimology in these feedback comments. There is certainly racism in Ameica today, both black and white. But in many urban areas, the entire system is set up cater to blacks.
    I grew up in DC and the ENTIRE power structure was black, from the teachers in school, to the police officers and chief of police, to the city council, to the mayor. Crime flourished in DC, it was the murder capital. The mayor smoked crack, snorted cocoaine, indulged in prostitutes, and cheated the taxpayers out of billions. Many of the blacks got welfare and free handout jobs from the mayor. The rest of the blacks had government jobs which were protected from discrimination and they will retire in 30yrs having never had to compete for a job.
    All along, they claimed there was all this racism in the world and that racism was stopping them from succeeding and this was their only was to succeed in some hypothetical "white system" (even though everyone was black).
    Now, Jamaicans and Nigerians are flooding DC. Within a year of getting here, they are running their own construction companies and businesses, they own houses, and they are wildly surpassing their black American counterparts.
    How is this!?
    If racism is such a daunting factor...why didnt their skin color (which by the way is much darker than black Americans) stop them from succeeding?
    The truth is hard to swallow. It has to do with work ethic and shunning victimology. These Jamaicans and Nigerians don't buy into victimology. They work hard, They earn a living. They strive to succeed. And sadly, a lot of them ask me "What is wrong with American blacks!?"
    Wake up and smell the coffee. It is time to stop wallowing in self pity and victimology. I would rather have "shades of racism" displayed towards me than have half my family and friends murdered and raped by thug criminals who show blatent racism towards whites (even though I am not) and every time I walk by they shout racist comments at me, throw rocks, and pull out guns, trying to goad me into combat.
    If you havent gone to school in DC public schools all your life as the lone "white kid" and feared for your life on a daily basis as you were robbed, attacked, beaten, shot at, and had your whole family experience the same, don't talk to me about "subtle shades of racism."

    July 27, 2008 at 9:49 am |
  24. N. Shele

    I am black in America, I am thoroughly convinced that oppression is a way to control the fear, and jeolousy that white people have for us. White people have made it a way of life. Prejudice is OK for them. I have made it ok for me as well. You can get past it, if you get over it. I stare predjudice in the face and laugh at those that try to beat me down with it. I will not let their prejudice effect me, what most white people don't understand is we as black people are raised with the same prejudices. My dad said , I better not bring a white man home, I was teased by my peers for dating outside my race. My Grandmother said she would not accept mixed Grandchildren. My parents countered all their insults, I grew up hearing that white people smell like wet dogs, that they sleep with their cousins, and how most white men are child molesters, or serial killers. I had to grow up and find out for myself what other races are like. So, my advice to all is grow up.

    July 27, 2008 at 6:03 am |
  25. Pryce Watkins

    As a white teacher in a predominately black school for almost ten years, I believe that not only would Barack Obama be the best thing for this country; but he would be a liberating force for good to not only young marginalized black students, but all minority students as well. This would prove once and for all that America respects all her people. It would be such a sence of pride that I believe we would see not only a better race relationship with all minorities in this country, but a message to all our children that they can do it. Black, brown, white, and red children can be anything they want to be if they are willing to work for it. And America wants them to succeed, no one is trying to hold anyone back. We are first and foremost we are all Americans. We are many cultures come together to form one nation. All for one and one for all. What a liberating message not only for U.S. of America, but for the world. I believe that Obama's reception on this tour proves that fact! As well, this may not be the forum, but I wish people would stop spouting the polls when they were before the Obama's trip. Can someone please make that fact clear when they are talking about polls? Thank for this program. It is good for everyone to understand each other. The Black community is changing for the better. Let us all try to help where we can. Every child in this country is worthwhile. Once they truly begin to realize that, they will surprise everyone. We have to let them know that we care!

    July 27, 2008 at 4:36 am |
  26. missanna

    I didn't like the special. I found that it focused too much on Stereotypes, comparing blacks to whites or comparing upper and lower class blacks. These types of comparisons happen all the time. It failed to address how Blacks are affected by social and economic systems and government in America. Instead, it pits one group against the other.

