Friday, October 22, 2010

Grading CNN's Black In America: Almighty Debt

I caught CNN's Black In America special, "Almighty Debt" last night. Bottom line: I think CNN deserves kudos for putting up the time, money and Soledad O'Brien to report on black debt, but the presentation left me wanting. I was hoping that at some point the church angle would go beyond anecdotes about how some churches are helping their members financially. Helping congregants isn't specific to black churches and it left a lot of material unexplored. For example, where does "prosperity gospel" as preached by megachurch leaders like Bishop Eddie Long, fit in a community plagued by debt and institutional economic bias? What role, if any, do black churches still have as economic engines in downtrodden communities?

And I really would have loved to see a more explicit discussion of the difference between debt as a function of the legacy of institutional racism and debt as a result of really, really bad choices. For an example of the latter, see this keeping-up-with-the-Joneses couple, who sold luxury cars and houses for a living and have a daughter with a $400 a month credit card habit but landed in foreclosure on their house:

I want to know heard more about this couple's mindstate before landing in foreclosure. What the hell were you thinking?

In any event, if you didn't watch it, you should check out the re-airings over the weekend or more clips from the show here

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