Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tavis Smiley's Haterology on Barack Obama



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By Dr. Boyce Watkins
www.BoyceWatkins.com

I couldn't help but notice that while many of us have been carried away by the Barack Obama train, some have refused to buy a ticket. I understand completely, because I am the last person to buy anyone's hype. Healthy skepticism is a good thing, and we should all keep it in our pocket.

But haterology is a serious science and diagnosing it can be an art.

My latest patient is Mr. Tavis Smiley. I like Tavis as a person and respect him a great deal. Tavis Smiley has branded himself as one of the top black leaders in America and is right up there with Marc Lamont Hill as one of my most respected colleagues.

While my respect for Brother Smiley runs deep, I know he is also human. In our humanity, one must be realistic when considering the fact that Tavis understands that his business is a business. There is a marketing philosophy that must be implemented, some degree of competition and ultimately, some lines that must be drawn in the sand. After all, there is more than one Tavis Smiley out there, and his work with The Tom Joyner Morning Show (among others) has allowed him to separate himself from the pack. Brother Smiley's success, prominence and power were planned, it didn't just happen by accident.

Barack Obama, by announcing his candidacy for the White House DURING Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union was, to some, a serious line being drawn. I am sure Brother Smiley felt that anyone who is anyone in the black community must be part of his conference. Barack Obama didn't feel that way, and seemed to be less than willing to pledge allegiance to existing Black Leadership.

Tavis Smiley's State of The Black Union conference, along with his work on The Tom Joyner Morning Show and his Covenant with Black America have done a great deal for the black community. However, they have done far more for Tavis Smiley's book sales and power within the community. I can't hate on that. After all, I am a Finance Professor, so I fully understand how capitalism works. Also, my work in media allows me to understand that you're nobody until you convince somebody that you're somebody. It's not what you know, it's.....well, you get the point.

Simultaneously, Tavis Smiley must work through the demons within him that have always christened himself as the next Barack Obama. Shit, I'm sure Tavis Smiley thought he would be Barack Obama before Barack Obama thought he would be Barack Obama. So, it must be incredibly confusing for Smiley to watch Obama go from "just some guy" to the next JFK. Tavis Smiley, Al Sharpton and others have, quite honestly, been humbled. Brothers like Tavis Smiley and Al Sharpton don't like being humbled.

Smiley's tone of "putting people on blast" for not attending his conference is somewhat problematic and reminds me of an area of Finance called Agency Theory. Agency Theory always questions the incentives of the manager or protector and allows you to wonder if the leader is doing what is best for his constituency or himself. Tavis Smiley's decision to "put people on blast" begs larger, more relevant questions: Are you being careful to balance your personal agenda with the broader needs of the community? You, Brother Smiley, sacrifice a great deal for black people, but are you willing to also sacrifice your personal power? If Barack Obama were serving your interests a bit more, would you have a different disposition?

In layman's terms, this sacrifice is like asking a man to allow another man to sleep with his girlfriend if he clearly knows that the other man would make her happier. Only true love would make a man say "yes" to such a request. Similarly, only true love for the black community can lead Tavis Smiley, or anyone else, to give up their own black power to open the gates for someone who might be a bit more effective. I am not sure if Obama is that guy, but alot of people think he is.

I am not assuming that Tavis Smiley's intentions are not honorable. But I am certainly assuming that he himself struggles with this issue, as we all do at some point. Again, it's about being human. Would a bad mother give up her child to a good one? Would a star athlete sit on the bench if it will help the team win?

The same questions can be asked of many other power brokers in the black community, all of whom have been somewhat undermined by Obama's sudden rise to prominence. Obama owes no one, he has a new team and he refuses to be beholden to the Civil Rights Movement. He is like Al Capone coming to Chicago to run the liquor business "the right way". Such boldness makes the haters come out of the wood work. That's a fact.

Obama is benefiting from a landslide of black support, built on social credit being extended on campaign promises. The Black Community is like the loving, committed spouse, willing to ignore immediate needs so their partner can conquer the world. But at the end of the day, something must be delivered.

Smiley understands this and that is why I believe he works hard for black people. At the same time, Tavis must remember the wise words of Spiderman's Uncle: With great power comes great responsibility.

Translation: Tavis - please make sure your attacks on Obama are about the community and not about you. Most of us can't quite tell the difference.



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1,113 comments:

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Anonymous said...

That was awesome. I fully agree with your commentary.

Anonymous said...

If Tavis is strictly asking for clarification on ISSUES that affect Black America, I am in total agreement with him to press it on ALL candidates not just Obama. If the S.C. debate would have talked about issues dealing with Black America instead of Ali v. Frazier attacks, then our issues could have been addressed at the debate instead of having him ask him and other candidates (which Clinton has accepted) to be apart of it.

Anonymous said...

What is craziest is that you have NEVER seen Tavis go off on a white candidate like this before. If this were consistent, it would be ok. The problem is that he is pushing Obama harder than he has ever pushed anyone else.

Gary's Google said...

This commentary was "spot on." You carefully stated the issue, analyzed it and left it for us to make our final decision.

Black Man said...

Finally, someone has taken Tavis to task in a way that makes sense. This is not hating. This is a simple analysis of the facts laced with opinion and commentary.

Anonymous said...

I TOTALLY agree with your commentary. Honesty can sting and flat out hurt at times but, we all need a dose of it every now and then.

dintellect said...

Thank you my brother. As passionate as Mr. Smiley may be, I think he can be somewhat self-righteous at times with his efforts to “hold people accountable.” He is not but A voice for Black America…not The voice.

Demetrice said...

I also agree that your comment is awesome. I fully agree with your commentary.

I also thought the same thing as far as Tavis being on an ego-trip. Tavis is a great man and write great books and he as a person means a lot to the African American community, however, there comes a time when we all have to look at ourselves in the mirror. Tavis, if you take a good look you will see that you and Obama are alike in more ways than few. Although, we don't find many black men on such a high level of understanding, however the two of you stands out. Let's just all get alone--smiling.

Anonymous said...

Tavis is wrong to do what he is doing. That's like a little kid getting mad because his mother is the Attorney General working on a big case, but won't take more time off to help him with her homework. The child can wait a few days and let the mother focus on putting food on the table.