    For example, how was the black community affected by Vietnam? Drug use and single parent homes began to be a problem after the war, as Veterans returned to our community. We are still impacted today and are slow to recover from this. This was a government failure. How have the policies improved with the present war and will it have the same impact?

    How are lower class families affected by welfare? The system offers support to single women but it doesn't offer support to the family. It actually promotes men leaving the home. Is it possible that it can do both? This is done for Military families. They receive more support if they are married, not less. Or better, instead of welfare, why don’t we consider eliminating income tax and the Federal Reserve? These questions are not asked.

    How does the high incarceration rate of black men for non violent offenses, affect the crime rate, the rate of AIDs in the black community, and the state of the black family? Do these policies help anyone except for the criminal justice system?

    Standards are lower in the American education system for all Americans; whites score better in comparison to Blacks but not in comparison to students in other countries. I don't think its good enough to compare us to other Americans in respect to education. The system of education needs to be drastically reformed.

    As lower and middle class Blacks, our problems are not attributed to other Americans; we need to reform the systems that bind us all.
    Including, our corporate owed media, this is failing us all as well by keeping us pitting against one another.

    Shows like this reinforce stereotypes and they fall short of the bigger picture. You can never resolve these issues if you only focus the blame on "racism" or the notion that you are under "privileged". This is equivalent to fighting a War on Terror. It can’t be fought this way. There are remedies if we can cease being divided and clearly see the source of our predicament. Our policies and government intervention has failed us. It is a myth that we do not have control and that we are intrinsically the source of all of our problems.

    The key is to turn of the television and educate yourself; understand our constitution, the proper role of government, and greater political participation and activism on an individual level and not at the behest of a "savior". This is urgent because our political system, government and economic systems are extremely corrupt.

    July 27, 2008 at 2:50 am |
  27. Jay C. Williams

    I want to thank CNN and Soledad O’Brien for the excellent series, "Black in America." I must say as a Black Man from New York City, I too have been through, and experienced my share of difficulty.

    I had both parents in the household; however, they did not prepare me for the discrimination and struggle which awaited me after high school. I can only say that if you really want to understand what it feels like to be Black in America, go Black Face for one day. Go into White and Black communities and feel the despair.

    If there is a lack of positive male influences, the likelihood of a vicious cycle for Black Men will perpetuate. Not an excuse, but just the mirrored reality of what you will experience in Blackface, is the experience and our reality every day we live.

    The strongest of us with balance, education, two good parents, faith, self determination, are still broke down into stereotypes.
    Many of us don't care what people say or think of us. We just want the same respect of any other human being.
    If you can't find a job, do like I did, create your own and work for yourself.

    July 27, 2008 at 1:42 am |
  28. Danielle R Stewart

    I just finished watching the Black in America encore presentation. I had mixed feeling about the part on single mothers. Dont get me wrong I know that there are single mothers out there that are struggling but all of them are not struggling. Take me for example I am 23 and I am a single mother of one and I am not poor or uneducated. I am a petty officer in the US Coast Guard I am finishing up my degree in education and preparing to buy my first house . I came from a middle class home with a mother and a father both college graduates and I dont feel like I fit into what they showed. I felt more resemblence to the single professionals they showed. There are single mothers that are professionals who are not out ther struggling to pay the rent. I just felt like I wanted to see both sides of it. If maybe they showed both sides of it, it would have been a little better rounded. People watching would assume that all single black mothers are uneducated poor and from single family homes themselves which just isnt true. The single mothers that I know in my family are all college graduates and all there children are college graduates ranging from doctors and lawyers to game designers.

    But I understand there are time constraints but I just wanted to but it out there that there are young professional single mothers who are just as successful as those without children.

    Overall I enjoyed the program and it allowed the ability to address some issues and talk with my co-workers about them.

