Race Conversation Dominates First-Ever ‘CNN Dialogues’
Matt | On 06, Sep 2011
Race is always a touchy-subject for several reasons. People aren’t willing to have the open, tough and complicated discussions around the topic.
CNN is trying a new “Dialogues” series of townhall-like forums to discuss a range of topics. You guessed it. Race was the first topic and how it relates to the 2010 Census results.
Prune Juice Media was invited to cover the events over the coming months on not only race, but social media, LGBT issues, sports, finance, etc. Each topic is its own separate townhall.
I didn’t know what in the world to expect. The Census results were not something in which I was well-versed. But I am an African-American male, so I can at a bare minimum contribute to and/or learn a great deal from the conversation. I chose the latter since I wanted to take in the whole experience and share quick pieces with my PJM readers.
The race discussion veered in so many different directions in the short 90-minute timeframe. The upside was that people were willing to talk about a range of topics – our multi-racial president, outdated Census forms, ‘brain drain’ in northern states, Korean stereotypes, and immigration from a Mexican-American perspective, just to name a few.
The changing demographics from immigrants, whether legal or illegal, seemed to be a main thread throughout the discussion. Panelists were quick to remind the audience that America has thrived for centuries from immigration and needs to check its attitude toward newcomers.
Deep and public biases surrounding illegal immigration peppered the conversation. One of the panelists brought up a great point that in order to grow our economy, the stringent rules for those who study here must be relaxed. People continue to come to America to be educated only to return home and work or start businesses. That’s a no-no for a nation with nine percent unemployment.
After the event, panel moderator and CNN’s Situation Room anchor Wolf Blitzer spoke directly with Prune Juice Media. He offered some insight into what he learned from the panelists.
“[Race is] a lot more complicated than just black and white … Our country is exploding with all sorts of multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious backgrounds, which I think is great because it makes this country so much better,” said Blitzer in the brief one-on-one conversation.
“I’m very proud of what our country is going through. There are a lot of flaws, a lot of problems [and] we haven’t resolved these issues by any means. But, we are working and struggling and trying to do better,” he added.
The next CNN Dialogues event covering social media will be held at Morehouse College in Atlanta on October 13.