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August 9th, 2008
06:40 PM ET

Being Black in America

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.


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

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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/03/art.martinlutherkingiiib.jpg width=292 height=320]

Martin Luther King, III

There is an important conversation taking place across the nation regarding being Black in America. It may be characterized by three questions Blacks seem to be asking: From where have we come? Where are we now? And, where do we go from here? CNN’s “Black in America“ documentary is a fresh and compelling entry, focusing more on the second question than on the others. One very noticeable thing about the documentary is that it joins a new cast of characters, from academicians to journalists, entertainers to everyday citizens, who are not the faces and voices traditionally associated with the subject.

This crew, colorful and articulate, is empowered by 24/7 cable news and the unfettered reach of the Internet. They are a new generation of thinkers and doers, impatient with the status quo, who feel “the fierce urgency of now.” They are telling of a tectonic change in the plates that undergird our long-held understandings of being Black in America. And, they are challenged by the opportunities most ardently symbolized in the remarkable story unfolding in this year’s presidential election.

But, not so new is the “now-not yet” tension one feels observing being Black in America today. During the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-twentieth century, my father wrote eloquently of a similar anxiety in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”. Then the tension was between African Americans’ “now”, who wanted speedy redress to segregation, and many whites’ “not yet”, particularly, among the clergy, who protested the Movement’s demands for immediate remedies as untimely.

In today’s tension, the “now” recognizes a plethora of possibilities for achieving the American Dream. It beckons those adequately prepared to claim them. But the “not yet” realizes the obstacles that render the possibilities beyond the reach of those deprived. In the mid-twentieth century, that deprivation was largely made possible legally. At the beginning of this century, the deprivation is structural.

Perhaps even more interesting is that the tension then was principally between black and white communities. Today, it is also significantly within their communities, both black and white. There is vigorous and healthy debate in each group regarding the causes and effects of high unemployment and incarceration on the one hand and low test scores and two-parent households on the other. The conversation often heats up when the subject turns to who’s responsible.

While it can be helpful to isolate the issues of being Black in America, we must be careful not to stigmatize the group. The challenges and opportunities that African Americans face are the same ones available to and confronting Americans from all walks of life, notwithstanding the disproportionate gatherings of Blacks on the high end of the challenges and the low end of opportunities, which makes their chances as a group less likely to realize the American Dream.

That brings us full circle on the current conversation regarding Blacks in America. Among the many questions, too many to cover in this writing, is whether their circumstances are solely the result of historical causes imposed by outside forces. Are other, contemporary, sources the root cause of the obstacles? What responsibility do African Americans have, individually and collectively, to remedy the problems they confront? Does the broader community have any responsibility? Stated more simply, are the good and bad things that happen to African Americans, individually and as a group, of their own making and, therefore, their sole responsibility? These are important questions that must be answered.

In that same letter to the clergy of Birmingham, my father was reminded of Reinhold Niebuhr's observation that groups are more immoral than individuals. If that is so, are they also more irresponsible and, inversely, responsible? There seems to me to be a connection between immorality and irresponsibility/morality and responsibility. This was a point not only implied in the Birmingham letter, but also throughout my father’s sermons and writings. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” The saying is true: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In our nation, if one link of our community is fragile, we all have a responsibility to help shore it up; if, we are going to truly be e pluribus unum, the United States of America.

Over the coming months, a gathering of organizations along with Realizing the Dream, Inc., a new nonprofit I founded, will continue this conversation in a series of summits and related activities. Our website is www.realizingthedream.org. I hope you will join us as we seek to answer these questions and work together to realize the dream.

soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Ben

    How many white people have abandoned their culture to become black?

    Teles Minega

    What is white culture in the US exactly? As a 5th generation American I have no culture beyond the American culture which is vastly the product of many cultures together. Sure there are some white Americans who attempt to act black, but just because I enjoy rap every now and then doesn't mean I'm abandoning my culture but rather embracing it I would think.

    July 27, 2008 at 8:05 pm |
  2. T

    If I read/hear the word "slavery" one more time on all these blogs I think I'm gonna puke. It's 2008 stop going backwards on the problems we face and start moving forward.

