Posted by the prisoner's wife On 9:58 AM
last night, after i completely ODed on Democratic National Convention coverage, i was flipping through the channels and stumbled upon HBO's documentary, "The Black List." previously, i'd seen ads about the documentary & made a mental note that i wanted to watch it, but i didn't remember when it came on. last night i broke into the middle of the program and was IMMEDIATELY enthralled in each of the stories. "The Black List" allows the subjects, various prominent black americans, to speak candidly about their life, their experiences and their point of view. i was most taken aback by Colin Powell and Bill T. Jones.
we all have this image of Colin Powell as level-headed, republican soldier, who perhaps does not speak or emphasize his race. i've heard him referred to (wrongly), like many high-achieving Black people, as a sellout or as trying to be white. hearing him speak about race and that fact that he believes that there is a second civil war going on--one in which the educational system is not equal for blacks, and impoverished americans--was eye-opening. i never thought of him in any way connected to civil rights. i respected the fact that he had achieved so much, based on his strong work ethic and drive, but i never really thought that he was anymore connected to the success of other Black folks than anyone else. his story of being passed over for the top spot at his school because he was Black, and his ideas on the inequality of the educational system was refreshing.
the other story that stuck me was that of , Bill T. Jones. he confronted issues of identity, and how we, and others, classify ourselves head on. in the piece he recounted a story that he once said that he was an artist first, and a black man next and received sever criticism from the Black community, many interpreting his words as him disowning his race, as if that could ever be possible. listening to him, a man that pushes the margins of identity through his life and his art made me wonder how important IS the identification of race. i have always toyed with the idea that race does not really exist, that it is a socially constructed idea used to separate and dominate. sure our skin color is different, perhaps that is our ethnicity at work, but underneath it all we are just people. so how important is identifying yourself as Black or white or Asian? and what does it really mean anyway? Bill T. Jones, in all his fierceness, caused me to toy with these thoughts well after midnight.
did anybody else happen to catch the documentary? if so, what were your thoughts. if you happened to miss it, or only caught a portion of it like i did, it is replaying tonight (and throughout September) on HBO.