Black in America, CNN, dark skinned, Fredericka Whitfield, light skinned, minority, National Association of Black Journalist, National Association of Hispanic Journalist, Soledad O'Brien, Suzanne Malveaux
I did not watch Black in America on CNN last evening on purpose. Many of you that embrace a conscious stance on Blackness are probably wondering how an academic such as myself who has an audience of graduate students at my disposal could turn a blind eye. Well, honestly, it was easy. In fact, the subject matter was not problematic: the light skinned/dark skinned thing is nothing new to the African American community. The Latino community also has these issues as a very dark skinned woman from the Dominican Republic told my late Mother who was lighter skinned, “In my country, you good; Me, no good!” For my Mother, it was her first realization that lighter skin preference existed globally. Yet CNN in its boldness decided that Soledad O’Brien is the best correspondent to tackle African American issues. Interesting.
I say so because Soledad O’Brien for all intents and purposes is considered “White”. Though I am well aware she is Afro-Cuban, she is also Australian. Her skin color, keen features, straight hair and tonality all scream palatable to a larger White audience who may have a little problem hearing about Black issues from…Black People! Heaven, forbid. Her ivy-league education also is a sigh of relief for a larger White audience who may be interested in this topic from an intellectual lens as to offer critical analysis; but distanced enough to remain clueless though some of their ancestors played a role. Essentially in another time and space Soledad would be considered “one of us” with the option to pass for White. Enslaved in the plantation house in the midst of harrowing holocaust of African slavery in America, Soledad O’Brien would have had a tiny reprieve due to her looks. Really? Watch.
O’Brien is an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; a historically Black sorority. She also attends the National Association of Black Journalist and the National Association of Hispanic Journalist conferences. Uncertain how much she has explored the Australian side of her lineage, it is clear that she knows her heritage and celebrates it. I’m going to go out on a limb however and guess that her experiences ill-compare to her CNN correspondent counterparts Fredericka Whitfield and/or Suzanne Malveaux (posted below, respectively) – very light skinned African Americans; which begs the question,”how come they weren’t pegged to do this series?” Simple:
THEY WEREN’T WHITE ENOUGH!!