    July 27, 2008 at 1:40 am |
  29. Rosie

    I am yet trying to understand the purpose for this particular type of documentary. How is it possible that the white world could have lived in the same space with the black world, but know so little about them? Is it that we were seen as being such a small part of this country, until our presence were as robots? Let me tell you why the white world do not know nor understand the black world. It is because the history, of the people of color, has been kept out of the many class rooms. Had the history of the people of color, been made a part of the school curriculum, the white world would be as familiar with the cultural, of the people of color, as we are with their history. But if the white world want to learn about the people of color, what we need is a full scale American History, put in every classroom across America.
    It hurt me to say this, but when this documentary is completed, the make-up of the people of color, will still remain the same, and that which divides us will also remain the same. It will remain the same until we see each other with our heart's eye, rather than our flesh eye. For then, and only then, will the love of God awaken our emotions, and tears begin to run down our face. Because at long last, the white world will be able to admit that what was done to the people of color, was and is still wrong, and the people of color will be able to cry tears of relief, not only for ourselves, but for our ancestor's before us. For at last the white world will have admitted that we, too are human being's, who have feelings, and know when we are not being treated with human equality. I speak these words, not in anger, but as one who has lived 68 years of being black in America, waiting on the two worlds to come together and become "one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all". But we will never reach this goal, until we put on the garment of love, for love worketh repentance. Some say well it was not my doing, well it was not for Jesus sin that he sacrificed his life, but he gave his life anyway. What motivated him?LOVE.

    July 27, 2008 at 12:48 am |
  30. Teresa Riddle

    Soledad,

    I am an African-American female, retired middle school principal. I thought your show was brilliant. You covered every issue dealing with blacks in America. My family and I spend a lot of time discussing these issues. I have a twenty-seven year old daughter who was a third generation college grad and now she will be the first in our family to earn a doctoral degree. We believe in being successful in spite of the racism which we have occasionally met in our society.

    One thing I wish you had discussed in the two shows was birth control. Why is it that black women do not use birth control? I am appalled at having children out of wedlock. We know five children from college educated parents who have children out of wedlock. I just don't understand. These young people are not poor; some are even college educated. Don't they understand what a burden they are putting on their children?

    Thank you for being a star and making all of us proud.

    Teresa Riddle

    July 26, 2008 at 11:39 pm |
  31. Austin

    Websters Dictionary defines racism as... The prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races. Discriminatory or abusive behaviors towards members of another race...
    In society today it is the concensus among White Americans that racism is nonexistent. That in fact is a blatant misconception! Racism is alive and quite well in the United States. It is true that the color of ones skin does in some aspects determine where a person of color works and lives. I appauld those Black Americans that have broken thru the "glass ceiling" in Corporate America.... Yet there are a million more Black Americans that can't get thru the door of Corporate America and have attempted to do so very diligently. The door was closed shut on Black Americans when Affirmative Action was dissolved and no longer mandatory. Companies do not have to account for how many Blacks and Whites and Hispanics etc., that they are required to hire. Qualified people of color have been turned down because of skin color. It is something that is not verbally stated, but a practice that goes on in Corporate America everyday. For White America to deny and neglect to consider the FACT that racism still exist is a blatant form of denial.. Just because Black Americans are now allowed to use the public restrooms and have the freedom to go and come where they please does not negate the fact that there are still racial barriers that exist. Racism in the United States is now "Underlined racism." Consider the "Redlining" within the mortgage industry. Consider the predominantly White colleges that very few Black Americans attend. Consider the health care and insurance issues that MORE Black Americans face than White Americans. Factually...just take a look at the number of employees that are Black Americans in major corporations and do a ratio determinent of race and the numbers will speak for themselves.. Black America is not asking for a "hand out." Just a chance to have the equal opportunity and not have to face any barriers or stereotypes because of skin color. What makes the color White superior anyway? "Fortunately, white aint always right..." Everyone should realize that "Black is Beautiful!"

