Nobody's said it, but somehow I feel that everybody is thinking it.
I might not get a chance to work in TV - and it has nothing to do with the fact that I'm not a journalism major. Instead, it has to do with the discouragement that comes with the territory of being from the inner-city.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Today, I posted my latest CNN iReport on my Facebook profile. I did it because I welcome feedback and criticism, but that didn't stop someone from telling me that I don't have "an on camera presence."
Whatever the case may be, I want to be a TV journalist - and my timing couldn't be any worse. The TV news business is struggling right now, with folks being laid off left and right. But I have such a strong passion for this that even a bad economy can't discourage me.
There are not a lot of journalists who look like me - a young black male. In fact, you'll find many black males aspiring to be athletes and rappers because, in their minds, it's easier. But please don't bring up affirmative action. I don't apply for TV jobs because there aren't enough black men. Instead, I realize that "the harvest is ripe, but the laborers are few." I'm one of those few who want to follow a different career path.
I want to show America that I am not a stereotype. I love TV news more than anybody of any skin color within my 18-25 age group. But that's not what most folks see on TV, as it pertains to the "image" of a young black guy. I want to be the young black guy who shows people that we can just be regular guys if given the chance.
I might not look like TJ Holmes or Don Lemon, but I deserve to be a newsroom just as much as they do. Why? Because everyone has to start somewhere.
I love news because it's the language of life. We make life decisions based on what's going on in the world and we depend on journalists to share that information with us.
If I can't make it on camera, that's fine. But I will not allow anyone to tell me that I don't deserve to try.
At least let me pave the way for someone else.