Tuesday, November 27, 2007

NBC News To Black Women: "It Sucks To Be You."


[We Watch, So You Don't Have To.]

Well, here we go again. Every 3-4 months, the mainstream media tries to focus on a topic of interest to black people, and as opposed to objective coverage, they resort to flipping to page 94 in The Book of Manufactured Controversy.

This phenomenon is something I've blogged about in the past, especially such "issues" as black women dating outside their races, and the disparity between news coverage of missing black women and whites. BTW, how ironic is it that after shaking down and illegally arresting all those Arubans, the very cats we knew had abducted Natalee Holloway all along turned out to be responsible? Maybe ironic isn't the right word.

Anyways, NBC News With Brian Williams (how clever is that title?) is running a five part series this week called African-American Women: Where They Stand, and after watching the first night, I can already tell you it's the piece of oversensationalized crap you'd expect it to be.

Here's a blurb from NBC News about the series:
Throughout the week of November 26, "NBC News With Brian Williams" will take a look at the issues facing African-American women across our nation in a new series "African-American Women: Where They Stand." The series will cover a wide-range of issues from their role in the '08 Presidential race, to the increased health-risks that they need to be concerned about.

Monday's installment will discuss African-American women's progress in the education field. Nearly two-thirds of African-American undergraduates are women. At black colleges, the ratio of women to men is 7 to 1. And that is leading to a disparity in the number of African-American women who go on to own their own businesses. Rehema Ellis will talk to educators, students and businesswomen about why this disparity exists.
The problem with such coverage is the medium itself. Trying to objectively present the dynamics of such a topic in 3-4 minute vignettes is a surefire recipe for failure. If NBC was so concerned about "the state of black women", maybe they'd dedicate a few episodes of Dateline. Instead, these short segments, cleverly dropped at the end of each show (to make you watch the whole episode of course) go headfirst into misleading statistics that serve no real purpose other than further discrediting black men and magnifying a rift between genders that exists in every race.

Case in point, last night's segment lead off by showing a black single mom who owns her own PR firm. No problem here, entrepreneurship is positive stuff. But then the show starts throwing up a series of stats, namely the 7-1 ratio of black women to men at HBCU's and that black women account for 63% of all black college students. Never mind the fact that the academic gender gap is hardly unique to blacks, it's a universal problem that is just now emerging as one of the biggest epidemics in public education. And of course, the series reaches deep into The Book of Negro Excuses, and blames hip hop for the high dropout rates of black males. Typical. They droned on with more and more stats about how black women control a majority of the $850B of annual spending power in the black community, and how the rate of business ownership among black women is growing at a higher rate than that of black men.

If the purpose of the series is to focus on black women, why even bother mentioning how well they are performing relative to black men? Hell, why even bother mentioning black men at all?

What's really the point?

Don't misunderstand me, I'm obviously not downing black women here, but I think when you can only highlight their successes by contrasting them with the relative failures of black men, there's obviously an ulterior motive at work.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: relationships are hard. Period. But by continually bombaring ourselves with stories like this, the manufactured DL brother phenomenon, or Love Lust and Lies style destructive chatter, we're only making the issue worse. Black people operate in generalizations just as much (more?) as any other race, yet I can't say I see this level of devisive rhetoric directed towards anyone else.

It's like The Willie Lynch Letter personified. Never mind the fact that The Willie Lynch Letter is nothing more than an internet hoax, it's still pretty appalling.

Note to Black America: learn, trust, and love each other. Turn this crap off, because NBC News clearly cares about keeping us apart more than they do about where Black Women Stand.

The ladies at WAOD are ripping this series a new one, but if you're watching this series and have a different take, you know where to voice your two cents.

African-American Women: Where They Stand Series on NBC [with video]

12 AverageComments™:

Anonymous said...

Well I did think the first "installment" was a little short - I mean, I settled onto my bed thinking I was in for at least 15 minutes of discussion, and instead, it was more like two minutes lol. But that program specializes in news "nuggets" so to say, and journalists don't always have the ability to spend a lot of time on a topic.

And I should know about journalism: I'm the author of the "black women/white men" AP article you enjoyed so much. - Dionne Walker.

domo said...