The child's needs still matter, and the mother will get to them. But the child cannot be selfish in his need for attention.

Tavis is being childish!

Anonymous said...

Tavis put the republican nominees McCain, Romney, Guliani) on blast for not showing up at a convention.
Why not Obama? I even saw him on Jay Leno discussing it! He is though, drawing attention to himself by not letting it go after he put him on blast.... Calm down Tavis!!!

Don said...

Tavis needs to understand that although Barack is not able to attend the State of the Black Union Address, he is attempting to become a Black man giving the State of the Union Address!

Teresa said...

Tavis needs to take his "Big Boy Pill" and get over himself. There is room for two successful black men in the arena. Why must we always fight against ourselves. Lets get behind Obama and show love and support, not hate and envy. We have to much work to do and we need hundreds of black leaders and role models, not just one.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for speaking to the issue and putting all of us "on blast." It bothers me tremendously that we Blacks allow White America (especially the white press & politicians and ego tripping blacks - yes like Mr. Smiley to define who our leaders are & to whom we "should" be beholden. I personally have no problems with Jesse, Al, Tavis .etc - but I do not consider any of them my leader. It is interesting that when anything happens "black" in America - principally the white media interviews "their" chosen blacks and immediately that somehow becomes the black view from the black leader. As to the issue at hand - run Obama - run - run away from the haters - - run away from the "underminders". Be yourself and know that some blacks are not "hero-worshipping you" but we are immensley proud of you - and in the vernacular of "Forrest Gump" - run until the shackles of envy, jealousy, and hatred fall by the wayside.

Anonymous said...

As usual, Boyce gives us another logical point of view, but I don't completely agree. I think Tavis is right and Obama needs to show up, especially if Hillary is showing up. It can't just come down to it being no big deal for Hillary to be there because her husband can campaign for her, but Barack has to do it on his own. I don't recall seeing any specific issues Obama has addressed regarding the black community's needs. He's done a great job addressing issues that affect the nation, but nothing specific to blacks. And we do have our own issues. I think it's time for him to talk about them. If he just flew in for a few hours, it would be worth it. And, I'm a supporter of his, having worked his campaign and housed some of his campaign workers in my home when they came to my town for the elections.

Anonymous said...

True,
Hello Tavis,
Obama is running for President of America, Not Minority "Black America"
Calm your Ego Smiley because your "Talking" won't do much to change Black America. A Black Spiritual and Religious revolution, like the Jews,is what is needed Bro. Black America is "All Talked Out"
Who made Obama a black man anyway??

Anonymous said...

For a man with-seemingly-so much education, Tavis needs to "get a girp." Who does he think he is? I agree with another bloger who stated that he is harder Obama than he is on any white canidate! I remember last year when Fred Thompson was invited to a black forum, he did not attend, which he had the right NOT to do, but there was not anything said by Tavis about that, at least not that I heard about?

With a family and schedule as hectic and full as Obama's, I can see why he would not be able to attend. Not because he is not "black enough," or dosen't care about the issues Black Americans' face, but because the man is busy!

Anonymous said...

Tavis must realize that the State of Black America is not the only place for a person of color to express their blackness. That's just crazy

Anonymous said...

I agree with your commentary. Tavis whom I used to respect a great deal has gotten so full of himself that he is forgetting the very things that he once embodied and speaks on his book. In the words of Bill Cosby Come on People!
Come on Tavis! this man is running for President of the United States, he won't get there with the Black Vote alone. Barack would not be that naive to think he can win the presidency with Blacks helping to put him there and not address the issues that affect us. What has occurred is shift among blacks where we no longer let others decide who our leaders are i.e Clinton slave mentality. Tavis we love you and appreciate what you do for our community but you have gotten caught up brother! now it's time to catch up!

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me why Tavis is SO LATE on asking for his townhall on the Covenant of Black America? He is asking the candidates to participate in New Orleans, LA. Why didn't he have this slated before the Louisiana Primary? It would have made more sense to kill two birds with one stone: address our isses & get the candidates to participate. Who is planning his platform? I know black people have a reputation of being late, but Tavis this is ridiculous.

Helen said...

I am in agreement with the commentary. I, too, listen to Tavis from time to time on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. I find him to be a hard working, insightful and intelligent commentator committed to the betterment of black people. However, at this juncture, I am wondering if he was positioning himself to be heir apparent as leader of black people's platform and considers Obama to be an obstructionist to his plan.

I hope that a close friend or mentor of Tavis will get him to reflect on the 'stategy' necessary for anyone to win a majority vote to be president in this country at this time. Perhaps then, he will understand the difference between the Primaries and the Presidential Candidates and the difference between handouts from a benevolent benefactor (Clinton) and entitlements based on citizenship classification and service performed in all sectors of our society (Obama).

You can clearly see who the Clintons think you need to target to get elected. They have effectively removed themselves from the 'honorary' designation of first black president and family by Bill's 'racist' remarks and Hillary's condescending and dismissive behaviors.

Keep up the good work. This site has some of the best commentary I have read on this subject.

Anonymous said...

I respect and admire the talents of Tavis. It is bewildering to witness his back-biting, mean-spirited,nasty criticism of our man Obama.
Hillary is still recovering after being trampled by Obama in, DC, MD, and VA and is desperate to appear on the"Tavis Smiley" show. That's really what it amounts to. Obama has gained political momentum and respect in a way not seen. We must continue to support him as he faces campaign challenges.
As the church mothers use to say, "ain't no love on board".
We need to pray for Tavis.

Anonymous said...

I am a bit confused as to how Tavis thought his agenda is larger and more important than an African American campaigning to become President. After all wouldn't that be the pinnacle of his plight?Tavis has become arrogant and feels like his word is gospel in the community. This is a classic crab in the bucket example and Willie Lynch philosophy in action. I am no longer a fan of Tavis Smiley..after all he has become rich off the African American community.

Anonymous said...

