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Posts Tagged ‘Black’

Dreamcatcher

I just had this thought while watching Dr. King’s historic “I Have A Dream” speech. The things he is speaking about– justice for black people; that one day we would have the rights to vote and walk freely without segregation, etc. I sit here and I’m grateful that these things have now come to pass, but it wasn’t until just now, just now, when it clicked. This march, and the actions of the hundreds of thousands of people that preceded this march, at one point, were just leaps of faith. These things were just small footsteps with faith but they set the blueprint for the freedom that we have today, and an anchor for which we can hold onto as we continue sailing through to true justice for ALL people. Dr. King had hope, and a dream and power to move people’s hearts with peaceful determination. But, he had no idea what would happen, just faith, a faith that saw that at the center of all people there is good.

 

There are people –black people- who say there will never be true justice in the legal system for the African American woman or man. I don’t doubt that there were once people who thought they would never walk onto a bus and sit down where they pleased. I don’t doubt that there was a child who sat quietly in her classroom accepting that she would never sit in the same classroom with a white child. I don’t doubt that there were people who didn’t care either way. But, if one could dream–if one could dream of true change- change in a country founded on the oppression of the very people who built it, now that’s remarkable.

That dream made provision for my dream. So, maybe it isn’t far-fetched to see a world where a young black man walking from the store with skittles won’t be judged by the color of his skin but the content of his character, or to imagine an education system that doesn’t clear a direct path to imprisonment or death for young brown men. Maybe, just maybe, I could have a dream too.

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I have realized that I rarely ever talk about my non-profit organization Mic Check 1-Two! on here. Well, that’s about to change! I wanted to let my loyal readers know about a talk show that I am producing, directing, and co-hosting for Mic Check 1-Two! The show is called Misled. 

Misled is a show dedicated to informing the uninformed and the misinformed. We are living in a time where negativity sells and positive images are not always easily accessible or attractive. Our aim is to bring positive images into the media. Misled will focus on common misconceptions and stereotypes about African-Americans by exposing the truth behind them and offering solutions and alternatives to broaden perspectives and perceptions.

Basically, all of the things I talk about on here, and am disgusted with, and conflicted with and otherwise, have finally found a place to be hashed out.

Episode 1 of Misled will focus on colorism within the African-American Community, specifically, the dreaded: Dark-skinned vs. light-skinned controversy. We’ll talk to a historian to get to the root of the issue, we’ll talk to some young women and men to find out just how much this issue has affected us throughout our lives, and what we can do to change perspectives for the future.

Check out the promo video for Misled, Episode 1 below.

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A recent conversation with a friend of mine has been echoing through my mind lately. It raised a question that I am constantly faced with as a black woman and as a journalist.

We were talking about blackness and what it means in relation to one’s professional title. I went to the  National Association of Black Journalists convention earlier this month. At the convention, I attended a forum called “Cultural Tensions in the Black Community.”  The panel consisted of several celebrities in the sports world such as Isaiah Thomas, Bernard Hopkins and Greg Anthony, in addition to some experts in African American studies from colleges and universities around the Philadelphia area. It was moderated by CNN correspondent Soledad O’Brien.

Bernard Hopkins was asked about his comments regarding former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan Mcnabb. Hopkins allegedly made comments referring to Mcnabb as a “house negro.” Hopkins went on to explain his position and how he felt about Mcnabb. I really want to explain exactly what this position was but I can only tell you what I understood from it.

It was difficult for me to understand what Hopkins was trying to say but I think it had to do with Mcnabb being okay with white people in the sports world and not wanting to do anything to upset them. He felt that Mcnabb never came out fully and took charge as a leader in the black community and stood up for the rights and injustices that plague the African American community. Again, this is what I was able to grab from Hopkins’ speech. He tended to ramble and Soledad had to bring him back to his point several times.

I began explaining Hopkins’ position to my friend and he disagreed with him as did some of the members on the panel.

My friend felt that Mcnabb never claimed to be any civil rights leader. He never stood at the 40 yard line with his left fist clenched as some act of black pride, so to speak. He didn’t feel Mcnabb owed black people anything. He was an athlete, the only thing he owed people was to be great, to be a great quarterback and leader for his team, not for the entire African American community. However, he did recognize the that Mcnabb’s position as head quarterback was a major accomplishment being that there are so few black quarterbacks in the NFL.

He went on to say that whenever Mcnabb was seen publicly, he was respectful and never did anything to burn any bridges with either the black or white community. His commentary was always neutral. My friend believed he did  this knowing that his football career wouldn’t last forever and he had to be careful what he said and did so that he could be looked to in the  future for career endeavors outside of playing football.

This is where I am confused. After my friend explained himself, I had to ask this question: You say you, as a black male, don’t feel Mcnabb owes anything to the black community but yet, you feel President Obama does?

He answered with “absolutely.” He said President Obama was elected by black people (these are his words not mine) because of a promise he made. He felt the president made a promise to poor people that they would see change with his administration. Naturally, when you say change to a poor person, that means escaping poverty, finally. He acknowledged that the majority of people on welfare that make up our nation’s “poor” are white. This being said, he still felt that President Obama specifically received support from the black community and although in some cases this was a superficial “just because he’s black” thing, in many cases, it was on the premise that he would finally stand up for the black poor. We hear this among the black community over and over again. We also have critics that will say “he didn’t run to be the president of Black America, he ran for the entire United States of America.”

While at the NABJ conference, Vinnie Goodwill of the Detroit News said something that really stood out to me. He said, “I am not a black journalist, I am a journalist who happens to be black.”

This, to me, meant, he is a journalist first, no matter what. He talked about his race as it related to his job as a beat writer covering the Detroit Pistons for the Detroit News. He talked about how some black athletes expect other black journalists to have some sort of unwritten code that limits what will or will not be reported on. He said that several times in his career he had to make clear to these athletes that he was doing his job, and that came first. Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, was also on the panel and he agreed with this sentiment.

This idea that a person should see my work before they see my race was what I retained from that conversation. Does this notion, this responsibility to your race, differ among various professions?

Is this to say that an African American female journalist, such as myself, has no obligation to any one demographic in reporting, but the President of the United States most certainly does. Did the campaign slogan  “Change” translate differently to those of us who happen to be black?

I would really like to hear your comments people. Thank you for reading! 🙂

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