Soledad O’Brien Developing ‘White in America’

By Chris Ariens 

Soledad O’Brien is responding to criticism she’s received over remarks made recently while talking about her “Black in America” documentaries. In the process, she also made news about an upcoming series she’s developing called “White in America.”

During the talk at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, O’Brien discussed what critics call the “divisive” nature of “Black in America.”

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. I was like, again, ‘OK, white person, this is a conversation that you’re clearly uncomfortable with, and I have no problem seeing race, and I think we should talk about race.

In response today, O’Brien says, “My comments on the importance of discussing who we are and where we come from are nothing new. What is new is our friends in the blogosphere taking the conversation out of context and ginning up headlines so we lose sight of the real issues. I would encourage those reporting on my work to listen to the conversation in its entirety, and this time, turn their mute buttons off. As a journalist, my job is to probe the uncomfortable topics to drive conversation. I’m happy to see that’s still happening as a result of ‘Black In America,’ and I look forward to continuing that conversation as we continue to tell the stories of who we are. We’re not just working on BIA, but also developing a ‘White in America.’ Stay tuned for that one.”

O’Brien and CNN parted ways earlier this year, but through her production company, Starfish Media Group, she is producing documentaries which will air on CNN. O’Brien will deliver a “Black in America” special later this year and three more docs next year. In 2009, O’Brien also fronted “Latino in America.”