    July 27, 2008 at 8:03 pm |
  3. VAN Y

    only sice obama is running for pres oident all thia black in america is being on tevelision , every creedd abd race can come to america and make except the black man who blame their laziness on slavery , get over it . black people blame every white person for their failure . look in the mirror and blame that person . obama will never be president , show me black leader in the world who ;s country is a sucess , they are all in poverty, drugs, corruption and looking hand out from the world bank, black people will never have it soo go like they do in america , now grow up ans stop being lazy

    July 27, 2008 at 7:41 pm |
  4. Mike in Terre Haute

    I have no problem with the show but what about Asians?, Hispanics, or the most oppresed, the Native American, or what about white in America. As a white person, I suddenly feel like I am supposed to feel guilty and walk with my head down, but instead I feel like these programs are aimed at the villany of white peole and their so-called oppressive nature.In the long run I feel that it will not unite us but instead it will drive an even further wedge because many white people are beginning to grow tired of being painted as evil and will become angry and defensive if these accusations continue.Why are white people villified today, I feel no guilt and I am proud of my ancestors and I will not pay for their mistakes bottom line. We have done more good than bad for the world. If it had not been for European Ideals the world would not have been as good as it is today. We are all guilty of something, no one is perfect. The best thing that we can do is learn form history and avoid repeating it which I believe we most certainly will.

    July 27, 2008 at 7:32 pm |
  5. Yamiko in Atlanta

    Although I enjoyed watching "Black in America" I couldn't help but wonder what CNN was trying to accomplish with this program. Raising awareness? Starting dialogue? Also, I personally found nothing new in the program. As a black person, I am fully aware of all these issues. What I would have appreciated from CNN is a diagnostic of the problem, i.e. what factors have led to the current state of African-Americans? Finally, I would have loved for your "experts" to spend time offering solutions. In my humble opinion, unless there is active, holistic intervention by the government, civic leaders and the church community, this situation will continue to deteriorate.

    July 27, 2008 at 7:27 pm |
  6. Irma Robinson

    Mr. Marshell, please continue to ask for dialog as this is very important. It will give a chance for me to say things as I just said and be challenged, i hope. I was amased to see another Value placed on my culture because it is believed falsely that the African-American culture must leave off the African part. When in fact that in Africa our culture began with the hunter-gathers which has and still have the Mother as the head of the house hold with full rights to Vote!!!! The older the female the more respected and admired and looked up to.Some thing unheard of in the American as part of our history in America, EQUALITY by our males or females.....

    July 27, 2008 at 7:01 pm |
  7. jeff

    When is CNN going to do a special on Chinese in America or the US have a Chinese American History month? Is there a white history month or any other Race specific history month other than BLACK.Grow up people, forget this foopaw that you deserve more, you only make it harder on yourself for reliving the past.

    Yes I am white!

    July 27, 2008 at 7:00 pm |
  8. malkeeya

    I think it is important for Soledad O’Brien to balance this conversation by looking at Being White in America, role of class, history, ethnicity etc there. Being Native American in America, Being Latino in America, Being Asian in America. If the goal is to increase understanding amongst us, then we must look at everyone instead of just singling out Black America.

    July 27, 2008 at 6:59 pm |
  9. Monica Ajayi

    Hats off to Soledad for her exceptional work on Being Black in America. Soledad, I hope you are awarded "Journalist of the Year" for your work. You are passionate about this issue and you proved that you are on top of your game.

    Being Black in America left me wondering where do we go from here? My husband is from Nigeria and I am an educated African American woman that was fortunate enough to grow up with both parents and I have always lived a comfortable middle class life.

    I am deeply saddened by the inequality that exists in education as well as by the lack of options for black men without a college degree. This documentary has inspired me to work with my husband who is a very successful IT professional and inner city schools to introduce technology as fun and hip. When people are strong technologist, skin color becomes less of a factor.

    Soledad, we will let you know how we do in this area. Hopefully we will be successful and we can spear head a program that will take off nationally. Your journalism efforts will certainly assist with the success.

