- Posted July 24, 2008 by
New York, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Black in America
We must tell the ENTIRE story if we want REAL change!
I would first like to applaud CNN and Soledad O'Brien for producing and airing a timely and extremely important look into the state of the Black community in America! Thank you! This was a much anticipated event and I enjoyed watching part 1 and eagerly look forward to watching part 2.
With that being said, I would like to offer suggestions as to how part 1 could have been much better. I do realize that it is nearly impossible to cram the entire history of the Black experience in America into a 4 hour series...a series that is meant for a diverse mainstream audience at that. I was however, a little disappointed that part 1 did not touch upon the deeper reasons why certain conditions exist within our communities. I will assume part 2 will follow suit. How could the producers fail to somehow incorporate institutionalized racism and the legacy of slavery into the analysis? This is one of the key reasons why it is still very challenging for Black people to advance in America today. This is something very unique to our communities.
Slavery devastated Black people for generations in ways that are very deep and very profound. We were conditioned for centuries to be unpaid workers without any rights or privileges. We were conditioned to believe that we were inferior to whites. We were conditioned to believe we were not even fully human. In order for this conditioning to become reality, those who had the power to make it so, primarily white people, had to believe this to be true and factual. Often times, religious texts in the Bible were used as proof of our inherent inferiority as ordained by God. Thus, we were forced to build this nation, and the institutions that govern it,, without any profit or reward. We must acknowledge that because of this, Black people in America have greatly lagged behind in development. Not because we are inferior or because we lack personal responsibility but because we have suffered centuries of mental and physical damage. Damage that up until recently was still perfectly "legal" in this country. Slavery was "abolished " in 1865 but the institutions that allowed it in the first place still remain. The descendants of the people who allowed it still remain in power and still benefit from the after effects. One only has to look at the modern day prison industrial complex to see this. You can change laws but you cannot always change what is in someone's heart and mind. The legacy of slavery lasted for over 200+ years in this country. It just may take another 200+ years to reverse the impact of it. Let us remember that something as basic as being able to vote without intimidation or harassment was only fully granted to Black people 44 years ago. I am a 34 year old Black woman. My parents lived 1/3rd of their life not being able to vote. That is just one generation removed from me.
There is so much I could say on this topic but I think most importantly, Black people and white people need to come together and CRY together...we need to HEAL together...we need to publically acknowledge the wrongdoings of the forefathers of this nation... not to place blame or to make people feel guilty, but so that we can truly cleanse our hearts and minds of the POISON that still lingers from centuries of ignorance, greed and exploitation. We need to shine the light and make that connection so that everyone realizes that it is in all of our best interest to do so. It is not just up to Black America but it is up to ALL of America. It is OUR history.