I have never been a big fan of CNN’s “Black in America” series.
Soledad O’Brien gets props for putting the programs together, and CNN gets an equal number of props for actually dedicating journalism squarely on one of the largest and most influential minority populations in America. However, the execution of the programs has often left me less than impressed, and in some cases outright offended. CNN’s Black in America notoriously lacks context, failing to explain why larger forces and policies of the majority have influenced the current state of Black America as well as spending a little too much time with episodic stories and failing to share a larger narrative. With that being said, the newest episode of the series will premiere in November and will focus on African Americans in the tech industry, and already we’ve got some problems.
Michael Arrington, the owner/editor of the influential blog TechCrunch was interviewed and claimed that he knew no African American internet entrepreneurs and then went on to babble some garbage about meritocracy, skill sets, and all of the other buzz words used to exclude non “traditional” people out of silicon valley. As far as Arrington and many others in the tech industry are concerned, Silicon Valley is for Asians and nerdy white guys, (college degree not needed) so long as they have the right look and fit the profile you can always become part of the team. Really Michael, you don’t know of any African American tech entrepreneurs? I’m a bit of a luddite, but even I know of Omar Wasow, who invented Blackplanet, considered the granddaddy of social networking sites. BP was up and running with over 6 million unique viewers a month in the late 90’s almost a FULL decade before Facebook came online. This guy was on Oprah and National Public Radio. While it’s not surprising that a white journalist pretends to know nothing about Black people it does shock me that at least, so far, CNN hasn’t blown up his spot in their upcoming show.
This article originally appeared at Politic365.com.