Disclaimer: This post is fictional. I did not watch CNN’s “Black in America 5”, but, taking a page from We Are Respectable Negroes, I can write about what CNN should show (this is half-serious and half-mocking):
“White in America” (2013-2016) was a CNN/PBS documentary series about White Americans. With the success of “Black in America” (2008-2014) and given the white Republican soul-searching after Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, CNN came out with “White in America”. When advertisers backed out after the third season, PBS picked up the series.
White in America 1: The End of White America?
CNN, July 21st 2013
Romney’s defeat. Interviews Angry White Men: Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity. The hard demographic truths about the future of White America. Show a demographically average classroom of eight-year-olds. Voice-over: “This is what America will look like in 30 years.” White identity politics. The rise and fall of the Southern Strategy. Nixon, Reagan, Lee Atwater. Interview Ruy Teixeira. Institutional racism. Will racism grow weaker or stronger? What would either mean for whites?
White in America 2: Who is White in America?
CNN, August 17th 2014
Why is racial purity so important to white people? The One Drop Rule. Interviews and stories of blacks who pass for white while others in their family cannot. The roots of white racism, the invention of whiteness. How the Irish became white. How the Jews became white. How Jesus became white. Immigration law. Interview Nell Irvin Painter. Will Mexicans or Asians become “white”? Interviews and stories of Mexican and Asian immigrants about racism. Interview Delores Huerta, Frank Wu, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva.
White in America 3: The Roots of White Violence
CNN, April 5th 2015
Start with closeup of John Wayne. He says something implicitly racist, like something about “our” country. Then kills some Indians. Genocide. Homestead Act. Whites living on Dead Indian Land. Manifest Destiny. War in Mexico, Philippines, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. America as arms dealer. The history of guns in America. Gun violence, gun laws, gun clubs, gun culture, gun nuts, gun heroes in Hollywood films. Dirty Harry. Charlton Heston holding up his gun. The gun and the slave trade. Fear of slave uprisings. Slave patrols. The Klan. Lynching. The NYPD. Police brutality. The War on Drugs, racial profiling and mass incarceration of black men. Serial killers. School shootings. The gun industry, the NRA and Congress.
White in America 4: Class in White America
PBS, September 25th 2016
The stories of five white New Yorkers: beggar, maid, schoolteacher, doctor, millionaire. Follow each in the course of the same day: show food, housing, clothing, family life. Ask about unemployment, work, education, healthcare, justice and politics. Ask them to compare their lives with their parents’ and what they expect for their children. Interview Charles Murray, Joseph Stiglitz. Talk about how American social mobility is worse than in most other rich countries. About how and why the American economy has left behind the bottom 80%, how racism and the Southern Strategy have made that possible.
PBS lost corporate backing and cancelled the fifth season: “White in America 5: Breakdown of the White Family”.