    My husband and I owe it to young black people to step up and do something. God blessed us and it is time to work for God!!! Thank you for the inspiration Soledad!!

    Monica Ajayi in Southern NJ

    July 27, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  10. Elaine Aniton

    Very one-sided documentary...If I had a daughter engaged in an interracial relationship...I would be concerned. This type of reporting re-enforces all myths and stereotypes. Social problems, i.e., HIV, crime and lack of parental responsibility is not the majority, rather the minority. Most black households are split; half believes society owes them something, half are contributing members. Cycles need to be broken and it starts with the family. Balanced reporting can be very instrumental in bringing about change.

    July 27, 2008 at 10:31 am |
  11. Sean

    Here's what I don't get...

    We have Black Americans stating they should be taught by Black teachers, go to Black doctors, live in predominantly Black neighborhoods, etc.

    Here's an idea: How about we drop this segregation idea and actually integrate our communities. How best to come together and learn from each other than to actually live and work side by side? Black Americans are justifiably fighting for equal rights on all fronts, yet they spend more time fighting to stay apart from society as a whole.

    Even more, how about we place a level of responsibility on the individual. Why do we blame "society" for the problems? Children going to unsafe schools are the fault of the dangerous children and their parents, not society. Good parenting leads to good children, which leads to safer schools. Safer schools leads to smarter students, which leads to more opportunities for these children. Yes, there are always going to be bad seeds regardless of good parenting, but that is a small percentage.

    Enough blaming everyone else. Be accountable for your actions, strive to be more, work hard, get an education, have respect for yourself AND others, and let go of unnecessary hatred. Stop blaming the people of today for the sins of the past.

    July 27, 2008 at 6:25 am |
  12. Robert Jr. James McClendon

    I'm just glad that someone perhaps had the complexion for the connection to say something about being Black in America. Many of us needed that little reminder. The journalist who did the program just came off the bench on the subject, but somebody had to step in. If you feel it could have been done better, do it yourselves with "activism". Thanks CNN!

    July 27, 2008 at 5:30 am |
  13. Brandon Smithson

    I am a white male that came from a single parent household with no money. I served several years in the military to earn money for college. I studied hard and graduated with a 4.0 GPA (All A's). While attending a community college, I visited the financial aid office in hopes of finding academic scholarships. To my dismay, there were none. There were a corkboard full of scholarship applications, and they were for either minorities or single mothers. I felt like the victim of racism. This is not something I heard about happening to someone else of what happened in my ancestry. This is racism that happened to me personally. I was denied a scholarship because of the color of my skin.

    July 27, 2008 at 4:46 am |
  14. Sandy

    Soledad, I commend you for making the incision and bursting the boil.
    Now it is up to us to work on the diagnosis and treatment so healing can begin.
    Thank You.
    You may hear from great minds and others of power and influence that this production was this or that....be strong and of encourage.
    You done good gurl, be strong and keep steppin!
    God Loves your pioneering spirit!
    Peace and Love,
    A Citizen of the World
    Sandy

    July 27, 2008 at 3:48 am |
  15. Jason Williams

    I hope none of you get offended if we ever have a Whites In America broadcast. Oh that's right. The double standard. I forgot.

    July 27, 2008 at 3:40 am |
  16. Steve M

    I found especially important the comment that read "while it can be helpful to isolate the issues . . . we must be careful not to stigmatize the group." In the 'deep south,' such as my home, South Carolina, this is a crucial thing to keep in mind I believe. I think it might be that something of a tension between the generation that came of age in the Civil Rights era, and the generation coming of age today. Today whites and blacks more often don't mind spending more time on the "other side of the train tracks," as it would go in the city I grew up in. In Senator Obama's book he referred to a huge "cross-polinization" taking place across the country today, traditional barriers separating groups being broken. I'm of the younger generation, a first time voter in my 25th year. I say that today's challenge is to help the underpriveledged -white and black- understand that the problems they face are the same. That it's not another race they should fear and loathe; it is, generally speaking, the corporation; the powerful and opulent groups that manipulate our lives in so many fashions. Both the black and white family struggle for such basic necessities as health care, an obvious problem that quite frankly I don't think will change soon. But I have hope, and it's not just in a politician.

