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  • Click to view venwright's profile
    Posted July 25, 2008 by
    Clinton, Maryland

    More from venwright

    I was very disappointed by how CNN overlooked the "average" black guy


    I, for one, was offended by CNN's portrayal of black men. I think they gave a very objective view of black women the night before and presented the good, along with the bad and at least tried to run the entire spectrum from the ghetto to the suburbs, but I don't think they came close to doing the brothers justice. They did throw in a token reference to the guys who did send their kids to college or managed to buy a big house in the suburbs, but that was tempered by the bad seeds in their family who brought shame to the family name and overshadowed by the four other stories they showed where the men were exactly what the media would have you believe that black men are.


    Someone who watched the special last night, and didn't know any better, would have looked and thought that we were either in jail, unsuccessfully trying to find a part-time blue collar job to support his four or five kids by different women, or some Bryant Gumbel type sellout who only hangs with white dudes. They missed an entire group of black men, the ones like me.


    I know that I am pretty successful, by most measures, but at the same time, I'm a regular dude. I grew up black, in a black neighborhood, hung with black people, listened to black music and had the black experience the entire time. I went to school and did well... I graduated and worked hard to get to where I am. I have been fortunate enough to have been a senior staffer on Hillary Clinton's campaign and an executive in Corporate America, but there is nothing else exceptional about my story because there are tons of other black men just like me.




    I wasn't a thug and I wasn't a nerd... I was somewhere in between. I got in fights with the thugs and lost a couple (not nearly as many as I won), but I also would have kicked that dude's azz who said that white people say, "Wow, he's articulate" when he opens his mouth.



    All of this is to say that CNN didn't shine a spotlight on all of the brothers who I see on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge going to work everyday and doing what the hell they're supposed to be doing, because they know it's the right thing to do. They didn't talk about all of the dudes I know personally who are good fathers, good husbands and all around good citizens who are intelligent, fun loving, well rounded men... despite the fact that no one is highlighting their accomplishments on Father's Day or otherwise.



    Most white men aren't senior executives, just like most black men aren't, but you don't hear CNN calling them failures because they're contract specialists or helpdesk technicians instead of Vice Presidents of Fortune 500 companies.





    I think that special only served to perpetuate the myth that black men are shiftless losers who are looking for a hand out after they've screwed up their lives by selling drugs or robbing the liquor store the next neighborhood over, that's if they aren't some wannabe white guy who curses the color of his skin because it hurts his chance to fit in with the white folks at happy hour.



    What about the everyday brothers who contribute to society and raise productive children who do the same thing when it's their turn? If there are no good black men out here how the hell did all of our black wives find husbands?





    You don't have to present the contrast between Michael Eric Dyson and his convict brother because that is unfairly extreme. There are lots of black male families where no one has been in jail or in the boardroom... they don't make the news, good or bad. You can't find them on Google if you search them because they just go to work everyday, like everyone else and live their lives, so for them to imply that you're either a horrible failure or a smashing success does not capture the reality of the black experience. We're just like everyone else... there are some of us who have made it and some who haven't, but it's not because we're not trying as a race.



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