Former CNN morning anchor Soledad O’Brien made waves in the news world with her successful Black In America documentary series. According to O’Brien, White critics of the documentaries, which examined race relations throughout the nation, saw the series as divisive.
Speaking at Harvard University’s Kennedy School Of Government, O’Brien was joined by WGBH-FM public radio host Callie Crossley as the pair discussed race, journalism and the impact of social media. The appearance was part of a video segment produced by the school’s Institute of Politics and opened with O’Brien speaking directly to the criticism.
“People would sometimes, when I give speeches, stand up and say, ‘You know, I think your Black In America documentaries is divisive,” said O’Brien. “’I think like, you know, listen, we shouldn’t think of ourselves as African-American. We’re Americans, and everybody should stop separating themselves out.’”
O’Brien added, “First of all, it’s only white people who ever said that – ‘If we could just see beyond race. If only people didn’t see race, it would be such a better place, and you are responsible for bringing up these icky race issues, Soledad, you should just let sleeping dogs lie.'”
O’Brien concluded her statement with, “I was like, again, ‘OK, white person, this is a conversation you clearly are uncomfortable with, and I have no problem seeing race, and I think we should talk about race.’”
O’Brien, a graduate of Harvard, was recently named a distinguished visiting fellow for the Graduate School of Education. Although she left her CNN post last March, she still works with the network as a documentary reporter and has started her own production company.
Watch the Institute of Politics segment below.
[Spotted at Washington Examiner]