    July 27, 2008 at 3:30 am |
  17. Arleen B. Anderson

    I am very dissapointed in Soladad Obrien. First of all what was her purpose for doing this series. She didn't accomplish anything nor did she provide any information that we didn't already know. Blacks are quite aware of were we are in America. We didn't need some wanna be journalist to tell us that. She should be ashamed of herself. Why doesn't she investigate her own people, i.e. the hispanics and talk about how decadent their lifestyle is. I could have appreciated it better if she would have at least stated her purpose, presented the information, and offered some solutions or gave a "call to action." But, I'm sure that wasn't a part of her personal agenda for this program. She didn't do any research, all she did was take someone else's information and presented it This research was done years ago. This was not a year long investigation; she out right lied. Why would present a program that decpicted a race of people in such an awful way and not offer solutions. If she's so smart why didn't offer a solution. I'm sure at some point in her investigation (that she did not do) that she spoke with someone that offered some sort of solutions. Solodad has become a part of the problem. She used black people to advance her own journalistic agenda and I hope she reaps what she has sown. If CNN gives her an award for that mess she presented blacks should boycott the network. I hope she reads this comment personally so she will how I feel about her.

    Respectfully submitted.
    Arleen B. Anderson (A Proud Black African American Woman)

    July 27, 2008 at 3:18 am |
  18. Susan

    How did Geogre Bush get into Yale? We all know how.
    At least Mr. Obama is smart! Stop assuming how Obama got into here or there. He went and he was successful.

    July 27, 2008 at 3:17 am |
  19. Brendan Steuble

    Dear Mr King-

    I am glad your father did not choose Terrorism.

    I have listened to our society complain about the treatment of blacks and jews by others my entire life. I never treated anyone badly.

    I find it poor timing to be complaining about the black man, period. That is over: I was not a slave owner, nor was the president. There may be some rich guys left who's money descends from slavery: go get em.

    Leave me alone. I do not care for your travails any more than you care for mine.

    My best wishes for yourself and your family,

    Brendan Steuble

    July 27, 2008 at 2:37 am |
  20. Stephen Berg

    Seah Ohio: I see Mr. Obama as the best hope for uniting this country. He seems to me to have a profound understanding and respect for all people. And I believe Dr. King not only would be proud but would champion a man whom he has provided shoulders upon which to stand.

    On the issue of being Black in America, enormous gains have been made. But there is a long way to go. When Black anger is harnessed and focused on fighting for equal educational opportunity and not on deifying convention and playing into white racist stereotypes more gains will be made. The more people can identify with others, the less they fear. As Whites confront their overt ,and even more importantly, their covert racism we all stand a better chance of moving forward. Education is crucial as is political leadership. Mr. Obama has my vote in this regard. He absolutely gets it.

    July 27, 2008 at 2:24 am |
  21. Pete, San Francisco

    One of the toughest aspects of getting an education or maintaining a marriage is teen pregnancy. Furthermore, there are numerous teens and single welfare mothers who continue to have additional children out of wedlock (of all races and colors). I think there can be a case made to incentivize birth control to reduce the occurrence of teen pregnancy and pregnancy of welfare mothers, of any color. The milions of dollars spent on prenatal care, the pregnancy, and extended welfare could be used to financially incent people to use birth control and as well as fund our school system.

    With fewer teen pregnancies, there is a greater likelihood that a person will complete high school and go to college. This is also true for the male counterparts. Less stress and less responsibility from not having children at an early age would allow them to finish school and wait to have children until later in life.

    This proposal does not promote teen sex. It simply tries to get to the heart of the problem in today's America.

    July 27, 2008 at 2:19 am |
  22. B. Westphal

    What a great piece of research. The Moynihan Report:1960's Black Familes in Crisis was on point. Athough ,hiv was not in our community back then.

