During this week’s edition of Washington Watch, Roland Martin asked if there were more Black men in jail than in college. You’ve heard this all across the country for years. The answer is “college” – but you wouldn’t know that if you listen to people on radio, on television. They use this misconception all the time, and it is one of many about Black men. Janks Morton exposes them in his soon-to-be-released documentary “Hoodwinked.”
MR. MARTIN: Earlier in the program, I asked if there were more Black men in jail than in college. You’ve heard this all across the country for years. The answer is “college” – but you wouldn’t know that if you listen to people on radio, on television. They – they use this misconception all the time, and it is one of many about Black men. And Janks Morton exposes them in his soon-to-be-released documentary “Hoodwinked.”
Check this out.
[BEGIN FILM CLIP.]
DR. STEVE PERRY: You’re saying that they have a high – you’re saying African-American females have a higher incidence of going to college than White women?
DR. MARC LAMONT HILL: That’s not true. That’s – I – I wou- – I would – I – I’m – I – that’s absolutely not true, statistic- — if you’re suggesting that.
CNN TALKING HEAD: African-American women are increasingly surpassing their male counterparts.
DR. PERRY: If African-American boys and girls, as measured by state standardized examinations and SATs and ACTs are among the lowest performers, it would an act of God beyond anything that I’ve seen.
DR. IVORY TOLDSON: If somebody tells you there is a 50 percent graduation rate, you’d think that the opposite end of the coin is a dropout rate. We need to stop trusting things that we see in the media, because we have to understand that they are in the business of selling a story, and crisis cells.
[END OF FILM CLIP.]
MR. MARTIN: Janks, welcome back to the show.
A- — and I’ll tell you in many – on many Black media outlets, a lot of this stuff exists. So, what – what caused you to say, “You know what? We” – “We gotta put” –
MR. JANKS MORTON: It’s –
MR. MARTIN: — “this thing together”?
MR. MORTON: — it’s on. And – and it’s – really, it’s a continuation from the first film from five years ago, where it wasn’t more Black men in jail than in college from five years, but the myth is still pervasive. You can go into any barbershop, any beauty salon, any church on Sunday; and you will hear this arc around the castigation of Black male identity, or – why do we have to talk bad about the brothers all the time?
And I know, as a filmmaker, a way a lot of this messaging has crept into our community is through this medium, so I’m meeting them with the same medium – with a positive message; with the actual, valid data how our Black men – and Black women – actually are doing, based upon the facts and not how some person feels.
MR. MARTIN: What o- – what – what are some of the other myths that you say, “You know what? We gotta put this on the table and deal with it”?
MR. MORTON: We have to. HBCUs – it was an old recruiting tools – it’s a hundred years old – that the ratio of women – Black women to Black men at a[n] HBCU is 20 to 1 – 20 to 1! I mean – and people still just espouse this everywhere. The ratio is less than 2 to 1. And every time you – you – I really want to challenge Black America to do this. Think about, before you say anything statistically or stereotypically, are you elevating a people, or are you denigrating a people? And too often, from what we – we say about each other, it puts us just further down and down and down – especially when it comes to Black men.
MR. MARTIN: Last question for you. What caught even by – caught you by surprise doing this documentary?
MR. MORTON: The – the thing that broke my heart shooting this film – I went around and asked college-age people to answer one question. Name a positive stereotype about Black people, and they couldn’t do it.
MR. MARTIN: Really!
MR. MORTON: This is twe- — 29,000 hours of programming during their teenage years. They’ve been inculcated with a message that Black is less than. You ask them to na- — and the real scary part [is] you ask that same person, “Name me a positive stereotype about Asians.”
They’ll say, “They’re smart.”
“Name me a positive stereotype about Hispanics.”
“They work hard.”
“Well, tell me one about Black people.”
“I don’t know.”
It is a scary juncture we’re at in our history if we can’t come to one positive, summary statement of group worth – right now – as well as these – as the data shows –
MR. MARTIN: Right.
MR. MORTON: — we’re going to be on a – on a lost path around identity of Black people.
MR. MARTIN: Folks, I want you to check out the documentary “Hoodwinked.” It premiers in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, September 6th, at the Avalon Theater. If you’re in the area, you won’t want to miss that. And also, if it’s coming to your town, be sure to check what website?
MR. MORTON: Whatblackmenthink.com –
MR. MARTIN: All right –
MR. MORTON: — www.
MR. MARTIN: — folks. All right, folks.
Janks, I certainly appreciate it, man.
MR. MORTON: No, thank –
MR. MARTIN: Thanks a bunch.
MR. MORTON: — you for being the first to take this conversation on at the Black media level.
MR. MARTIN: Won’t be the last time we do it.
MR. MORTON: Let’s do it again.