Yeah, this was typical brainwashing propoganda. I have to agree with you on that one.

Anonymous said...

PS - there wasn't anything factually "questionable" in that article. You didn't like the content, the approach or the entire concept. That's fine.

But it's unfair to suggest that I reached into a bag and said "here's some crap I can make up and call facts." That insults me greatly because
a) Reporters (not broadcasters) do a LOT of work to get an article factually right.
and
b) I'm one of the black women you claim to lionize.

And for the record, no, I don't date interracially.

I rarely take the time to reply to something like this, but I did this time because I become so troubled when people don't take the time to educate themselves about the reporting process before they dismiss things mere creations of the media imagination.

If you are ever in Richmond, Va. I would be very happy to invite you to the AP Richmond bureau and show you exactly how an idea becomes an article. You don't have to agree with my articles or my job, but please respect me and the other journalists out there.

Truth.

AverageBro said...

Dionne Walker,

Hit me on email. I'd love to discuss. The link's above.

BookishBlackGirl said...

NBC is despicable and I'm glad it's getting thrashed for its presentation. Evidently, there are those out there who think the achievements of AA women can be highlighted in 3 minutes without turning into a referendum on the failures of AA men. And, with the US Secretary of State, the world's only black billionaire, and the first black president of an Ivy League university among us, maybe it isn't all going to hell after all.

In today's program, NBC not only wrongly suggests that African ancestry may be linked to stronger forms of breast cancer, it also accuses black women of inaction in fighting breast cancer.

You're right AB, I should just turn this crap off but I can't!

http://bookishblackgirl.blogspot.com/2007/11/sticking-it-to-nbc-man.html

hawa said...

I haven't seen the series, but based on your assessment - I also question the motive.

My "stand" or "place" in the world shouldn't be measured by the real or perceived failures of black men. In fact, any sincere effort to look at my status would require equal comparisons to women in other races/cultures - including the relative distance between them and THEIR men.

I won't be watching the series, but I'll keep reading here. I'm also headed for my weekly dose of WAOD... :-)

Jennifer said...

Note to Black America: learn, trust, and love each other. Turn this crap off, because NBC News clearly cares about keeping us apart more than they do about where Black Women Stand.

Best advice I've read in a long time, AverageBro. :)

AverageBro said...

In all fairness to NBC, last night's segment (on black women and breast cancer) was far more balanced, and at least for me as a black man, informative.

Then again, tonight's segment is about "black women and relationships". I already am wincing inside.

texasgirl82 said...

I watched the clips online. I too wish this had been a longer and more in depth story. Black women cannot be condensed to soundbites.
My friend and I did have a good discussion on how the women's lib movement may have affected future Black women. My Grandmother always said she didn't need to be liberated-she already had a job.

og said...

Hey Why do you think they call them (Programs)

Anonymous said...

Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America



Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.



This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:



First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.



Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.



Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the '60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.



Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks -- with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas -- to advance black applicants over white applicants.



Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.



We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?



Barack talks about new 'ladders of opportunity' for blacks.



Let him go to Altoona and Johnstown , and ask the white kids in Catholic schools how many were visited lately by Ivy League recruiters handing out scholarships for 'deserving' white kids.



Is white America really responsible for the fact that the crime and incarceration rates for African-Americans are seven times those of white America ? Is it really white America 's fault that illegitimacy in the African-American community has hit 70 percent and the black dropout rate from high schools in some cities has reached 50 percent ?



Is that the fault of white America or, first and foremost, a failure of the black community itself?



As for racism, its ugliest manifestation is in interracial crime, and especially interracial crimes of violence. Is Barack Obama aware that while white criminals choose black victims 3 percent of the time, black criminals choose white victims 45 percent of the time?



Is Barack aware that black-on-white rapes are 100 times more common than the reverse, that black-on-white robberies were 139 times as common in the first three years of this decade as the reverse?



We have all heard ad nauseam from the Rev. Al about Tawana Brawley, the Duke rape case and Jena. And all turned out to be hoaxes. But about the epidemic of black assaults on whites that are real, we hear nothing.



Sorry, Barack, some of us have heard it all before, about 40 years and 40 trillion tax dollars ago.

brownsugammmmmmm said...

The last comment before mine is pure comedy.

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