    July 27, 2008 at 2:11 am |
  23. Rosie

    While Black's are on display, let me add this comment. America has no racial problem. What America is doing is living up to an evil report put together by one man, as giving his opinion of the African American's. And from this one man's opinion, six statesmen, in 1864, entered this one man's opinion into congress, and from this one man's opinion, the behavior toward the African-American's, by the white world was shaped.
    The motive behind this act was finding a new way to restrain the African-American's, once the Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment was set in place.
    So there is no true racism in America, only behaviors influenced by an evil report, which no one has took the time to search out the truth.
    Now before the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, was the era of power, which would have become void once these two Acts were set in place.
    So color of skin has never been the true cause for the division; only the desire by some,from the white world, to maintain permanent control over the African-American's. These truth's are on the shelves of our many Libraries across America. Is America ready for the truth?

    July 27, 2008 at 1:32 am |
  24. MICHAEL FROM N.CAROLINA

    As black people who now enjoy the rights won during the 50's and '60s, we have an urgent need to face the complex problems related to the wholesome values that somehow have become diluted within so many of our families and neighborhoods. Our youth get blamed for a great deal of this, but they can only know that which they have been taught. There is tremendous denial and a tendency to focus only on the bigotry of white people as a major obstacle. As Bill Cosby indicated, we as parents must make sure our kids can read. Blaming the schools is a cop-out. The appreciation for literacy is a seed that must be sown and nurtured at home. Otherwise, our youth will only know as much as someone tells them. We must recognize complexity but also keep that which is simple, simple.

    July 27, 2008 at 1:05 am |
  25. K Killingsworth

    While I appreciate the comments from MLK III, I must underscore the fact that resposibility for crime in the United States is the resposibility of the person or persons committing the crimes. Personal responsibility is the key to advancement of a culture. If a group seeks to blame society for the ills of the groups, that group will never achieve equality. Society must never tolerate excuses being made for crime and criminals regardless of race.

    July 27, 2008 at 12:56 am |
  26. Denise Groves

    I have been trying to watch the program every since the first night. I find it fascinating and intriguing. Other times, it is downright depressing! On the whole, we are a strong people! to be here after all we have endured is incredible.
    i hope nonblacks are also watching the show and are educating themselves

    July 27, 2008 at 12:13 am |
  27. Ludlow

    @Roy Edwards: I totally empathize with you. There are many men who desperately want to honor their responsibilities as fathers but are prevented from doing so by the mothers of the children and a grossly disfunctional court/social system. I have a WONDERFUL relatiopnship with my 14 y/o daughter but it took me 4 attorneys and the threat of jail time from the judge before she saw it fit to honor my visitation rights. Fortunately I had the resources and the deep moral conviction to force her to respect my rights as a father.

    Melissa, Los Angeles, your response is a bit short sighted . A lot of men do not have the resources or grow tired from being worn out by a social/court system weighted against men. This is an issue that needs urgent attention because our children are suffering

    July 27, 2008 at 12:11 am |
  28. Bill, Columbus, Ohio

    "We bought into white America’s lie that we should abort our babies, love whoever we wanted, smoke what we wanted..."

    As another blogger has noted, this is NOT a lie from "white America" and to say so merely perpetuates one of the fundamental problems in black culture, namely a lack of accountability. No one is making ANYONE do anything. You choose to have sex, to have an abortion, to keep the baby, to smoke the pipe, whatever...those are choices YOU are making. You can always make better choices. When one isn't willing to assume personal accountability, it's so much easier to blame somebody else for all the bad stuff that happens. In most cases, the root cause is staring right at you from your mirror.

    When you see someone blaming someone else for the bad things that have happened to them, you pass on by. When they blame themselves and ask you for help in not letting it happen again, you help them...and we help each other. The cycle of "it's not my fault" has to stop....now.