    July 26, 2008 at 10:49 pm |
  32. Karen

    The documentary was excellent. I can defiinitely relate to several scenarios in this documentary. One factor that I noticed is that the black men in the documentary that were successful tended to be lighter in complexion and spoke the King's English very well. I believe that an inner city urban dialect used while speaking (some refer to as ghetto) does affect a person's chances of getting a job. You can be dressed well but if you don't speak well, some employers equate that with your intelligence. It breaks my heart to see the high drop out rate of black teens from high school. I am still trying to figure out why so many more black women are completing their education and black men aren't. Its sad that we as blacks had to fight for the opportunity to go to school, and now that we can, so many choose not to go. The documentary touched on the AIDS crisis in the black community and I wished that they also talked about the obesity crisis that affects close to 80 percent. I guess that would be another show. I would also like to see a show on educating blacks people about not hating on or being jealous of people that are moving ahead or have their act together. This hatred that some blacks do to others is also separating us as it did during slavery. I know that wasn't our fault and was a psychological game to keep blacks from uniting, but its time to stop the cycle of this behavior. Overall, I enjoyed the documentary and think they did an excellent job.

    July 26, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  33. Lamont Austin

    Overall I think the show is awesome although what i would like to see is caucasian people who observe these problems and recognize what there forefathers done to us, Ive heard many people say "it wasnt me (white person) that caused slavery, no it wasnt, but the things that were established to keep us in slavery then still has en effect on us now for instance the lack of respect for authority, people of authority then and now treat black people different have you seen policeman getting together against police brutality on black people? no.

    Why dont I just tell the truth, our (mankind) struggle with power still keeps us in the primitive stages of life and existance while one country struggles to get nuclear weapons another country tries to prevent more being made, while one continent struggles to eat another waste food and it seems to me that when a blackman(Obama) tries to change the country for good a white man (Mccain) still tries to down play a blackmans efforts for positive change at a time when we all should know it is strongly needed.
    Its been 40yrs since MLK was brutally murdered and 40yrs since i was born, I have no kids and Ive always felt that i didnt want to bring a child into this type of world and left it in gods hands, on august 29 my fiance will have her and my first child, he will be half black and half white, Im starting to feel its the perfect time to have a child now, that is if Obama becomes president. Having a role model like Obama does give me hope that my son wont have to go through what I did, so I truly feel that Obama will be president, it is time for change...

    Lamont Austin Tucson Az

    July 26, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  34. Leslie

    I have been watching this series and everything on the news because of Barack Obama runnning for president. I think that things will only change when people just see each other as people. I am voting for Barack because I agree with his policies and don't care about his color. I don't see people as black or white just as good or bad. However, I find myself wondering...why is it okay for blacks to have BET? Whites don't have WET. Why are there churches who are focused only on blacks? I have been to many white churches and they never talk about color..just about God and the Bible. Why is there an African American Caucus? There is no White American Caucus. If there were these kind of things for whites, whites would be accused of being racial. If Afican Americans want to be Americans.....If Spanish Americans want to be Americans, they need to stop using their race as an excuse. They need to stop expecting to point out they are different and then expect to not be treated like they are different. There should be no BET or WET or SET...It should just be AET (American Entertainment Television)....period! My children have friends of many colors...I don't see them as black, white, brown, yellow...just as people. They are all welcome in our home as long as they chose to behave in a polite fashion. They act like respectable people and they are therefore treated like respectable people...regardless of color.

    July 26, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  35. kay, Huntsville, AL

    I agree with Robbin. I am Native American/ European from both my Mother and Fathers side. I know women from the 1800's that married white men to keep from being sent away on the trail of tears. I was shocked when I saw my Great Grandmothers grave without her Native name on it and only initials! E.G.- sounds like something a man uses for a name. She had a beautiful name but I can see why they hid it. I saw a TV program lately about how some Native Americans still don't have electricity or running water. That is just sad in the United States. We should all be able to have the basic necessities. Even though I have a high education and a good job people do tend to give me a weird "Look" sometimes when they find out I am mixed with Native American. There is still a lot of discrimination everywhere. I am not ashamed of what I am nor ever will be. God made me what I am and that is good enough for me. I am just sorry for people who can not love others or respect them just because of the color of their skin. God Bless the hard working people of America – No matter what color they are!

    July 26, 2008 at 10:22 pm |
  36. carmen

    I have a black son-in-law and I am a white, well eduacted "FAT" female. We both share similar stories re employment. How people look in America really does matter. (.I have unsucessfully tried to be thin all my life). This is very sad but true fact of 2008!!!

