>Full review: Black in America, Part I

>CNN’s most talked-about documentary, Black in America, premiered last night, with its first installment focusing on black women and family. I fought drowsiness to stay up and watch the two-hour program and was overall pleased. I thought the stories were compelling and gave an eye-opening glimpse to what it’s like being a black woman or a black family in this country. However, I was slightly disappointed. I would have liked to seen CNN focus a little bit more on black women, but I understand that, due to time constraints, it’s nearly impossible to focus on every issue that affects the lives of black women.

That being said, I will give what I think should have been discussed.

Black women and sexuality:

Our sexuality is constantly portrayed and on display in the media. I was disappointed that none of last night’s stories focused on this aspect. Black female sexuality has always been a fascination with mainstream society. Misconceptions about black female sexuality have been used to restrict and demean black women to the point where it’s affected our ability to feel as comfortable as white women when it comes to “sexually expressing and liberating” ourselves from the bonds of discrimination. Maybe that will be discussed a little on tonight’s installment focusing on the black man.

Colorism in the black community:

Discrimination based on the shade of a black person’s skin still exists in our community. Light-skinned, or high-yellow black women are still favored over brown and darker-skinned women. Just look at the music videos and other forms of media. Light-skinned black women are also portrayed as being more wholesome and innocent while darker-skinned women are viewed as devious and over-sexed. The perception of lighter-skinned black women as being more desireable also hurts us as women when it comes to the dating pool. Sadly, some black men (and other races/ethnicities) still go by the notion of the fairer a person’s skin is, the more attractive a woman is.

Sexism towards black women:

Racism and sexism is a constant battle black women face. This two-fold weapon of discrimination impacts black women to the point that it causes us to face more stress at work and at home. More so, sexism in the black community is alive and well: black women are routinely denied the basic right to equality in our churches and other forms of black institutions. Black women are systematically encouraged to throw all of their efforts to fighting racism and think of sexism as a white woman’s battle. This narrow-minded view of issues that affect black women continues to keep us in a box when it comes to fighting to get ahead, inside and outside of our community.

Impact of dating outside of their race on black women:

I wanted to see more of this, quite frankly. There’s a double standard in the black community when it comes to dating outside of their race. Black men have been exercising their right to choices for decades while black women have been encouraged to date and mate within the community. In some circles of the black community, black women are chastise for dating outside of their race. Also, in some circles, black women lose their identity when they try something new. So, to avoid the fear of being shut out of the community, black women continue to hold a rigid view of their romantic lives. To avoid being labeled a turncoat, black women continue to hold out hope that their Black Prince will come and sweep them off their feet.

Like I said before, I was overall pleased and impressed with the first documentary. I loved how the stories did focus on black women and families of different income levels and socio-economic statuses. I’m hoping the focus on the black man will be equally compelling.