Letter to PBS SoCal: Race in America?


@PBS on Twitter

To Whom It May Concern:

I was skimming through the offerings and you have a category for “Race in America,” however, with the exception of “College Behind Bars” all of the listed videos are about Black people.

  1. Central Park Five
  2. College Behind Bars
  3. East Lake Meadows
  4. Driving While Black
  5. T-Rex: Her Fight
  6. Unforgivable Blackness (Part 1)
  7. Unforgivable Blackness (Part 2)
  8. Reconstruction
  9. John Lewis
  10. The Murder of Emmett Till
  11. Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities.

At a time when anti-Asian sentiment is rising again, I find this problematic, particularly in Southern California.
Racism isn’t a binary of Black and White and it has never been in the United States.

Just from The American Experience, you have:

  1. Indians, Outlaws and Angie Debo (1988)
  2. Geronimo and the Apache Resistance (1988)
  3. Forbidden City, USA (1990)
  4. Los Mineros (1991)
  5. The Chinese Exclusion Act
  6. A Family Gathering (1989)
  7. Views of a Vanishing Frontier (1988)
  8. Ishi: The Last Yahi Indian (1994)
  9. America and the Holocaust (1994)
  10. Hawaii’s Last Queen (1997)
  11. Zoot Suit Riots (2002)
  12. The Massie Affair/The Island Murder (2005)
  13. Minik: The Lost Eskimo (2008)
  14. We Shall Remain (2009)

The demographics of Los Angeles County are 11 percent African American and 10 percent Asian American, 0.3 percent Pacific Islander and 44.6 percent Latino. 

In California, the demographics are 39 percent Latino, 15 percent Asian American, 6 percent Black and about 1 percent Pacific Islander/Native American. 

Your category of programming on race doesn’t reflect the demographics at all. You do address the rise of anti-Asian incidents on the PBS website under PBS News, but not in your actual programming. 

Just this year you had a five-part program on Asian Americans (“Breaking Ground,” “A Question of Loyalty,” “Good Americans,” “Generation Rising” and “Breaking Through“) so I wondered why this and your American Experience films were not highlighted in your Race in America. 


Jana J. Monji



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