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Soledad O’Brien: Only Whites Object to Her Documentaries on Race

Soledad O'BrienSoledad O’Brien addressed criticism from “white people” about her documentaries about race in America in a new video.

O’Brien has hosted five documentaries in CNN’s “Black In America” series. In a talk at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, she said that some people have told her that the documentaries are “divisive,” and that they think black Americans should stop differentiating themselves from white Americans.

“First of all, it’s only white people who ever said that — ‘if we could just see beyond race. If only people didn’t see race, it would be such a better place, and you are responsible for bringing up these icky race issues, Soledad, you should just let sleeping dogs lie,'” O’Brien said.

She continued, “I was like, again, ‘OK, white person, this is a conversation you clearly are uncomfortable with, and I have no problem seeing race, and I think we should talk about race.'”

O’Brien signed off CNN as a regular host in March, after the network announced that a new morning show would replace “Starting Point.” She is still working with CNN as a roving documentary reporter, and was also recently named a distinguished visiting fellow at Harvard, her alma mater.

Her most recent installment of “Black in America” came out in December. In an interview with professor Yaba Blay, O’Brien spoke about people questioning her racial identity because of her role hosting the documentary.

“You know, white people really have a luxury in that they get a range of stories, that they’re not defined by five stories,” she explained. “So I think that the difference with ‘Black in America’ was the filter did matter. That there are only going to be five stories and we want to know exactly who you are and what your credentials are to be telling our story.”


What people are saying

13 thoughts on “Soledad O’Brien: Only Whites Object to Her Documentaries on Race

  1. Ron Kinney says:

    She sounds like quite the racist herself.

  2. Rochelle Renita Tate says:

    White people get so mad at the truth. Just admit that racism does still exist. If you all would stop being racist then we will stop calling you all racists.

  3. Annette Singleton Jackson says:

    I am Black and I object. Soledad has no idea what it means to be Black in America and her isolation from racial experiences shows through in her reporting about race.

  4. Robert Joell says:

    Bring Soledad back she speaks from Latin, Black, and white perspectives.

  5. Carey Conley says:

    Project much? There's this new thing now where, when you point out racism, YOU are deemed the racist!

  6. Delia Winn says:

    Here we go again, get over it or you will never be happy.Be proud of your heritage , get an education, support yourself and your family do not depend on the government. We will always have racist against everybody, blacks, Latinos and Hispanics ( I don't like that because that is not a race) .

  7. Mamie Omimoza Yakibonge says:

    WOW! You should go to Kongo-Zaire, all the woman are educated to not look like whites woman….but, the worse place for the bleaching skin, is in Indian…..very ashamed!

  8. Neti Netii says:

    More African American media us needed. The stories will be told. Will you tell it? Or let a non Afrocentric voice define you.

  9. I don't understand why a lot of people in America are trying and wanting to be something that they are not, Soledad O'Brien looks nothing like a black person? She looks more like a Latino or Mexican, But I know that she is (Mixed Race), She must be going through some kind of identity crisis? The only reason that I can come up with is the brainwashing of the (One Drop Rule).

  10. Tony Yates says:

    If you are part Black then you are part Black, that's all there is to it. Due to the fact that she is able to do the "Black in America Series," and talk about the racial history of this country and do a good job at it, show's that she does have a Black experience. I do know that she joined a Predominate Black Sorority in College, and went to Harvard like many other top Black students who by the way flock to Harvey in record numbers. So she's more apart of Black America then we really know. Don't judge a book by its cover.

  11. Tony Yates says:

    Carey Conley I agree. Last I checked someone who is a racist is a person who believes in the doctrine that a certain human race is superior to any or all others, and is able to inflict racist policies and racist attitudes toward others based only on the color of their skin. Rochelle was only pointing out what people are doing, that is not being racist.

  12. Tony Yates says:

    Ron Kinney, Rochelle was only pointing out what people are doing, that is not being racist. You might want to look up the definition for future reference.

  13. Tony Yates, it's not about taking away from her black experience…BUT more of how dare anyone with a white parent be the voice and face for a community when there are so many capable, educated, trained black folks that can do the job as well (with two black parents) and don't have the entitlements which come with looking almost white. Soledad can identify however she chooses that is her right, however she could also pass for white, that is in NO way apart of the black experience it comes with whistles and bells that don't come with a darker shade of skin. Her father is Irish, her mother is Afro-Cuban, both of her parents were not born in the US, so the political racial baggage that comes with being an African American her parents can't speak to…so the historical crap that bleed over into parents that were born here were not ingrained in her perception of the world. You can read and report on shit all day long, that's what a journalist does, doesn't mean that she has walked in the shoes of the story she is covering. Those differences are huge, and when black folks mention this and we (we-as biracial folks) act like we can't hear them that is the backbone of a lot of the issues within folks of color and the light/dark drama that plays out. We need to be mindful of how what we do defines others, how it makes them virtually invisible. An education at Harvard would also make me think far removed from the average black folk especially when you're married to a white investment banker.

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