    July 26, 2008 at 10:05 pm |
  37. Louis

    I think the most important question about your CNN series is: Why is it important that whites understand what it is like to be Black in America? I was raised and thoroughly understand what it is like to be white in America. I grew up when the only images I saw on early TV were Elvis Pressley, the Beatles, Ozzie and Harriet, Father knows Best and all the other sit-coms of problem free life. The only Black images, were Little Richard, blacks being arrested in the news, maybe a few other song and dance acts. My black mother and father hid from me the fact that we couldn't move into the new suburban development on Long Island and had to settle for a segregated development further east. They hid the fact that they had problems finding well paying jobs (had to work more than one job), or that going to college was not a choice, it was the only chance I would ever have of getting any kind of decent job. They also hid the fact that even with a college education, there would be ceilings preventing me from rising too far. That systemic racism would disguise itself with cronyism, sexism and political affiliation and loyalty. The point I am trying to make is that I have been emerged in White America. I have been fed White in America. I continue to live in White America and have to understand whites in America, if I forget, I am rudely reminded. I have no choice. I have never had a choice not to understand what it is to be white in America. Whites in America have enslave us, murdered us, manipulated us and conditioned us to be subservient; and to think less of ourselves. Consequently, we have an enormous anxiety, anger, fear and depression that has caused much self destruction in the form of drug and alcohol use, bad eating habits and other untreated problems (there is fear in treating the problems because we would have to rely on the very white dominated system that caused the problems). Whites have the choice of understanding what it is like to be Black in America, or not understand. Most, including those who consider themselves progressive liberals don't want to know what its like to be black. They are simply not interested. Why would they want to know, unless it really mattered to them socially, economically or in some way that would make it important for them to care. I wouldn't necessarily want to know what its like to be white in America if it were not crammed down my throat all my life. You can't even get whites to voluntarily attend cultural competency workshops, or training on cultural diversity. Why? Most whites (except maybe poor whites) like it the way it is. Why wouldn't they like it? Have all of (privileges) or have none of (privileges) – its a no brainer. CNN showing this series as often as it does may force whites to at least try to understand, or it may not. I think a clear, direct, discussion of what's in it for whites in understanding how it is to be Black in America is essential. Its an extremely hard sell to whites for so many reasons, on so many levels. So we cannot count on the success of CNN's documentary on being BIA, other such documentaries, plays, books, movies, speeches, songs, etc, or even the election of black officials to get whites to change. We have to use these media and historical events to remind us that we have to unite (and not let the system continue to divide us), love ourselves and each other, take the actions and make the kinds of sacrifices necessary to bring about change.

    July 26, 2008 at 9:58 pm |
  38. indigo

    Forgive the double post, but just an FYI -

    Being White in America is no picnic. Maybe CNN should focus on the treatment of middle class Whites, and the effect that the Black attitude of entitlement has on us.

    July 26, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  39. Mark

    I am a 40 year old, Gay-African-American, Healthy Well adjusted HIV+ Buddhist. I am the fringiest person and am my own demographic. I have had a long and successful career in the arts as a dancer, choreographer, director and teacher. I recent;y completed an intense Master of Fine Arts Degree Program in another field Dramatic Literature while I taught full time at the same prestigious women's liberal arts college in New England in a differenrt department. I completed both my B.A. and MFA and achieved both degrees and maintained a high standard as a non tenured Professor. As soon as I became interested in expanding my qualification beyond my expansive resume including stints on Broadway, 11 years in Europe (yes I speak fluent German) and with two major Amercian Companies, my colleagues began to thwart my efforts to pursue a career in academia. My qualifications speak for themselves. Add to it a Master Degree (the terminal degree in the arts)
    I thought I would have it made...WRONG....albeit a racist subtlety I never thought I would experience, I realized in my two years jobless-that somehow something is awry. I don't blame anyone for my predicament...I have a very supportive family and have had to really learn what it means to have experienced an incredible amount of the world and life...but I never thought I would be unable to find even an interview....I applied to almost 30 schools for positions as Asst. Professor of Dance or Theater, but nothing-am I over qualified? Well I thought in my field experience would trump a degree and experience and a degree would trump anyone or at least an invite to interview might materialize. Well it hasn't. I am working on a historical drama that actually deals with the politics of race between artists James Baldwin, Bobby Kennedy and Lorraine Hansberry. I can channel my confusion and frustration back to what they were experiencing and realize my only choice is to keep on keepin on...a shame you had little on being black and gay in America...bottom of the totem pole much?

