How could it be said that "Soul Train" perpetuated the divide? What could they have done differently to give black artists and black teenagers a place to be where they were welcomed?

That's like calling various black organizations dedicated to improving the lives of black people in a world where white people are in charge "racist" because they focus their attention on black people instead of a mix of black and white interests

That, of course, would have seriously diminished their power to get anything done on behalf of black people, because the white people would use white privilege to try to run the whole show. As is characteristic of so many, white people assume their own authority, but black people first have to prove theirs...and second, and third, and ad infinitum.

That reality is illustrated in Dick Clark's (thankfully unsuccessful) efforts to essentially wipe out Soul Train. He clearly saw himself as an authority on black music (as if!).

Clearly Dick Clark did everything he could to eliminate a show where decisions were all made by black people...people who of course had more authority over their own music than Clark could have ever had in a lifetime devoted to its study.

I'm pretty sure you know that a whole lot of white teenagers watched Soul Train (me among them). Indeed, I'd be willing to bet that if anything, Soul Train contributed to the wall between black and white beginning to be chipped down.

Soul Train was a REACTION to racism, not a contributor to it.

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Georgia NeSmith

Georgia NeSmith


Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.