    July 27, 2008 at 12:06 am |
  29. Angela in Seattle but from Alaska

    I watched. I learned.
    Not much has changed in the way Black people are viewed in America. I have seen the same program with the same points made for the past 20 yrs. The programs are usually aired on channels such as PBS or on a cable channel. Always late at night. Always on a Friday or Saturday when most white america is not watching telvision at all because they are not home. or they have in a DVD. These shows are never broadon mainstream television channels such as ABC, NBC, CBS nor FOX at an hour or on a day for White america to see.
    I think we (Black Americans) are still scaring white america.
    I have to go catch my bus. I always sit in the front. And NO, I don't give up my seat . Unless an elderly person gets on. I was always taught to respect my elders. (Color is not a factor.)

    Angela

    July 27, 2008 at 12:05 am |
  30. constance

    in reference to hip hop and its influence on black life...black people arent ignorant. where do you think the rappers get their ideas? art imitates life. not everyones life naturally but enough lives for the music to have a following. dont like hip hop then change the way we live and treat one another.

    July 26, 2008 at 11:44 pm |
  31. Marvin

    As a Jew, jewish life is diverse. Jews don't go around with a mindset that they are Jews first. Too bad African Americans can't get their mental arms around the concept. If they could they wouldn't be preoccupied with being African American.

    As a jew, The Constitution is first in my life, because all other apsects of who I am are as a result of our revolutionary Constitution. Think about it; You are who you are because of the social environment provided by the Constitution of this fabulous country. The next time you hear the ranting of patriotism look closely to see if the expressor of patriotism pays homage to the document which makes their ranting possible. If they do, then they are patriots. And remember, "OLD GLORY" is the symbol of our Constitution.

    July 26, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  32. Matt

    I think this election cycle really got us as a nation to reflect on were we've been and were we are going. It is a very useful dialog as it prompts us to reflect on ourselves, community, and state. The item I am noticing a lot in the comments of these stories is what really concerns me.

    It seems a select few are consistently fixated on blaming other people for their issues. Call it by whatever name you like but by speaking in such a collectivist manner it only can be called one name: Racism. Racism is not an mindset that belongs to any one group. It is an affliction that spans all people who accept the collectivist view of the world.

    As a nation we will never get past the race issue so long as parties from both sides are leveraging their race. We are not Afican-American, Italian-Americans, German-Americans, or any other -American. We are all just Americans and our short comings in life are the result of decisions we make. If you make bad decisions then the end result will be that of displeasure with were your life is. One can not leave proverty by not attending school, regardless of how poor the school district is doing.

    In closing I offer just this peice of advice: One will never excel so long as they are looking for someone to blame their failures on. By blaming a different party for your mistakes in life you are surrendering your soverign ability to fix those mistakes.

    July 26, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  33. d n kansas

    I really get tired of listening and reading that blacks seem to have a tougher time in America. I don't think that the color of skin has anything to do with i. I know lots of people of different color, including the color white, thay all are having a hard time surviving the economy. We have all lost jobs, homes, insurance, etc. History was a long time ago, its time to let it go and stop using it as an excuse that the world owes you. No one ever gave me anything, my husband and I worked since we were 14 and we worked until we retired at 62 years old. What we have we worked hard for. Our lives are full of disappointments, heartaches and missed loves one. So please give us a break and stop with the different color in America. We are all one America.

    July 26, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  34. T

    Let it go, jesus christ. People are going to be the way they want. There are "certain people" who take advantage of the wrong things and dig their own holes and cast a bag image. There are too many opertunities for everyone to not make something of themselves.Look in the mirror, thats where you can find most faults.

    July 26, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  35. afterdarke

    D-Chicago is right. The only real plan that the government has had for black people is to keep us out. The fact that we have made it in is truly astounding, because it was done literally against all odds. We as black men have been subject to attempts at castration. Still we endure. If the field was level and we had equal access to opportunity our people would not suffer so badly. Like any race we have or under-achievers, however we have more stars than any other (many are not allowed to shine). The Black in America series is a series long overdue.