    July 26, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  40. indigo

    When the hiring manager of a department in any corporation is black, you'd better believe that they will hire more black employees. I see this frequently. The sad part is, whites don't press the issue because they know that they are out of luck from the beginning. Favoritism is the name of the game in any company.

    I'm extraordinarily tired of black "new hires" coming into our company, and they can't even speak clearly enough to be understood. They treat the workplace like a beauty salon where they can cackle and laugh and abuse the language all they want. They tend to dress more like street walkers than professionals, showing far too much skin because of their tight "sexy" clothing and stiletto heels, and they love to strut down the aisle and have "girltalk" sessions at individual cubicles – regardless of the fact that other people are actually trying to work.

    Whites in such a company are more likely to be reported for trumped up reasons because the complainers know the black management will support the black employee. It's now the Whites don't fit in with the black culture that has evolved. I guess being a size 20 squeezed into a size 10 dress, wearing stiletto heels, 2 pounds of fake hair and 3 inch nails is the new corporate attire.

    In an effort to be PC, our government, especially the education systems, has decided that ebonics is acceptable, even moreso than Spanish. We are all Americans, NOT African Americans, or Irish Americans.... If we get to employ use of our ethnicity in descriptions, imagine how many English-German-Irish-Russian-Hispanic-Americans there are. It's ridiculous.

    Either you're an American OR you're African. You cannot be both.

    And for God's sake, Learn how to speak without sounding like you have a mouth full of marbles!

    July 26, 2008 at 9:35 pm |
  41. buckti

    I don't understand why after all these years the media is still crying racial bias and prejudice. It should be about monetary equallity.If you go back to the old newsreels and watch Martin Luther King , He had possibly more white followers than blacks.Also if you really listen to his speeches it was about the rich and the poor. the separation of classes in this country.He showed no prejudice toward color. He tried to toss away any idea of a cast system in this country.He knew that if you stay divided you will be conquered.

    July 26, 2008 at 9:16 pm |
  42. sara

    N-word is used to describe a mentality or a skin colour?
    I'm from Europe,here the things are diferent. Now big wave or racism it seems to be in Italy, against gypsies (they are calling themself "romanes" or "roma minority) Maybe that's why Roma's citizens are so eager to protect them "brand":)
    In our global days for sure the racism will be just history and mass-media has a big infusion .

    July 26, 2008 at 9:08 pm |
  43. Tracy Eubank

    Hello:

    I have a lot to comment on about being black in America, and Im not black. I have had two bi-racial children and have been with the man that I love for the past 14 years, and yes he is black.

    We live in Huntington, WV. Over the years we have been through being unable to move into apartments because people didn't approve of our relationship. We have been through myslef working a full time job and a weekend job because my fiance' could not get a job. We have had a truck of drunk men chase us with ball bats as we take a stroll together.

    A black man in our town, is discreetly treated unfairly. First, they do not help the low income black man, Secondly, maybe 15% of the black men in our town can get a decent job. Then, because they don't have a job they are automatically treated like criminals, even though they want to do what is right. But after so long of struggling to get ahead, the only thing to do is give up or do what one must to survive.

    For the most part, my children have not had to deal with much discrimination from friends or at school. They have been treated fairly, and in fact were popular among school peers.

    I chose not to speak to my family for 1 year, because they eiteher had to accept me and my choices, or be out of my life. I have never let the views of others affect any decision I make, I choose for me and I would like to tell others to do the same.

    Overall, you constantly feel different from the majority of the families in the states due to the multiculturalism within the family. But ,I would never change what I have gone through, because I see more and more of it, and it feels right. Skin color is what a person sees immediately, but if you take the time to get to know people, then you see their soul and you can meet a friend for life, or the love of your life and that is what God wants us all to see beyond the skin, after all we are all created in his image.

