Soledad O'Brien

Why Your Voice Really Does Matter

Jose 7 Comments

Soledad O'Brien

Soledad O'Brien

Last night, I and the gentlemen from MiBodegaOnline.com went to El Museo Del Barrio, a museum dedicated to the Latino experience here and everywhere, located in Spanish Harlem, to see a preview of CNN’s Latino in America, a spinoff off the acclaimed Black in America by Soledad O’Brien. She was present to introduce the clips and answer questions regarding the premiere and outstanding issues pertaining to the Latino community. One audience member asked arguably the most critical question about the documentary when he asked, “About Lou Dobbs …”

The audience, at that point, clapped loudly, and Soledad’s smile stretched from ear to ear, as if expecting the question. For those not in the know, Lou Dobbs, CNN anchor and host of his own show, has been at the center of a maelstrom of debate with his divisive comments towards the Latino community as a whole, but specifically illegal immigrants. He’s not only continued to perpetrate lies about the “facts,” he’s also sponsored racist organizations like the Minutemen, an organization that supposedly patrols the borders of the US to contain migrants from other countries, predominantly Mexico.

“About Lou Dobbs … I guess my question is, how do we get him out?”

I’ll presume that he meant to ask Soledad O’Brien what’s a good strategy to unseat Lou Dobbs from his own program in light of his blatantly racist (and other -ists) agenda. Lou Dobbs’ program is on the same network (CNN) as this program, so naturally, people had to ask a seemingly uncomfortable question to Soledad, who’s done her part in diversifying the station’s anchors and shows. While I can’t directly quote her, I do believe she said the network notices when certain programs do well and others don’t. She also said that as long as she puts out solid, nuanced programming, and people keep responding as well as they have, then they will win.

And that’s where I see the power. We have to speak in the language that makes the most sense for whatever the situation is, and master that language in kind. The same ideas we have about visiting a foreign country should be applied to everything we do. If we want more movies with Latinos in it, then let’s go to films that have Latinos in them. If we want more stake in our communities, we need to stuff those ballot boxes and sponsor those events, whether with experience or monies. It’s not enough to just blog, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever modality we use online to deliver our messages when many of us aren’t speaking in the language of the very causes we’re fighting for … we need to act en masse.

After stating her thinly-veiled commentary, a good response / non-response if I ever heard one, she said, “I won’t connect the dots for you.” That’s where you and I step in. Join me. Bring your voice to the fore.

Speak up and speak loud.

Jose, who will never insult your collective intelligence …

Soledad O'Brien and I at the Latino in America event at Museo del Barrio, Spanish Harlem, NYC

Soledad O'Brien and I at the Latino in America event at Museo del Barrio, Spanish Harlem, NYC

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Jose VilsonWhy Your Voice Really Does Matter

Comments 7

  1. John

    Soledad O’Brien is such a phony. In April 2008, Reverend Jeremiah Wright gave a speech in Detroit to the NAACP.  One of the things that  he said in this speech was that black and white children learn with different parts of their brain, and then gave an “unflattering imitation of the way white pastors speak.”  Peoples comments were that he gave a racial speech. Soledad  O’Brien, on CNN, was quoted as saying, in a gushing manner, that the speech was a “home run” and “really funny.” When questioned about the things he said in the speech, she would say things like, what he really meant was …..or what he wanted to say was… Once again she’s covering the truth and being racist.  Just as with the Henry Gates incident.  In an appearance on Anderson Cooper, the night or so before CNN’s “The Moment of Truth” she appeared enraged that it was a racial profile against Gates. She said that she got calls from her FRIENDS saying it was all about Gates being black.  She went on that show with the purpose, at all costs, to destroy the credibility of the white police officer and throw him under the bus.  When Cooper was talking she wanted to make the point that Gates said “Thank You” to the police officers.  By mentioning that, she was purposely misrepresenting the truth by playing down Gates’ belligerence and racial remarks, which she didn’t even mention.  Even Gates’ attorney and friend, said to the media that he used very strong language. Colon Powell and President Obama both said he should take blame in the incident.  I have seen this in many occasions with her, where she doesn’t speak the truth and hides the true facts.  Another time on Anderson Cooper, Cooper said to O’Brien that Senator John McCain hasn’t brought race into the campaign, like he said he wouldn’t.  You would think her response would have been something like, that’s great because he shouldn’t.  Instead she strongly insinuated that he would, even in the last week of the campaign. Also, her questioning style, in interviews  is completely different with a white person than it is with a black person.  Like in her interview with Henry Gates in “The Moment of Truth”  She just went along with his lies. I have seen several comments on various websites about her racism.  There are many other examples I could give of her racial bias, dishonesty and hypocrisy. She seems to consider herself to be black. She mentioned in an interview that her parents made it clear to her “you’re black” and that’s all there is to it.
    She’s all about being #1, she wants the world to revolve around her. She comes first, before her family. She wants to be a celebrity figure and a star. In interviews she says she works 6 days a week, mostly out of town, and on some holidays. She goes to gala events, concerts, lots of entertainment events, as a single woman, leaving her husband and kids behind.
    I think Soledad O’Brien is a very poor journalist. What ever happened to the days of CNN with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff? T hey were honorable journalists. You could believe what they said. John Las Vegas