    One last thing. About the comments which stress that we get over it. Get over the past and move on. The comments that all people at some point have had it hard. The comments that we whine and cry instead of pulling ourselves up by boot straps. I would like to tell those critics, cynics, and commentators – acknowledge what the people of this country have done. Acknowledge slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, black codes, discrimination, the inability to own property, lynching, (etc)...acknowledge these. Know that we should not have to get over it or forget it. Acknowledge how our people have been hurt and oppressed. Once America truly acknowledges is criminally heinous and murderous past we can heal. WE ARE AMERICANS

    July 26, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  36. darryl

    Idiots, affirmative action requires a percentage of minorities, meaning Women, Asians, Hispanic, Blacks, etc.... It does not require Blacks. So many of you are brought up on ignorant information and learnings, but the worst part is that you guys don't even know it. Most university have more women on it, did they get there by affirmative action? Please.

    Why don't you guys just quit complaining about gas? Then, others might stop complaining about real injustices and inequalities. BIGOTRY IS SO ALIVE.

    July 26, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  37. alan

    if you black people would quit killing other blacks and quit, using crack, stop hiphop, and get jobs; maybe your people would realize the dreams. but not when you blame all others for your shortcomings. we white people are tired of 400 years of your whining. work on your dreams.

    July 26, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  38. Deborah Bayne

    All I can say to Solodad O'Brien Thank You for a great documentery, please continue to keep everyone informed.

    July 26, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  39. Ernie

    I am tired of hearing the Black race blaming the White folks for thier problems. There are many Black people that are more educated, smarter, refined, richer,have better jobs, better homes and a lot of other things than many Whites. You can be anything that you want to be regardless of race. There are many Handicapped people that lead better lives than ones who are not. It's up to you. I am White and Deaf. I have had a lot of Black friends. Get off your butt and make your life better. Oprah, Bill Cosby, and too many others to mention, did not get where they are by sitting on the porch and looking for excuses. Where there is a will there is a way.

    July 26, 2008 at 10:50 pm |
  40. Gerry

    Sabrina in Los Angeles ;

    Black people feel the same way when whites move into their neighborhoods. I am a white person in a black neighborhood and trust me....don't not feel guilty how you think. Out of 25 people that live in this apt complex I live in, 1 black person talks to me on a regular basis. Some of them will go out of there way to look down at the ground when they see me coming so they don't have to make eye contact and actually speak. So, don't feel like that feeling you have is a one way street.

    If you feel guilt, stop it. You would be very suprised how you might be treated if you moved into a black neighborhood.

    Barack Obama is going to upset a lot of black people if he gets into office. He is one person that sees the double standard and stands up for what is right, and he isn't afraid to say it.

    I heard a black, liberal, talk show host trying to turn people away from Obama when he made a speach and said to many Black men are acting like boys, stand up and accept some responsibilities.

    Up until that speach, he supported Obama 110 %

    White Guilt is Over.

    July 26, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  41. 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 10:31 pm |
  42. Jeff Meaux, Sr.

    We must start immediately in poor black homes and poor white homes, we must help parents help their children with language development that will help them achieve in grade school, high school and life. Many homes do not do this because the family does not exist, because there is no one that cares, or they do not know how. It is not reading skills.Reading skills is not easy to acquire without language skills, it may even be impossible. Success in school and life will be difficult, if not impossible, without adequate language development. Low self-esteem developes which often leads to poor behavior. The problem for many and for all of us becomes behavior, behavior, behavior.

    July 26, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  43. Olawale Babalola

    Having said all, we fail to realize that blacks in America actually incapacitated themselves and embrace the heinous predicament of self esteem .A lot of things contributed to this ,even though the price of freedom opens the flood gate of opportunity for them , needless to say is the the effect of education, and cultural heritage has a long way to go with it. All the aforementioned topics discussed in the blugs really shows where we are and where we are going. Nothing is as bad as the state of mind, we as black people needs to expunge off our memory , the act of slavery , the idiosyncracy that has plunged us into the deep gully of helplessnes for years. We actually ows our heritage to Africa , our fore fathers that procreated us has a culture and this is a moral guidance and must be guided jealously , embraced and we would witness a change.
    American dream is real, MLK channel this course and the effect of which we are seeing today.Let every black man grab the baton of responsibilty and let African American women consider marriage as sacred, some percentage of children coming from broken home statistically ended up in jail because of that marrital course not protected by their parent. How I wish African American can learn from their mistakes and break this cycle of malady and we would clad ourselves with adorn garment of justice.We woulds no longer feel dejected , depressed and emotionally incacerated.

