Monica Roberts

Black In America

Filed By Monica Roberts | July 17, 2008 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media
Tags: CNN report, Monica Roberts, Soledad O'Brien

Next week you may want to either tune in or set your Tivo's for an upcoming CNN program hosted by Soledad O'Brien.Soledad OBrien1.jpg

It's called Black In America and the four hour show spread out over two nights will be broadcast on July 23 and 24.

The first night will talk about the issues facing Black women, and the second night will be devoted to the issues Black men have to deal with.

Here's a preview of the show.

I'm definitely planning on tuning in to see how Soledad handled it and will probably comment on it once the show has been broadcast.

There are a lot of misconceptions, myths and outright disinformation floating around about my people. The fact that we live in two separate Americas that don't interact much doesn't help in breaking that wall down.

Hopefully, this four hour special report will help educate and inform people about some of the challenges about being Black in America.

And you can count on me to keep informing you Projectors of some of the challenges that are inherent in being Black and transgender in America.

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The fact that we live in two separate Americas that don't interact much doesn't help in breaking that wall down.

I continue to be amazed at this, even though working together and going to school together gives us more opportunities than we have had in the past to invite those of other races to our own family and groups' social activities.

And MLK said (my paraphrase), "The most segregated hour in America is between 9 and 10 on Sunday morning." ...

... But I, for one, have come to refuse to worship regularly in a congregation that does not have both white and black members: "welcoming" other races is not enough --- what are you doing to ensure that members of the less numerous race(s) actually show up, and feel comfortable enough to make a habit out of coming back?

Monica, thanks for telling us the date for this. I was looking for it on this week's TV schedule so that I could Tivo it. Now I know!

That's great, AJ!

I'd disagree, though, that our schools are much more integrated than they were 50 years ago. I went to a school of 4000 with under 20 black students each year. I only took three classes the entire time I was there with a black classmate in the room.

And then a close native friend of mine (of Mexican nationality) showed me his yearbook from high school when we were in college, and it was filled with Spanish last names and dark-skinned students. Almost no one who'd be considered "white" under America's racial paradigm, and not that many black students either.

Schools are still very much segregated.

I had a interesting high school experience. I was in a gifted and talented magnet high school program housed on an all-Black campus.

The program was 40% white, 40% black and 20% Latino/a and Asian. My high school was 95% Black.

The interesting thing about that was when my high school opened its doors in 1959, the campus was all white up until about 1967. Actress JoBeth Williams is an alum along with former Houston police chief Elizabeth Watson.

I was a library assistant my senior year. We had a collection in the back of every yearbook ever published and when I was done with my duties I'd peruse them. There was not a single Black student in those yearbooks until about 1964.

The switchover to Black majority status came about 1968, which was dramatically chronicled by the steady increase of Black students from 1964 onwards. There was rough parity by 1967, the year I started kindergarten in HISD, and by that time 'white fight' was in full gear from South Park to the northwest, west and southwest sections of Houston and Pearland to the south.

Sorry, Alex, when I said "school" I meant and should have said "college" --- and although I realize that many smaller colleges are still racially monotone, many of the major American universities have literally international student bodies. Indiana University at Bloomington, for example, has both students and faculty from all over the world.

But I realize that each person's educational experience is unique.

(And yes, my high school was totally WASP --- in fact, I had never even met a Jewish person before my Psychology 101 prof my freshman year at IU --- now that's a sheltered childhood!)

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 21, 2008 9:17 AM

Monica, my grade school was even integrated including the teachers. I just think of it as a great shame that so many of all races I started with, dropped out at sixteen.

Bright people, caught up in a bad choice of the moment.