It is important to remember that Obama is not running to become the President of black America. He is running to become the President of the United States of America. This moment represents a paradigm shift in the history of this country which has implications that are global in nature. People all over the world are celebrating and looking forward to a differnt kind of future because of what is about to happen. Truth is no one anticipated it and some people are having a hard time adapting. This is cosmic. Barrack Obama is destined to open a new Era for all people. I am extremely exited to be a witness to it. Lets all settle down and prepare to become more than we ever imagined we can be. Much love to Tavis who I adore for his dedication to his people. He his human and therefore fallible, but I believe his heart is in the right place. Remember, love first, even if we disagree sometimes. For specifics on Obama concerning black issues or any other issue go to his campaign website. The issues that affect black people are socio-economic and the solutions are therefore relevent to all oppressed people.

blueeyesnot said...

I am thoroughly disgusted with Travis....doesn't he know he's not the most important thing around..Obama is working hard trying to get nominated, he's probably not even sleeping much and under constant stress..just to have to hear some BS from Mr. Hater of the Year Travis. You're not all of that Travis...so go and regroup, please.

Anonymous said...

Interesting commentary.

1. The agency theory perspective is useful, and can be applied to any of the candidates.

2. "Hate" has, this year, become the default ascribed motive of choice for all who oppose a supporter's candidate. That says a lot about where the country is -- and how easy it's going to be for whoever wins the election to govern it.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly didagree with your comment.

A person has a right to be a thinker, draw their own conclusions and not get caught up in the hype of proposed nationalism because fo a person's skin color.

I too, agree with Brothe Tavis and have not gotten on the Obama train.

Remember, my brothers and sisters that we are free from slavery now and can READ, LISTEN STUDY and FACT FIND for ourselves.

If you would read and study the "candidates" voting record and truly follow his plagarized speeches he makes from MLK, RFK, JFK and Reagen (often unattributed) you too would get off the train.

Be not deceived my sisters and brothers. It has happened too often to us before and we have believed the hype, drank the Kool-Aid from "so-called" leaders and perished.

We are too bright a people to get caught up in rhetoric.

Once you read and study, I ask the question, "Will you remain inspired?" I think not.

A lifelong, informed, registered Democrat from the State of Missouri

Anonymous said...

hi tavis
stick to your guns iam with you all the way iam voting for hillary and please note that iam a 56 yr old black woman and i live in georgia our blacks are so confuse and they are on a bandwagon from our radio stations that needs to stop pushing up problems .what they dont know is that superdelegates been aroung 100 yrs and today we have become so concern about this election for only 2 reasons 1 black candidate and 1 white female but 100 yrs ago it didnt matter about who was president what they are doing now is out of control

Anonymous said...

Tavis Smiley is an intelligent, thinking, pro-Black individual.

Are we to abandon him as we have abandoned the Clinton machine that carried so many of us from poverty to middle class and from middle class to affluence?

Are we so shallow that when we get where we want to be that we jump ship and get on the first "train" smoking to the "rhetorical promise land"?

When I ask you why Obama you say he inspires me. Get inspired by Jesus, Allah, your inner self's your Mothers and Fathers.

Vote informed and intelligently and do not bet on black when black has never done anything for you from East St Louis, IL to Chicago from the perch of his 1.6 million dollar mansion that he purchased in an illigel, shady deal with a crook.

Black people, black people, study to show thyself approved and get the facts.

Obama is not for you unless you make more than $75,000.00 a year and even then he does not have a plan for carrying anything through.

Especially when he does not even show up to vote when he was in Illinois ir now in the Senate.

Wake up my people.

Anonymous said...

Dr.Boyce was on point, and my question to Tavis would be? How many time has a group asked you to come to help with their program and you was not able to make it because of work?? As an individual who has his master in education,and depth in black history I have one question to ask Mr.Smiley? do you remember how and why the Black power movement began, the need for change in the way that black people were looked at? understanding that in order to make a change you must be will to take a new road, because they are waiting for you on that old one and know when,were, and how to stop you. Tavis we support you in what you do, we watch your show on PBS, and yes hie wife can answer yor questions. Its time tomove forward in this nation and after Dr.King if you checkmout what Obama has done,I think that you will find that at an young age Obama has also dne many thing that people could not forsee. It time for us let the past be the past. When the white man tell you that he is not to be held for what their forfather did, we we sasy ok. This is an movement that my NEVER come again,so as the OJAY'S sing in the song Love Train,everyboby get on board.

Anonymous said...

All African Americans should BOYCOTT Smiley's State of the Union in New Orleans.

niambi said...

If Obama can not talk about being Black and issues concerning Black people now what makes us think that he will once inside the White House?

Tavis is not hating Obama, Tavis is loving Black.

There is a difference.

keith said...

Thank you for the commentary i agrre whole heartedly.I always felt that we have so much self hate that we deliberately search for the negative first in a brother or sister instead of the positive. Negative thinking is a dangerous course for anybody as well as kill the soul. Obama is not the savior for Black people and if he is elected to the White house i hope we don't have outrageous expectation of him either.What Obama is doing is showing that you can transend race and get votes,business opportunies ect, ect with the right mind set.Further more he's demostrating that most white folk issues paralell to our issues and he the messenger who happens to be black. He don't have to be on probation to prove he's black. I think Tavis channeling the wrong energy at the wrong subject.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your intelligent commentary. I am so proud to see our people not be afraid to speak out against what is blaitanly unfair, even if the unjust behavior is coming from someone who has supported us in the past.

Tavis was, and still is as of today's TJM show, way out of line. It is one thing to not support Senator Barack, but it is a whole other thing to attempt to bash and blackmail his efforts. It is suspiciously apparent that Tavis' actions stem from his oversized ego, jeaslousy and hopes for personal gain from promises by the Clinton camp.

From this country's history, we have been shown that a segregated mentality is supported by a foundation rooted in evil. Maybe Senator Barack has not primarily focused on Black issues during his quest for the presidential bid. However, what he has done is brought the theme of true unity to the fore front. The idea of ALL people being treated fairly and given humane opportunities is a wonderful thing. I believe his mission is all inclusive which is a far cry from anything this country has ever seen. Isn't that what the great Dr. Martin Luther King gave his life for?

Anonymous said...

Forgive me, but who is travis smiley, and what has he done, given the chance to get before the public and speak is all fine and well, but what have you did to help, like have you made sure that no one goes hungrey, did you donate a coat or two, did you try to help the katrina victims,have you ever help on a food line, i mean i am like a lot of other people, i may not can afford to buy your books or even get to see all your shows, but i would remember if i heard your name when a cry goes out for help in a crisis, and i don't remember hearing your or maybe you were the silent majority, but even so, be thankful for what you have and thank god you have it, because you never know what tomorrow may bring, and remember this old saying, can't help don't hinder.

Anonymous said...

Almost every responder here is getting on Tavis's case, but
HILLARY CLINTON IS CONFIRMED TO BE HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OBAMA REFUSES TO DEBATE HER IN WISCONSIN AND NOW HE HASN'T YET AGREED TO THIS EVENT?? WHY SHOULD I VOTE FOR HIM!!!

Wake up black people. Many of us are calling the Clintons racist, but if HIllary can take time to come to this event. BARACK NEEDS TO BE THERE!!!!!!!

HILLARY EVEN HAS THIS EVENT ON HER WEBSITE..NO WONDER SOME BLACKS AND FOLKS OF OTHER RACES STILL SUPPORT HER!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry my brothers and sisters,
i agree with Tavis! Think,thats all he is saying. Remember the election of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Everybody was on his train, then called him a sellout when he told you what he could do and not do when he was elected into office. My advice to you, that in order for Black America to win this we have to do our homework. Read,uderstand and know why! Thats all!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the commentary. This will be the first time since its inception that I will NOT tune in for the State of Black America. I can see what state we are in when we can't get past "blast" or hater-ism. But I'm glad to know where and with who Mr. Smiley stands.

Anonymous said...

Commentary by TAVIS SMILEY
Senator Barack Obama and the State of the Black Union 2008
Tom Joyner Morning Show
Thursday, February 14, 2008

By now many, if not most of you, have either read or heard about the letter faxed to me by Senator
Barack Obama yesterday to officially inform me that he would not be attending the State of the
Black Union symposium next Saturday, February 23, in New Orleans, live on C-SPAN. The letter
was apparently made public on the Internet by the Obama campaign.
This morning a few thoughts now about the letter, about Senator Obama and for that matter, about
Michelle Obama.
First, I want to thank Senator Obama for his letter, although I regret his decision. I said on Tuesday
and I reiterate today, that I believe that this is a critical miscalculation and a missed opportunity.
Having said that, I also feel that should Senator McCain or Governor Huckabee, like Mr. Obama,
end up denying our invitation to appear at this annual Black think tank, it would also be for them as
well, in the long run, a critical miscalculation and a missed opportunity.
Particularly for Senator John McCain, who appears to now be the presumptive Republican nominee
and who decided, as you recall, not to appear last year before Black America in Baltimore.
Indeed, I personally expressed that sentiment to Senator McCain earlier this week. Don’t think that
in the general election, should he be the nominee, that he ain’t going to get reminded frequently that
he kept passing on opportunities to speak to Black and Brown audiences. That’s pretty much
Political Science 101. That’s going to happen, trust me.
Two. For the record, with regard to this letter and the statements made therein, my office was never
contacted by the Obama campaign offering Michelle Obama as a proxy speaker. It never happened.
No letter. No fax. No e-mail. No phone call. No document whatsoever from the Obama camp to
my office, ever, regarding Michelle Obama. She was never offered, it was never discussed.
Three. While I have great admiration and affection for Michelle Obama, had she been offered to us
I would have respectfully declined. Just as we would have declined had Hillary Clinton offered Bill
Clinton; had John McCain offered Cindy McCain; had Mike Huckabee suggested Janet Huckabee.

By any measure, by any measure, Michelle Obama’s personal story is empowering and inspiring. I
am moved by her personal story, as I have been, since I first met her. From the South side of
Chicago to Princeton, to Harvard Law, it is a quintessential American story of overcoming.
That said, last year at Howard, live on PBS, we spoke to candidates only. And that’s what we intend
to do next Saturday, February 23, in New Orleans, live on C-SPAN, speak to candidates only, with
all due respect.
And speaking of Howard, point number four. When we invited Senator Obama last year to
Howard, with all of the other announced Democratic candidates at the time, so many people, so
many people, said publicly, that Tavis is stacking the deck in Obama’s favor. Black college. Black
book. Black audience. Black journalists. Black moderator. “Smiley is stacking the deck for
Obama,” they said.
The Washington Post Editorial Board said that to me to my face. “Aren’t you stacking the deck for
Mr. Obama?” Now, eight months later, another simple invitation, along with all the other
remaining viable candidates, and now he’s being boxed in by me?
Respectfully, that dog just won’t hunt. Because by that logic, at this point in the campaign, any
gathering of Black thought-leaders, opinion-makers and influencers who invite Senator Obama to
appear on stage at a nationally televised event, that invitation --- in and of itself, given that logic ---
would be tantamount to “boxing him in.”
This was simply an invitation, nothing more. There has not been, there is not now, nor will there
be, any effort on my part to snap on the Obama campaign, or the McCain campaign or the
Huckabee campaign, if they choose not to attend. It was just an invitation to him and every other
candidate. Accept or reject. An invitation, nothing more, nothing less.
I’ve lost count now of how many debates the Democrats have had to address other issues that, in
fact, do matter to us. But I can tell you exactly how many times they’ve gathered to specifically
address our issues. There is no comparison.
Point number five. Senator Obama is on a mission. As he suggested in his letter, his mission is to
become the next President of the United States. And I ain’t mad at him. As I’ve said before, and I’ll
say it again, I revel in his historic run for the White House. As a Black man, I celebrate his past
accomplishments. I celebrate his future aspirations.
Respectfully, I knew Barack Obama long before most of us learned to pronounce his name
correctly. So long ago, in fact, that years ago Barack Obama was working with the kids in my
Foundation, speaking to them about leadership development way back when.
I have no personal animus toward Barack Obama.
To quote that great philosopher, George Wallace, “I love him and there ain’t nothing he can do
about it!” That said, I love Black people, too. And I have a vocation. I have a calling. I have a
purpose. And since this ain’t just about me, you have a purpose too. You have a calling, you have a
vocation as well.

And I would hope, this morning, that at the center of our collective calling, is an unconditional love
for Black people. His job right now is to get elected. Our job is to do our part to ensure that
whoever gets elected will be held accountable to the issues that matter most to Black people.
And in that regard, all that I have ever tried to do, with the media platforms, including this one, that
I have been blessed to have access to, is to attempt to speak a love language, to ask critical
questions, to engage in sober assessment and to counsel wise enthusiasm.
If Barack Obama is your candidate, I ain’t mad at you! If Hillary Clinton is your candidate, I ain’t
mad at you! I am not personally in the endorsement business. My small part is to engage in
Socratic questioning. As a Black person, a member of the media, I’ve said many times on this
program, my job is to ask questions, raise issues, address topics, and profile people that otherwise
wouldn’t get that kind of air play.
Now, as the old folk used to say, “I done spoke my piece.”
Senator Clinton has decided to join us. Senator Obama has decided not to. Senator McCain and
Governor Huckabee, we shall see.
But once again, it has never, ever been about them. It has always been about us. We cannot
confuse candidates with the cause. The cause of suffering Black people who are catching hell every
day.
So, I personally; I can only speak for Tavis, I personally have no intention, no interest in discussing
this matter beyond this commentary no matter what’s said about me. Except to promote the
Symposium, which I’ve done every year for almost 10 years now.
I’m told by the folk in the Lt. Governor’s office in Louisiana that it looks like we will have the
largest gathering of volunteers for a single day next Friday on our Day of Service, since Katrina hit
back in 2005. That’s what matters. Loving and serving everyday Black people.
Our conversation next Saturday promises to be spirited, soulful and inspiring.
Finally this morning, as I always say...today, more than ever...love wins. Love wins. Love wins.
Happy Valentine’s Day!


To hear Tavis’ commentary, please visit www.tavistalks.com

Anonymous said...

Amen. You are so right on point. I'm really disappointed in Tavis...shame on him. At a time when he should be lifting up a fellow brotha, he's playing into his own self-serving interests.

VENEZIA said...

Unfortunately, for you and a few other bloggers, you simply don't get it. Tavis, has made it his life's mission to empower,educate, and promote issues surrounding the black community. This is not about TAVIS SMILEY! It's about the empowerment, enrichment and education of our own people. Black people! Wake up! If Obama will not take the time to address issues concerning our communities, on our turf than who will? If not now, when? Why do so many blacks think that it's o.k for ANYONE running for the presidency (let alone a black man) NOT address issues concerning our communities? And for the blogger that said Michele Obama could answer the questions in place of Obama. Perhaps she could, but she aint running for office, and Hillary aint sending Bill. When the Covenant of Black America was written it was Black America that made the book go number 1 on the NY best seller list, we embraced the book, we believed the book, and stood firm that whom ever ran for office in the 08 election would be held accountable, we as black people would not allow them to assume our votes, we believed we had a voice. So what happened? We didn't know it was going to be a "black man" running for office. So, because of this we have excused Barack from addressing issues concerning our people? How, and why, have we abandoned that stance? Tavis has been preaching the same message since before the book was released, which is to hold whomever accountable, ask the questions, and raise the issues. Is he now supposed to excuse Obama? How is this hating? Why do we think, and say it's o.k for Obama to wait until he's elected, to address the issues? Why do we think it will all be solved then? Do we really believe that everything will then be fixed? Do we think we are all going to get some sorta "Brotha man hook-up" once he is in office? Who was it that said, if you don't stand for something you will fall for anything? And really, do you honestly believe as you stated that "Obama owes no one"? Any, Black man running for the Presidency of the U.S and is the front runner, owes everyone, particualarly Black America. As far as the State of the Union is concerned, Tavis has held these events for the past 10 years, and always in the month of Feb. why? because it's black history month. He has always announced the confirmation or the decline of those invited. Why now is he NOT supposed to do this? Oh yea, I keep forgetting, because it's Barack, and he's one of us? And that's considered "hating". It is a horribly,unfortuante and missed opportunity for Obama not to attend this venue. The last time I checked Hillary, who has confirmed to attend, is still in the race for her bid for the white house. It seems to me that she could really afford to spend a little more time on her campaign, but has managed to make our issues her concern. So, for all those that believe that Tavis is hating, hating on who? And for what? Tavis has not waivered in his message, he has not spoken one word personally against Obama, he has not attacked him, he simply told the truth, the man aint coming. This is not nor has it ever been about Tavis Smiley. The state of the union, is not a "Tavis Smiley party". It is a platform and an opportunity that has been given once a year to shed light on the inequities, and disenfranchise of Black America. It's not about Tavis! It's about us, it's about Black folks. We all know that Barack is not just running for "Black America" he is running for America, so that means what? Issues involving Black America need not be addressed, right now? Everytime I hear that statement from a black person, I just cringe. Furthermore, so that you are better informed, you mentioned "Tavis understands his business is a business", and "this has done far more for his book sales and power in the community". What you obviously did not know was that, Tavis donated every penny from the proceeds of The Covenant of Black America to Third World Press a black owned company, he personally did not, nor did his company make a dime from those sales. So,now is this really about Tavis Smiley or the enrichment of Black America? And lastly As far as him wanting to be Barack Obama? Naw, I think he'd rather remain who he is, a free black man.

Anonymous said...

Tavis Smiley wouldn't accept the "First Black President" if Hillary declined. Please.

Professor Thomas A. Mengesha, Esq. said...

This is so weird reading this. I was just thinking the same about Tavis. In fact, I have lost a great deal of respect for Tavis as I am starting to feel he has his own agenda. Be that as it may, you are 100% correct with your analysis of Tavis.

Agiasophia said...

Dr. Watkins,

I'm missing something here, and I don't think it's just because I'm white. After reading this and listening to Tavis's call-in to the Tom Joyner show, it appears to me that what's important to Tavis is that IF Obama gets elected, he should not become a big disappointment later, a result which would doubly hurt black Americans and the synergy between black and white Americans down the pike.

Also, imhwo, Tavis and Obama are not rivals or on a collision course, but rather are on parallel paths to serve the country. Through destiny and choice, Obama is in a better position to "transcend race", at least to a typical white perspective, while Tavis is working more from within the historic black community. Each is doing valuable work to help us all get over giving race a political dimension that it shouldn't have. Each in his own way is helping to realize Dr. King's dream. Or am I being naive?

Anonymous said...

Venezia, Tavis commentaries and the tone in which he has delivered them have not been the language of love and they have been personal. Issues have been addressed, Obama's October visit to Tavis show, and the debate at Howard University. Obama's appearance on Tavis show was the perfect venue for questions. What troubles us is that Tavis has only singled out Obama. Shouldn't his commentaries have included attention to Senator Clinton. PLEASE DON'T forget we have given the Clintons a free ride and we are still doing so. I have never seem Tavis this engaged in a political candidate before and even more surprising is the language coming from Andrew Young. Here we are once again being divided as a people and again from within.

keith said...

Hi Family,

It was said by a blogger that Justice Clarence Thomas "was elected and we were on his train then, now we called him sellout" First, he was not elected he was nominated president George Herbert Bush and by extension approved by capitol hill, further more black folks were not on his train in fact most were anti Clarence Thomas because of his prior written opinions, but thats niether here nor there.

Moreover Family, the power is with us and with in us not by being anti tavis, anti Obama or anti Hilliary but, by being pro whatever you want as individuals or as a community (Energy flows were Energy goes), i'm pro Obama not anti hilliary, anti Tavis although i disagree with his tactics and true intention. As for Tavis saying he's not in the Endorsing business he already endorse hilliary by his tone and disposition of his commentary perhaps unbeknownst to him and Why i can't figure out for the life of me, because as a matter of fact President Bill Clinton or First Lady Hilliary through my recollection have not done anything for the black community legislatively and had eight years to do so, but i must admit they will accept an invitation to appear (for a fee) to a NAACP,or Urban League dinner as keynote and raise the roof with there speak.... Family Tavis spoke of love and a part of love is honoring the vast differences in our community even though we may not agree and celebrating our diversities,past accomplishments, future accomplishments and future aspirations. I still disapprove of Tavis comments and think it was derived from a negative spirit camouflage as love along with the knowledge that the same access to the whitehouse afforded by hilliary may not be the same with obama if elected even though Tavis will still have access to Obama ear, but maybe not be invited to stay in the re-decorated lincoln room overnight even though it is public housing.

Tavis said the intention of the invitation was for socratic Black issue questioning and if thats the case at this point that should be address at a grassroots to our Congressman,Congresswoman and senators before they are elected because they send the bills to the President. The Groups with the heavy influence operate this way by way of lobbist, this how powerful interest groups operate.

I believe the only reason Hilliary accepted is because her once large constituency in the black community have revolted and this present a oppurtunity for her to gain some cool points. But last but not least we witness a hilliary campaign that was an A+ operation turned to an D- stunt.

love you guys

Anonymous said...

The reaction of Tavis, Shelia Jackson Lee, Andrew Young, etc to the Sen. Obama signals an end to race and poverty pimps. Those who annoit themselves as the only one's who can communicate and translate Black thought to the wider community. Their days are numbered with the election of Sen. Obama.This event will be the day of liberation for all of Black America, when we begin to think for ourselves, set our own agendas, and yes even select our own leaders.
All of these self appointed leaders will then need to find jobs without riding on the backs of Black folks. So Tavis keep "hating" all the way until we are free of you and your comrades in race baiting for personal profit.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]Similarly, only true love for the black community can lead Tavis Smiley, or anyone else, to give up their own black power to open the gates for someone who might be a bit more effective. I am not sure if Obama is that guy, but a lot of people think he is.
[/quote]


Dr. Watkins:

I pulled the above quote from your commentary because these two points strike at the heart of my personal mission:

Separating notion of what is POPULARLY thought to be what is "in the BEST INTERESTS OF BLACK AMERICA" with what can be EFFECTIVELY PROVEN to be the BEST INTERESTS OF BLACK AMERICA" by empirical evidence sampled on the ground. Thus I ask you to expand your entire focus beyond Barack Obama and instead key upon the POPULAR ASSUMPTIONS made by Black folks in America today.

Today we stand as a network of communities across America with nearly all of the communities where we form the majority within being represented by a political machine at the local level that is now attempting to take over the top of the pyramid - the executive branch - to seal the deal for Black America....or so they say.

Last weekend I was treated to the re-release of "Eyes On The Prize 2". They showed the campaign of Carl Stokes of Cleveland. I was struck by the notion that if I crossed out Stokes and Put "Obama" in and then make it a national campaign rather than a municipal one - the hopes and dreams of the Black folks involved would be nearly identical.

I also have the vantage point of 40 years of history that shows that many of these hopes and dreams as expressed by Black folks in Cleveland have failed to be recognized. Thus the use of your word "EFFECTIVE" struck me as being peculiar. As an Independent who scrutinizes the tendencies of my race of people regarding why we seem stuck where we are - I can't help but notice that we seem more interested in "head count" rather than EFFECTIVENESS as it is demonstrated on the streets of our communities and in the lives of our people as proof that the political activism that so consumes us is bearing the proper fruit.

Why do you ask Tavis Smiley to SUPPORT what turns out to be his 'ideological soul mate" (from my perspective) rather than daring to inspect the EFFECTIVENESS of that which already dominates the Black community near and far?

In my view the Black community needs to decide if we are advocating for more Blacks to be elected or if we are advocating to have our common goals recognized. (Quality schools, Safe Streets, Local Economic Expansion, and Healthy Lifestyles).

It seems to me that the Democrats have grown in power within our communities for the past 40 years more than Black folks have obtained our goals in an ORGANIC fashion as we now have more people of our own choosing governing our communities than ever before.

YesWeCan_Change4daBest said...

Thanks to the blogger who posted Tavis' commentary. Yes, Hillary Rodham Clinton, with her misleading ads, accepted the invite because she needs the votes,... by any means necessary.
Tavis sounds like a grown man pouting because Obama will not be able to make it to "HIS" State of the Union event. Is Tavis boiling over with professional jealousy? Barack Obama is running for the President of the USA and addresses many issues that affect the Black community - social economic, education, affordable health care, technology, the future. Is Obama's message coonsistent with the Black Covenant? I think so. I donated to his presidential campaign. Such a donation is a first for me after 50 years.
Dr. Boyce is right on point.

Come on people, do not compare Senator Barack Obama to Clarence Thomas-- 2 distinct qualities.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to me that we as a people are quick to turn on those who do not agree or support "the Black candidate", and we are willing to make excuses as to why the "Black cadidate" is justified in whatever he or she does. If Hillary Clinton had not accepted if she were still in the lead,we would be screaming that she was taking us for granted. Now we say that it's fine for Obama because he is trying to become President; I don't buy it. What his refusal says to me is that he does not want to be seen at all Black venue for fear that his white supporters might not understand. Understand that I am no fan of Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson, but Obama can not ask for their support in the dark and be afraid to be seen on the same stage with them in the daylight. Why are we attacking Tavis? This is not the first time Tavis has called someone on the carpet for not showing up at one of his conferences.Should we not expect the same respect from our Black cadidate as we would from the other candiates? I support Senator Obama in his endeavor to be come President, but I do not support his rejection of Tavis' invitation. He,more than any other candidate should be there.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons that Tavis Smiley and his show does well is because he seeks common ground on the respect (and faith) of intellectual scholars unwilling to denigrate others for profit, or for power.

In fact, he has stopped anyone short who is apt to drift into that forbidden territory believing, rightly so, that nothing whatsoever is gained by insinuations of other people's failures, ignorance, or indignities. If he were otherwise, white people would not even watch the show. The Smiley show has never been about degrading white people, nor blacks, nor women. His respect for all persons shows in every show, with every utterance, and if anything, he shows special deference to women and to the elderly, perhaps understanding that if we cannot listen to them, we cannot learn from them.

There need not be pretense on the Smiley Show because it would never work. It has always been about honest dialogue that people can relate to and enjoy, whether from blacks or whites.

It's disturbing, therefore, to hear that Obama announced his campaign hoping to capitalize upon the Smiley charisma given some of the remarks he makes, such as those insinuating that what Hillary doesn't understand is that ...as if he is the person to teach her - because of her apparent ignorance. This goes against the entire philosophy of the Smiley show which depends upon honesty and deference, now showmanship, to discuss and debate.

Obama is a very charismatic speaker but those kinds of derogatory remarks are out of place, and out of line, to Hillary as a woman, and to Hillary as the former First Lady.

It's disturbing that Barak Obama apparently doesn't have the kind of respect for elders that shows a depth of understanding for mankind that illustrate the values that most Americans are familiar with. Perhaps this is due to the vigor of the campaign, or perhaps it is due to bad judgement and arrogance.

Whatever it is, it is in bad taste, and it makes one think that the only person worth debating for Obama is either Bill Clinton or John McCain, and his references have intimated as much.

It's obvious that Obama is a man on a mission, but the mission is of a nature that even he cannot afford to overlook - that whites, as well as blacks, women as well as men, children as well as the elderly deserve the respect as citizens, as the public that would pay his salary if he wins, and that faith, if any, that is earned is as public servant, not ruler.

The campaign is not about what Obama needs; it is about what America needs, and about what America wants. Blacks know that already intuitively.

Blacks know whites, and for whites who know blacks, the tone offered by Obama is not one too often that offers one that shows a respect that should be there. At 46, he's old enough to know that, and it's not always about what he says, but what he doesn't say, how he doesn't act as well as how he does.

Zara said...

I happened onto this page through a link. I am an African American woman but not black, I am brown. My mom is American and my dad is North African. I see both sides of what everyone is saying. I do believe both Barack and Hillary are great candidates. I am personally supporting Hillary. I find Hillary to be qualified as President and a proven leader. I am impressed by Sen Obama but I do have one concern I feel that he capitalizes off referring to Hillary as divisive. I have been to many countries and Hillary Clinton is a true International leader who has stood up for children, women and all people from Bangladeshi to Black Americans. I fear with Obama's message of unity is an empty promise because he doesn't demonstrate leadership against the sexist media who tries to portray Hillary in all sorts of negative ways, he goes along with it and defends it and says I didn't say it. I ask my African American brethren to please push Sen. Obama to denounce sexism as I encourage Hillary to always denounce racism. Thank you for reading my comment.

Anonymous said...

Black people like all other should free to have their own opinions and voices. We should nor condemn Brother Smiley for having a different view than what the white press has told Black people should have.
If we can not depend on Senator Obama to speak up for now, what makes us think he will stand with us later.

VENEZIA said...

Anonymous, if you are a regular listener of Tavis Smiley commentaries, and it appears that you are. I am quite certain that you aware of the passion, and conviction in which he expresses himself. I do agree that his tone appears to be personal, and that is because it probably is. I believe that he takes this matter personal, as this affects the issues that he has always affectionately represented. Obama, has visited Tavis show, and yes he showed up at Howard with all the other democrats, and of course questions were asked, and answered. However, The State of the Black Union is a platform where think tankers, politicians, and other community leaders gather to discuss those issues specifically concerning African American people. The event draws over 100 million viewers yearly; it has continued to be one of the highest rated shows on C-SPAN. This year's symposium is accurately labeled "Reclaiming our Democracy, Deciding our future". So why would Tavis Smiley as we know him allow Barack to skip out on this one? Do you really think Tavis as we know him, is going to allow the "brotha” to pass unscaved? Because he is a blackman, does this excuse him? If it were not Barack Obama and it were any other democrat black or white seeking our vote, Tavis, as we know him would have made the same comments. And by the way I still have yet to hear, or read any negative comments that were supposedidly spoken by Tavis. I think the media, journalist, disc jockeys, and Tavis Smiley wantabe's have been able to boost their ratings at the expense of Tavis standing on his integrity, not wavering, and continuing to raise awareness, ask the questions, and address the issues of our people, because that's just what he does. Thanks for your direct response.

YesWeCan_Change4daBest said...

Give credit where credit is due. Obama has led his campaign organization very well. Hillary led her campaign very well also up to Feb. 5th. She thought it was in the bag (A Shocker). This is a historic moment. I am a Black single Woman with children pulling for Obama. The republican party, media, and talk radio have been calling Hillary devisive for years, so let's not put that on Obama.