    July 26, 2008 at 9:06 pm |
  44. Kevin

    I think that the mere fact of someone being black, within itself, is not the root cause of the stated facts. Whenever one goes out into the public, no matter where you are in the united states, if you encounter black males, you see the same thing. They are all dressed in what they refer "hip hop" attair. They were their pants below their waist, showing their underwear. They can't form a sentence without using profanity, they go out of their way to be beligerent and loud. This is the image of the black man in the unitied states. Unkept braided hair to go with untrimmed facial hair. When you walk by them they smell of a certain kind of smoke, and it is not New Ports. So, what do expect from people that see nothing but these people walking around with these attitudes and demenors? White people in the United States are fearful of black youths, point blank. They see the same thing day in and day out and they expect it to be that way. The the black youth of today are doing nothing to change anyones minds, to include their own. So it will be hard for any black male in the United States, if these statistics are true. The rotten image of most black youths that are seen today will spoil the bunch that are good kids. It is sad, but I don't blame people to have that type of attitude. I would hate for it to happen to me or my son, but it is almost to be expected. You will have to prove otherwise to defeat the perceptions of black men. And some percetions are justified. And by the way, I am a BLACK MAN.

    July 26, 2008 at 8:49 pm |
  45. Manyanta Sumaeri

    I am African and came to the US 7 years ago. I came to the US to escape ethnic prejudice and stifling corruption that denied me, and those like me, access to resources and advancement so it was a total shock for me to meet racism in the land of my dreams. It is subtle in most cases and at first, I could not see it, feel it. In my country, upwards of 87% of the population is black so of course I had never known the feeling of being a minority but that was to come. As a matter of fact, I thought that the blacks in this country handled me more at arm’s length than whites and for a time, at school and in the work place I felt more at home with whites than African Americans who were more likely to dismiss my ‘whitey’ dressing and accent. It baffled me that whites understood my accent more than the blacks ever could. But I didn’t understand them most of the time either (I later came to know of Ebonics) and for the most part, kept away from them as they ignored me.
    Finding minimum-wage jobs was easy. I was even surprised by the alacrity with which I was hired. Later my African handlers were to tell me that as an immigrant, I would never have a problem getting a ‘stupid’ job since American employers know that immigrants work hard. I was told that blacks are rude and combative at work so employers readily hired Africans to fill the affirmative action quotas.
    Most of these anecdotes were given and accepted on face value but in those first two years, the business of settling down is fast and furious and there is no time to reflect on much. Towards the end of my second year, I felt I had saved enough to move to a better neighborhood and I started calling landlords. That was when I knew something was wrong: Miraculously all apartments advertized had been taken, landlords never called back or those who called told me they could not understand me and hang up on me. I called 43 landlords before I realized I was wasting my time. By that time I had enrolled in graduate school and so I had a white student friend call for me and within two minutes we were on our way to see an apartment which I was offered as soon as my friend could ‘vouch’ for me.
    It was after that incident that I started to see and hear stuff. I certainly started to see through the subtlety: started to see that the doctor tended to hurry me through my appointment; got a prescription that contained sulfur which I am extremely allergic to; started to notice that in a do-it-yourself Wal-Mart store, the clerks still ‘offered’ to find me things; suddenly realized that I could not seem to be landing better jobs after my Bachelors. In job applications, forms asked me for my ethnicity/race – gosh that is illegal in my country! At school, I was the only black in my class and often when I answered a question in class, my classmates would exclaim: “awesome, that was awesome Manyanta!” as if in graduate school, I was a first grader. I started remembering taking clients to the local social services offices and having them told off in my presence, but seeing a different reaction for white clients. A particular case involved getting a replacement for a lost State ID card. Apparently if you lose an ID card, you should be able to get a replacement just by showing up at DMV and having them run your name and see your face come up – that is, if only you are white. Otherwise, the process might just be a little longer and for most blacks, already on edge that they won’t be listened to, it is up-hill task.
    Being black in America is tough. This conversation is long overdue ...

