Take on America, a new PBS series curated by OZY Media, tackles how race adds nuance to societal issues. During the premiere episode, “Black Men in Baltimore,” 100 Black men gathered to discuss the criminalize of Black boys and Colin Kaepernick’s heroism in Trump’s America.
“They want to treat a White man like a boy, but we treat our Black boys like grown men,” exclaimed one attendee of the town hall.
A stark reference to comments made by President Donald Trump earlier this month about the sexual misconduct allegations brought against Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, before his confirmation hearing.
“My whole life, I’ve heard you’re innocent until proven guilty. But now, you’re guilty until proven innocent. That is a very, very difficult standard,” Trump said. “Well, I say that it’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of.”
Arguably there was never a time when Black men or boys were allowed the privilege of innocence. In 1955, Emmett Till, 14, was killed for whistling at a White woman, who later recanted her accusation. In 2014, Tamir Rice, 12, was gunned down by police within seconds after responding to a call about a “probably fake.” Last week, Jeremiah Hervey, 9, was falsely accused of sexual harassment by a White woman in a convenience store.
The speaker compared Kavanaugh’s treatment to that of Black boys historically. “I can’t even say grown men [because] of the vulgarity in which we’re treated; we can’t say that. There’s Emmett Till [and] we can run a litany of names about how young Black boys weren’t treated like Black boys, but we have a grown White man who is being pampered.”
The compelling series is hosted by OZY CEO Carlos Watson and the premiere episode if moderated by former ESPN journalist and Atlantic writer Jemele Hill, Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, Civil Rights Activist and Black Lives Matter organizer DeRay McKesson, The Wire actor Lawrence Gillard Jr, founder of Black Guns Matter Maj Toure, and professor and journalist D. Watkins.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.