NBC News To Black Women: It Sucks To Be You

by guest contributor AverageBro, originally published at AverageBro.com

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]