    July 26, 2008 at 10:18 pm |
  44. AP

    I think Black In America is a positive step to educate and start breaking down barriers. Of course, many things could not be covered in such a short time, but I do agree that it starts from the commencement of our history. Black men were taken away from their families during slavery. Although this is not an excuse for a black man not to take responsibility for his family today, people do need to understand the history in order to find a solution. How do we break that unfortunate chain and help the black man to move forward? How about the employment opportunities for black people? Are they truly equal or do they still need to be ten times better than a caucasian person and still do not get the job??? These issues need to be addressed in order to move forward. I hope one day we would have a series "Black In Canada". It is truly an "eye opener".

    July 26, 2008 at 10:11 pm |
  45. tim

    "As a Harvard graduate Obama Sr. made it possible for his american born son to get into Harvard thru the ‘legacy’ route"

    "You of course forget to mention that Obama went to Columbia for undergrad. Which ‘legacy’ route allowed him to get into there? Silly comment."

    AA?

    July 26, 2008 at 10:11 pm |
  46. steve

    I recently visited the Civil Rights museum in Memphis where MLK was assasinated. It was very powerful and my wife and I agreed that, for the very first time, we can appreciate just how difficult the fight was. The only thing missing is a room at the end reminding people that winning the battle isn't enough; you have to continue to earn the rights that MLK and others fought and died for. We've got to address single-parenthood, teen-age pregnancies, multi-generation welfare, cime, gangs, drugs, etc. Would Dr. King be proud of what we're doing with the rights he and others earned for us? My guess is he wouldn't. He would probably also like to slap Jesse Jackson, up side the head. Obama 08!

    July 26, 2008 at 10:08 pm |
  47. Kenyatta Johnson

    I was very impressed @ the way each segment was displayed. As a single black female mother of two girls, I've always had this discussion with people on the very same topics. It's amazing as to how some can relate and some think that I'm trying to be other than myself.
    As for the families shown in this program, I felt for every last one of them knowing how hard it is and can be, based on skin color. We must overlook that factor and bring out the best in ourselves.
    I have an affirmation I say to myself everyday:" Thank you father for knowledge of self, and being able to know ones self, for I'm grateful for all that you have put before me and that which will come ahead of me".

    July 26, 2008 at 9:58 pm |
  48. Steve in Albany, New York

    JC in Los Angeles, I disagree with your comments. Huey P. Newton, Malcom X and MLK did not die for no reason. Many would like to forget the past, and we cannot have a prosperous today without reparations and acknowledgment of the past. Jeff Fort's connection to Muammar al-Gaddafi was real and it was a preview of the future and an alternative to Dr. Kings movement. Dr. King wanted peace and some wanted to eliminate African Americans in America. Now the militants have been created the question is when is the war going to begin. America's going to have a discussion about the past or it is going to be a conflict worse than Palestine and Israel in North America.

    American Slaves got no amnesty, welfare or food stamps. They got wipes, chains, rape, segregation, and "separate but equal". My advice is to study closely what a Jihad is and put the word American in front of it. If we do not speak the truth soon we have something far worse than the Middle East conflicts coming.

    July 26, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  49. G. Penley

    I am disappointed that Blacks are rushing to support Barack Obama just because he's Black, or partly Black, anyway. This man does not represent Black America; he doesn't even understand it. I wish a real Black American were running for President, not just a would-be who has the potential to hurt the Black cause more than help it.

    July 26, 2008 at 9:38 pm |
  50. buckti

    I wonder if there were no television where our racial views (BLACK AND WHITE) would be today.the children could go to school without the medias influence in their minds from the night before. maybe they wouldn't want to be a gangster, or be mad about something that happened over 100 years ago. could it be that their perceptions could change for the better.Do you think that they can see for theirselves and have a better world.What do you think ?

    July 26, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
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