... I just watched CNN's "Black In America" series in its entirety and all I can say is, WOW! I think Soledad O'Brien can expect to get a Peabody out of this one, that was just a wonderful piece of journalism.
Now that the accolades are out of the way, lemme just say that the statistics for single, professional women in the "Women and Families" episode are down right depressing. I had no idea that getting an education would cut my chances of being a wife and mother in more than half.
I heard those stats when Tyra Banks did her show, but damn! Something about hearing Soledad say it made it more concrete. I mean, dang, did she have to just spring it on us like that? Gah! I kinda did want to wait on my "IBM" (ideal black man) to jump the broom and have a couple lil' cute brown babies.
I think that every little girl grows up with the fantasy of having the great job, with the house that has a white picket fence, an awesome husband with two kids and a dog. But that's what it is, a fantasy. How many folks are actually living that dream and loving it?
My favorite quote by my shero, Oprah Winfrey, is "you can have it all but not at the same time." I believe that. I believe that I will have the husband and kids, I will have the awesome career and I will have my dream house. I was never sure if I'd have it all at once. Now, I'm even less sure of it.
If that weren't bleak enough, when I watched the second half, I spent most of the two hours shaking my head at the statistics of black men who are incarcerated. While I know not all of them are innocent, I am certain that not all of them deserve to be there.
Everybody in prison swears they're innocent, I wonder how many of them are really. Given the number of folks who have been freed with the help of DNA evidence and modern technology, it sort of makes me think that a lot of them are innocent.
Something else I found interesting is the number of folks in prison on drug offenses. They're in there for use, possession or for selling mostly crack. That one drug is responsible for the destruction nearly two generations of black folks. The jacked up thing is folks get more prison time for possession of crack than they do for possession of cocaine.
Why is that important? Well, crack is a poor man's drug, while cocaine is for those folks in the upper echelon of society. I'm not saying that anyone should get off for committing drug crimes but I'll bet if some of these folks were offered help, i.e. rehab and/or job assistance, they would be able to get themselves on the right track.
All in all, watching the special actually motivated me. You guys know I'm working trying to get my my non-profit organization off the ground. It will be an after school program for kids ages 10 to 14 in my hometown of Fairmont, NC. I even have a name for it, Levi Leadership Academy.
It's all about equipping these kids with the skills they will need to become the wonderful leaders they are destined to be. There are a lot of minorities in my rural hometown and a lot of the adults have never attended a college class or even dreamed that they could.
My goal is to not only allow the kids to dream about going to college but to help them get there. I want to expose them to people who look like them who have gone to college and become successful by using their education. I'm not going to bore you guys with the details but the piece has really reinforced and re-motivated (is that a word?) me to get this thing up and running.
To update you all, I finished my plan. The only thing it's lacking now is a table of contents and a good proofreader. I'm so excited, I'm rejuvenated and I'm ready to work!
If you didn't catch the special, do yourself a favor. In my opinion, it lived up to the hype.
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