Although I wasn’t exactly a huge fan or avid viewer of the “Black In America” series that aired on CNN, I do salute Soledad O’Brien for telling white people to get over the fact that she dared to bring up racial issues and not worry as to whether or not it made them uncomfortable.
In a chat over at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Soledad noted that some folks have told her that the documentaries were “divisive” and that they think Black Americans should stop differentiating themselves from white Americans.
How cute. White people built this entire country off the backs of African slaves for centuries then proceeded to continue treating them as second class citizens under the law, yet they want us to stop thinking of ourselves as outside of your average American. This despite the widening socioeconomic disparities, lingering racism, and orchestrated targets to diffuse our voting rights and diversity initiatives. Why? Because, because, because…Obama! And some other nonsense you can insert here.
On that, Soledad said:
“First of all, it’s only white people who ever said that — ‘if we could just see beyond race. If only people didn’t see race, it would be such a better place, and you are responsible for bringing up these icky race issues, Soledad, you should just let sleeping dogs lie.’
I was like, again, ‘OK, white person, this is a conversation you clearly are uncomfortable with, and I have no problem seeing race, and I think we should talk about race.”
Soledad went on to explain:
“You know, white people really have a luxury in that they get a range of stories, that they’re not defined by five stories. So I think that the difference with ‘Black in America’ was the filter did matter. That there are only going to be five stories and we want to know exactly who you are and what your credentials are to be telling our story.”
Watch Soledad discuss the “issue” in the clip below: