March 19, 2010

Black America Hates Tavis Smiley

Let's explore the hate... Ever since Tavis Smiley's appearance on the Al Sharpton radio program, the consensus has been that Tavis stepped on the wrong toes. Tavis is just plain old hatin'. Hatin' on the President and hatin' on Black America's wavy, James Brown tribute bouffant wearing leader.

How dare you question Black leadership, Tavis... especially since the President of the United States is Black... African American or something like that. Tavis Smiley you have had an agenda against President Obama ever since he slighted you by not appearing at your State of the Black Union confab during the 2008 presidential campaign. Michelle Obama wasn't even welcomed as a replacement. Come on, I think Michael Eric Dyson would have enjoyed that!

But is there even a bit of truth in what Smiley said concerning Black leadership and the President's seemingly lack of addressing issues concerning the Black community. It seems as if "Hope" has been put on hold. Meanwhile the Wall Street and automobile manufacturers are on the road to recovery. Main Street and others just wait your turn. (By the way whatever happen to that idea that Black broadcasters were going to ask for a bailout from President Obama.)

It seems Rev. Al Sharpton's attack on Smiley appealed to a wide range of Black folks across the country. As Sharpton said in his brazen New York bravado style, "Tavis, Don't talk to us like we stooopid!" Hmm-mm Sharpton told him. How dare he talk like that. Rev. Al put Tavis in his place didn't he? Tavis is hatin', so Black America hates back.

But there seems to be some precedent set here when it comes to Black leadership dealing with the current President of this country. We can look back at the group of Black religious leaders that shuffled off to the White House to meet with then President George W. Bush in 2004. After the meeting, they declared Bush a God fearing man worthy of support. So instead of us now being in a possible second term of President Kerry; the good folks of Ohio extended the term of our 43rd President by giving the necessary electoral college votes to Bush. How did that work for you?

In the 1960's Malcolm X, the now revered Black leader, was very critical at the time of Black leadership meeting with President Kennedy. His non-popular idea was the resolution to social problems would not help the American Negro, until first the human issue in America was first solved. Even Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was vilified by Black leadership for coming out against the Vietnam War. Sounds like somebody should have stayed in their lane.

Is Black America so far out of touch with their own issues that they hate the idea of anyone questioning President Obama? Take a look at the problems that face Black America. Take a look at the unemployment rate among African Americans males, the education in many urban public schools and the disproportionate incarceration of rate of African Americans across the country. None of those things matter do they? The media would rather focus on Black women not being able to find suitable husbands. There must be a correlation there somewhere.

As Tavis Smiley has stated: If Black America can't bring their issues before this President, then when can they ever expect to bring their issues to any President in the future. The prevailing thought seems to be that African Americans don't want to make things difficult for President Obama. If this is the mindset Black America, then please don't bring up these issues in the future, after the Obama presidency. Your opportunity is now. If this is the philosophy, from this point on, the NAACP, the Urban League and any other civil rights groups should simply disappear in the so-called new post-racial America.

When questioned about this take after his meeting with the President, Sharpton really became irate and defensive towards Smiley. Before long Sharpton accused Smiley of "buck dancing" for the Clintons. (see our post regarding what was stated in the New York Times article.) Sharpton never addressed what was written in the Times.

What can be concluded in all of this? Tavis Smiley has a point, but he also has an agenda like Rev. Sharpton has an agenda. Tavis however has crossed the line of being a journalist. He is no longer objective in his view of the President. If he wants to step out there like that, then he should also know that it's a lonely road. Especially if he wants to hold the President accountable.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article 'Al Sharpton Becomes President Obama's Ambassador to the Black Community", Sharpton is quoted from the exchange with Smiley, "The president does not need to get out there and do what we should be doing," Mr. Sharpton told Mr. Smiley during the testy exchange. He argued that expecting Mr. Obama to become a "black exponent of black views" was "just stupid," because it would create fodder for conservatives looking to defeat legislation that could ultimately help blacks. Sounds like there's an agenda there also.

Comedian Bill Cosby once said, "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." Well said Mr. Cosby. So when the expectations are that one particular group of people, (in this case all Black folks) should follow the same agenda, think in the same manner, be monolithic in their views and values; you get hate when anyone steps out of their lane. Tavis Smiley that's what happens when you don't please everyone. Only time will prove if your journey was successful.


  1. I hope the push to promote al sharpton as america's defacto black leader makes you happy, but i doubt blacks will be waiting their turn to spread the everyday leadership in communities that black radio blew off 20 plus years ago.

  2. I don't think that black america hates tavis smiley, i just think its not realistic for the president to just come out per se for black america, he has to be inclusive to all of america .. he is trying to please everyone and maybe its not getting to our communities, but we as a community have got to do a better job of getting ourselves in check!! We are being marginalized as a people..
    so i think it starts locally! has anyone heard of the tea party,


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