Soledad O’Brien: You White People Are Afraid of Talking Race

-By Warner Todd Huston

Former CNN host Soledad O’Brien recently said how tired she is of white people telling her that her TV shows on race are “too divisive.” In reply she tells white people that they just don’t understand race issues. She also says that only white people ever say that all Americans should consider themselves just Americans.

The recently fired CNN host made these remarks at Harvard University where she was awarded a distinguished visiting fellowship at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

O’Brien was critical of “white people” that complained about her shows on race saying, “People would sometimes, when I give speeches, stand up and say, ‘You know I think your black America documentaries is divisive. You know, I think like, you know, listen, we shouldn’t think of ourselves as African-American. We’re Americans and everybody should stop separating themselves out,.”

Her eloquent response to those “white people” that think we should think of ourselves as Americans instead of aggrieved minorities was to mock them.

“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 Solidad, you should just let sleeping dogs lie.’ I was like, again, OK white person, you know, this is a conversation you clearly are uncomfortable with and I have no problem seeing race and I think we should talk about race.”

O’Brien’s most recent CNN special on race was titled In America. She was let go from CNN after a year of low ratings for her daytime news show “Starting Point.”
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Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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Copyright Publius Forum 2001