  2. Post
    Author
    Jose

    I can readily assume that you’ve made this sort of comment in other blogs and just copied and pasted whatever you wrote from other places to affirm your “knowledge.” Therefore, it’s hard to legitimize a comment that only contains slivers of truth. For one, that Wright speech was indeed funny and wasn’t as racial as you made it out to be. And yes, if a White preacher said the same thing, it’d be fine, because it’s already happening. Secondly, if you were suddenly stopped by the police in front of your own house when everyone around the neighborhood recognizes you and knows you, and you’re able to prove that you live there readily, then of course you’d be pissed. That’s a natural reaction and you’re lying if you’re gonna say you wouldn’t react to that. Add to that the racial component which is a theme Obama mentioned, and it’s so prevalent in this country, it’s worth mentioning in the context of Black men and their relationship with “law enforcement.” Third, John McCain most certainly injected race into the conversation, as did anyone else around him.

    Third, what does her professional life, and having to stay relevant by promoting herself when others won’t, and having to work for everything you have as a woman of color trying to make it in a predominantly White field have ANYTHING negatively to do with her personal life? You’re insinuating lots of things here, and while we can differ on our opinions about whether Soledad’s a good journalist (I think she’s good), we have to differ based on the facts, not on a smattering of talking points.

    Plus, your whole comment had nothing to do with the actual post.

    Best.

  3. Efrain Ortiz Jr

    Very nice, Jose. I actually wanted to attend this event at El Museo but prior commitments kept me from going. Lou Dobbs, for obvious reasons I am not a fan of. Unfortunately, as racist as he his, his views/opinions are considered to be freedom of speech (at least that is what some will argue). As for Soledad, of course she has her own agendas, I call those goals. Like many of us looking for every opportunity to advance, we all have agendas/goals. She, of course as you mention, in a predominantly white field.
    Lastly, I agree…’ if your going to talk the talk, then you should walk the walk’, don’t just write about it but act on it also. Get out and show Latino power by being a part of it, buy a book written by a Latino author, go see a movie with Latinos in it or made by a Latino, and show your support for the many Latino events that are available throughout the community.

  4. NYC Educator

    Lou is a fun guy, and lately has been obsessed with the birth certificate of Barack Obama. The problem, really, is that people like Lou and the lovable folks at Fox are placed so they can spread all this nonsense, and it gets picked up by those we assume to be real journalists. There’s no media time for the truth. If there were, people like GW and Bloomberg could never remain in power.

  5. clyde

    Lou may be actually jumping ship to FoxNews
    His contract is almost up and he has been seen around town with a few Fox execs recently.
    He may be using this as leverage against CNN.

    The fact is Lou Dobbs > Soledad O’Brien simply because his programming generates more money.

  6. Post
    Author
    Jose

    If Lou goes to Fox, I’d be happy for him … because he’d be with his people. Hate to say it that way because as filthy as his opinions are, I also think having a diversity of opinions all over the place exposes this “post-racial” America as to what we really are.

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