Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CNN: "Black in America 2" continues a "news documentary"

After Obama’s press conference, CNN tonight pre-empted LKL and AC360 and aired Soledad O’Brien’s “Black in America 2” (link). CNN likes to make it's news shows (like "Planet in Peril") into quasi-movie franchises. Why not try for theatrical release? CNN has the connections. Of course, each "movie" is itself in several parts.

The first hour focused on students at Bushwick middle school in Brooklyn, who experience an eye-opening two-week field trip to South Africa. The teacher who leads it says that “personal service is the rent you pay for life.” She also says she will show her underpriviledged kids not a better life but first a more impoverished life overseas. Some people would turn that around. The students do become motivated, and when they come back engage in constant extracurricular service activities, such as a fund raiser for a burned child in South Africa. Some boys find more motivation for school since they have seen more of the world, and one tries to get a basketball scholarship to a private prep school. The initiative is called “Journey for Change”, created by Malaak Compton-Rock, with CNN blog here.

The second hour focuses on Capital Prep, a school in Connecticut, with principal Steven Perry (who says he was kicked out of pre-school!) and its record of sending all of its students to college.

Toward the end of the second hour, an engineer, Mia Jackson, enrolls in a “boot camp” (rather like Donald Trump’s “Apprentice”) program to train minorities to become corporate executives.

The program continued with 2 more hours July 23. If focused for a while on a woman with "triple negative" breast cancer; then it told the story of a man in Oakland desperately trying to go straight after prison, but giving in to the pressures and returning to drugs and crime.

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