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Five things I learned watching CNN’s Black in America

Last night I got a chance to check out the second part of CNN’s series Black in America. Here’s a few things I learned.

1) Black men and black women are officially two different races of people.

If you notice, these specials on the state of black America are always split up by gender. For example, the Washington Post had its series of articles on being a black man, and the NBC Nightly News did that series on where black women stand (i.e. not by the stove). This CNN shit was split up into two separate nights. Wednesday night was black women, and last night was black men. I missed Wednesday night, because I was out working like a Hebrew slave at the BGM. But I can imagine what it was like. Probably a bunch of lonely old black chicks with checks wondering why they can’t keep a man around. Also, I’m gonna guess that any solutions put forth, if there were any at all, had to do with what the black man needs to do to be a better spouse to black women, and not vice versa.

2) Light skinted dudes are more successful than dark skinted dudes.

The episode on black men is bookended by stories featuring two guys, one dark skinted and one light skinted, where, in both cases, the light skinted guy becomes wildly successful, while the dark skinted fellow ends up plumming the depths of depravity. Hmm… The two black guys at the very end are the legendary professor and author Michael Eric “Cornholio” Dyson (the light skinted one, natch) and his brother, who’s serving life in prison for a crime he claims he didn’t commit. (Isn’t that what they always say?) At one point, Soledad O’Brien tries to get Cornholio to say that the reason he’s been as successful as he’s been, where his brother hasn’t, is because he has lighter skin. You could tell Cornholio objected to the idea of having everything that ever happened to him and his brother reduced to a silly, 1980s-style argument about skin tone, but the most he could do is add that it may have had something to do with him being such a gifted speaker.

3) A nigga can’t find a job for shit.

I always like it when the media trots out that statistic about how a cracka-ass cracka with a criminal record has a better chance of finding a job than a black man with no criminal record, because it makes me feel that much better about my own personal failings. No but really, if there’s a common thread to all of the guys they profiled last night who ended up tangled in the criminal justice system or broke living in the projects, it’s that they just couldn’t find a job that was worth a shit. Or so they claimed. I notice a lot of dudes had jobs, but they claim they just didn’t pay enough money to support the lifestyle they aspired to. Which makes me wonder what these dudes were expecting. I can certainly relate to not being able to live the way I’d like to live, but I’ve yet to reach the point where I’m looking at crime as an option.

4) You can’t keep it real and get paid.

Also, I noticed that the few black dudes they profiled who did manage to become successful all spoke as if they were white people. There were the three sons of the light skinted (and hence successful) fellow from the beginning of the show, two of which are married to white women, and one who’s a bit younger, but who’s clearly on his way to scoring with a white chick, if that’s what he wants. (And something tells me it is.) And then there was this guy who’s an executive with a marketing company in New York, and this dude was mad cracka-ish. Even more so than those other kids. His story hit especially close to home for me, because I have a degree in marketing, and I always felt like my cracka-ass cracka game was on point. I know more about white people than most white people, and what do I have to show for it? Nothing. It must be because I’m not light skinted enough.

5) Some niggas just ain’t worth a shit.

You just knew there was gonna have to be a segment about a dreaded n-word who doesn’t take care of his kids. That sort of thing’s just so prevalent in the black community, it wouldn’t have been a very accurate program if they didn’t. So they had this family that was throwing this birthday party for a baby girl. It was either her first or second birthday. I’m not an expert enough on babies to be able to tell. The baby’s daddy doesn’t live with the baby and its mother, but he was supposed to be there. But of course he wasn’t. The baby’s grandpa was all pissed and shit. The baby’s mother just sat there and looked stupid. In a voiceover, we learn that he’s since had another child, a son, by some other broad. Then the guy finally shows up. His explanation: “I was gonna show up, but I was told several conflicting times.” Roffle.

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