July 21st, 2009
02:33 PM ET

Raise a ruckus, make a difference

Program Note: In CNN's Black in America 2, Soledad O'Brien reports on the innovative and unexpected ways people are transforming the black experience by confronting the most difficult issues facing their community. Tune in on Wednesday, July 22 at 9 p.m. and Thursday, July 23 at 8 p.m..

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/21/art.bia.soledadstandup.jpg caption="Soledad O'Brien has been the host of the first two installments of 'Black in America'"]
Malaak Compton-Rock
Special to CNN

In the words of my mentor and America's foremost child advocate Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of The Children's Defense Fund, it's time to "raise a ruckus people, it is time to raise a ruckus!"

CNN's "Black in America" raised many critical issues facing African-American people in this great country of ours. It was not pretty, it was not flattering, but it was very, very frank. The show delved into the negative issues that have plagued the African-American community for generations, i.e., crime, education, single parent families, drug abuse and the like.

People got mad. People sent many e-mails and letters to Soledad O'Brien and CNN and cried foul. People said "Black in America" was not consistent with the lives of many African-American people and was one-sided. Blogs and Web sites popped up all over the place where people "raised a ruckus" about the content of the show.

I read a lot of these comments. As a matter of fact, I was obsessed with people's views for many weeks after the documentary aired. And the more I read, the more I got angry. The more I read, the more I wanted to "raise my own ruckus." But I was frustrated and upset for a very different reason than most.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Black in America
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Dan M.

    People were also upset with Bill Cosby when he first started to do his "Call Outs" directed at other African American's. I am not of African American decent; however, I still part of his recent book, "Come on People," and I can understand why Cosby is so passionate about calling for change for his brothers and sisters who are also Black.

    Like Soledad O'Brien, Cosby was also criticized when he started his "Call Outs" in African American Communities. We need people like O'Brien and Cosby to tell of the plight of some–but **not** all–members of the African American Community in this country. I think that this is a controversial topic about which people have strong emotions–and they should have them because what is happening is very serious, but I think that we need to pay very close attention to the message and not blame the messenger for our emotions.

    If Christiane Amanpour or Reza Sayah were given the opportunity to go back to Iran, would we be mad at them for reporting the story, or would we be upset with the Iranian Government. Is it the message or the messenger?

    July 21, 2009 at 2:25 pm |