    July 26, 2008 at 8:40 pm |
  46. Chode Jackson

    Only 2.3% of all African Americans have an IQ above 115 points, meaning only 667,000 out of 29,000,000. This is hardly enough to justify Affirmative Action Programs. In fact the average African American IQ is 85 as compared to the white 100. What I'm saying is factual, not racist.

    July 26, 2008 at 8:14 pm |
  47. Merit

    I have raised 2 daughters, one very fair and the other chocolate. They both have been raised in white suburbia. As a parent, it was very transparent to me racism were you least expect it. It is also apparent to me that many European Americans, cannot help the deeply embedded racism, also I believe that most do not want to be racist; unfortunately they cannot help being just that.

    As a parent I had a duty to consciously raise my children different from each other, not because of their personality, but because of their color. Not doing so would have allowed European Americans to build an artificial wall betweens birth sisters.

    It is unfortunate that many European Americans believe by saying they are not racist, then it is so. To the contrary, racisms cannot be seen not in the eyes of the beholder, but in heart and mind of the person in the path of their eyes.

    It is my belief that a European American raised in a racist environment most of their life would have to undergo therapy to undo the damage done in corrupting their mind, conscious working everyday to control the SRA. (Supreme Racist Addiction)

    July 26, 2008 at 7:58 pm |
  48. Jim

    I had lunch with a black female colleague months back and our topic turned to race relations and her kids. She said something that mirrored what I have seen in the workplace for years: if you are a black man or woman interviewing for a professional position in the corporate world and your name is Laquetia or Shaniqua or Durron (her examples if memory serves) you might as well stay home. I'm white and my name is Jim. I have seen the above in numerous hiring situations; no one is crazy enough to say out loud the reason for a resume being passed over but it's just understood. One of my roommates in college (and a very good friend today) is black (Haitian heritage) and has a "white-sounding" name – when I asked him years ago about the naming conventions being used by blacks in this country, his response was that many blacks want to separate themselves from white culture and choose names that are spelled and pronounced differently. Here's my point – if blacks want to separate themselves from "white culture," then unfortunately that same culture – consisting of corporations, government, education – will allow them to stay separate. I'm certainly not suggesting that black people starting naming their kids Bob and Steve, but when an HR rep can't pronounce, let alone spell your name without triple-checking it, the interview doesn't bode well.

    July 26, 2008 at 7:56 pm |
  49. dan

    if blacks so upset about not being hired by whites, why they not creating their own companies and factories and hire whoever they want? I am an owner of my own company and one of the reasons I went on self employed because being an immigrand and talking with an acsent it is also sometimes makes more dificult to win against native americans while looking for a job. If someone don't give it to me, I like to think that I should take it or make it myself without whining or blaming others. Now I am looking to hire somebody else to help me at my work. I think thats the way to go. Balcks live in communities as big as the whole city, I don't think where is no possibility for them to look up for themself and create their own industries for themself. It is just easier to blame others, I personally don't like then people do that.

    July 26, 2008 at 7:50 pm |
  50. Norma

    I understand the plight of today’s Black American but what about the white American that faces the same issues when it comes to not having the opportunities that many others do. There are many White Americans that were ostracized for either not being the correct religion for their community or being a white female or white and obese. Many white Americans do not have to connections that you talk about even if they had the opportunity to go to college. Some of us although educated still have to fight and claw our way to prove that they should be given an opportunity for a good job. My husband who has a college degree has been laid off twice from really good companies due to outsourcing and for the past three years has not been given the opportunity for a permanent position in his field, he has the knowledge, experience, education, oh yeah and he is white. So hardship is everywhere and I am not saying that there are not racist people out there, of course there are. It is much less than in years past, but it will always be there in some form. It is up to the individual to rise above it and move forward and not hold on to the past. Remember it but learn from it and make sure if you or your race has been discriminated against, remember how it felt and make sure you do not make anyone else feel like that. Don’t say it is impossible because there are many Americans Black and white that have done it.

    July 26, 2008 at 7:49 pm |
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