The fifth installment of CNN's Black in America Series focused on the question, "Who is black in America?" That single, seemingly simple question unravels the complicated, densely packed issue of racial identity in this country. To continue this important conversation, three of the interview subjects from the documentary: Fmr. Editor, Essence Magazine Michaela Angela Davis, (1)ne Drop Project" Artistic Director and a consulting producer for the documentary Yaba Blay and poet and mentor Perry "Vision" DiVirgilio join “Starting Point” this morning.
Mentor Perry DiVirgilio, also known as "Vision" says during his workshops with students he would come across a lot of “folks who you would look at as a …black man… a young black woman,” who “were checking other or not wanting to identify with race at all.”
On the question of why this topic is important Davis says, “Acting like it doesn’t exist doesn’t heal.” Davis goes on to add, “That America as a family… this is our taboo issue. This brings up so much – it triggers a lot of black girl pain, it triggers up a lot of secrets. There’s a lot of bias. It triggers emotional things…. People don’t like to look at it but this is the roads to healing.”
Blay who says she could see her younger self in a young girl in the documentary who said she didn’t “want to be dark,” talked about the affects of colorism. Blay says, “At that age you’re very aware of whose privileged, who is seen as beautiful, which little girls are on T.V. with the curls in their hair.” She adds that for many like the young girl, “the pain of being dark-skinned is such that you will take an incremental step lighter and think that that is going to improve your life.”
Davis says progress can be made in “having this conversation. This is the solution.” She adds however, “It’s not that it’s done after this,” referring to the documentary.