This weekend, MSNBC aired a show called “The Black Agenda”…and disappointingly enough, it wasn’t about a darkened page in Moleskine notebook.
I was all excited until I saw the commercial for the show and heard:
“MSNBC examines the issues and policies that impact African Americans.”
I was worried. I certainly look like a black American. Was this show going to bring up stuff that I care about and thus pigeonhole me into the space I’ve tried so long to escape?
Here’s what MSNBC (with obligatory black guru Al Sharpton) said black people care about: Employment, Healthcare and Housing… you know, stuff that’s WAAAAAAAY different than anything anyone else in the U.S. cares about.
And it all added up to more evidence that I’m not *really* black. Because though I care about the above, that’s certainly not where my list stops. To the best of my knowledge ALL issues and policies affect me.
Education reform affects not only how my children grow up; but also the kind of labor force I will need to rely on as kids get out of school and consider college. Education issues affect how well-trained the next generations of doctors, social workers, writers, astronauts, chemists, landscapers, architects, day care workers, insurance professionals, car manufacturers and audio engineers are.
Health care affects how the people I care about will be able to take care of themselves. It affects how well those doctors, social workers, writers, astronauts, chemists, landscapers, architects, day care workers, insurance professionals, car manufacturers and audio engineers are able to do their jobs.
Prison reform affects how safe I am…not only from truly violent, uncaring criminals. But from people who might not have been the best kids in town, but who have been damaged by a system that tends to punish rather than rehab.
Reproduction rights affect my relationship to the world as a woman, women’s relationship to men, men’s relationships to each other.
Military spending affects how my friends kids’ who are fighting overseas will be able to protect themselves and the country.
Estate and business taxes affect how my boss will view my job in years to come.
Environmental policies affect how much I can enjoy the world around me.
Marriage equality affects not only how my friends are able to express their love for each other, but how America decides it willing to care for or shit on other “others” like myself.
But according to MSNBC, blacks just aren’t that into those things. And those things don’t seem to affect blacks. So….. by my count, still an Oreo!
Also, by continuing to trot out the same pundits for the black community, it really does emphasize the fact that blacks are all the same and march to the exact beat of the exact same leader. Which is nice for me, because all I have to do is say something simple in conversation like “I’m not really a Sharpton fan,” and people get that my pigmentation just might be a fluke or an overzealous tan.
Sharpton actually said something that was helpful. He mentioned that the continued disparities between blacks and whites hurts everyone. But this lovely soundbite was encased in a show titled “The Black Agenda,” which is just not going to draw the audience that needs to hear that….He also made a rhyme about a bacon and egg sandwich that I could have done without.
And finally, thank goodness major media outlets continue to divide people this way. If they didn’t run shows like “The Black Agenda,” how would I stand out. I would no longer risk being seen as a black person. I’d just be a person. And I have spent WAY too much money on relaxers to be just like everyone else.