Did you ever think in your lifetime that a white woman or a Black man would have a real chance of becoming President of the USA. It is time for a change. Rather than bicker we should be celebrating! Boundaries have been broken no matter who wins. Think about it, OUR FUTURE...

This is way bigger than black on black turf war, because this historic event is a win-win moment with limitless outlook for us and our children.

Yes Tavis event has interesting and thoughtful dialogue, but the man is busy. I ask again, is Obama and his campaign Issues outlined on his web page in alignment wit the Black Covenant? So, Where's the understanding for the Senator who lives and works in Chicago running for da Prez? Let's put our ego aside and focus on strategies for the future!
== Vote ==

Anonymous said...

Does it make one wrong to disagree with another, until facts are presented? Why do you take sides before searching out the truth? Why is it so easy for you to vote for someone who runs for office, just because they are black? Do you check their backgrounds before you take sides? Do you really read whats going on in the black community? Do you really understand it? Do you even know why?
To the bloggers that answered me about Justice Thomas! Look up the word nominate. We did'nt but they did! Missed the point. All blacks who decide to become black leaders must be held accountable to the black community. Every other race thats in office addresses their kind at one time or another. Is it wrong for ours to do that? Yes, Tavis is harder on Senator Obama than Senator Clinton, on the issues that apply to us. Were we not raised to be that way about us from us? Are we not taught by our parents to expect more from ourselves than the other races do? Are we not taught to represent our kind?

I'm not here to take sides,
but to send a message to my brothers on something that we don't do enough of. Again, i say to you! READ, UNDERSTAND and KNOW WHY!!!!!!!

Hurley Kones said...

I have just finished reading most of the Posts on this subject. Let me say I am so proud of Y'all. The Posts are in large measure, reasoned and articulate. This NEW AMERICAN MAJORITY being forged out of the OBAMA Campaign for President is going to grow. It's growth is necessary to fullfil the promise of a Democracy. The dramatic increase in participation in our Government is a remarkable phenomenon. People all across the Country are finding their "Voice".
Which brings me to a point, What is it we have here, is it a Democracy or a Republic? Mr. Bush represents not just the Republican party, but the notion of a Republic, where his will is divorced from the will of the people who elected him. Kind of like the SuperDelegate thing. Could we talk about that?

Anonymous said...

finally,
some profound conversation, in our community. i believe mr.smiley has helped the black community tremenduously, however he and others are not being honest with their debate about obama. the fact still remains that, many in our community, innitialy did not support obama due to two miscaculations. firts, he was negated for his lack of approachment to some civil rights issues, but after conversations with one brilliant scholar name, mr. west bridge that gap, for civil rights should not be synonymous only with african american. second, we all, including i assumed white voters simply would not vote for a black president, now he has proven both myth and miscaculations wrong in the word of martin lawrence "what the problem is". join the train

Kala Nation said...

For some time I have been apprehensive about Tavis Smiley.I remember when I first saw him back in 1995 on NPR and PBS he wrote a book passionately talking about "The New Left".I thought back then that this man was at odds with the beliefs of the African-American community.We are a neutral people on the whole when it comes to politics.We only vote for Democrats because of our of fear of the right wing Republicans.These Black democrats have been exposed a lackeys of the Clintons.This election is about us freeing ourselves from people who politically exploit us.We have had it with the Smileys,Sharptons,Lewis's ect who keep drinking the Clinton kool aid.A new day is dawning and Obama is helping free us.

Anonymous said...

Tavis is right for holding everybody's feet to the fire...including Senator Obama's.

Anonymous said...

I agree totally with your commentary but I do have a question: Who appointed Tavis Smiley the GREAT SPOKESMAN FOR BLACK AMERICA? Tavis is just a talker, a self promoter, and now I think he is an egotistical idiot - a sham. I will admit that he talks a good game, but walking the walk. Did Tavis go to the March in Jena, LA. We have supported you by buying your books, paying to go to your lectures, and rooting for you when you were fired from BET. So Tavis stick to your sellout PBS gig.

I agree completely that you cannot be somebody unless you convince somebody that you are somebody. I’ll say you are as blind as Ray Charles on this one. Does anyone really think the Hillary will extend all that much courtesy to us (Black people), if she wins with all the experience she claims to has, which her Presidency will amount to being a proxy for Bill - MORE OF THE SAME and a continuation of the problem. The Clintons had 8 years and it is time for a CHANGE… They are talented in lies and deception of which we have bought. I am educated as well and I would never vote for a team that will do anything to win. Remember this:

1. Rwanda 1994
2. Nafta
3. Welfare reform
4. Monica
Lastly, after he disrespected us in South Carolina, he his is really one of us because pulled a “N_WORD” move much is the way Tavis is doing now. I say that because it seems as if they are playing the crab in the basket game. So let Tavis Smiley & Hilary Clinton play all of the games and traditional tricks they want. Sure Hillary is showing up, you are paying for the free publicity. Don’t you see Tavis that the Clintons are using you!
If someone like Mr. Obama is seated at the table, let alone the head of the table, can be more of a benefit to Black People than sitting with Smiley. The last time I checked, what came out of this conference last year paled in comparison to the opportunity before us. Tavis I recognize that the devil tempts us all and I will pray for you to see the light as God's hand is in the works here... Sen. Obama is being guided correctly. Let us all pray and trust that the Holy Spirit continue to guide him. Tavis you are an embarrassment and it is time for us to let you go and stop acting like the last voice of Black America.

What is more important being at the State of the Black Union or delivering the State of the Union? Rest assured I will now question anything that Smiley says, if I listen at all, because more than likely I will be changing the station when his is schedule on the TJMS, if not switching to Steve Harvey from now on.

Anonymous said...

I am confused. Obama says his campaign is not about race, and was upset because Bill Clinton, according to Obama, implied he was the "Black Candidate", as if this was a slur.
But from what I see the reality is that Obama IS a Black or AA man, and HE is making this about race, not issues.
I am a Democrat, and I am upset about the tone of this election. John Lewis, my Congressman, recently was subjected to RO_BO calls from people threatening him if he did not pledge to support Obama at the convention. He gave in to this, a man who faced beatings and jail, caved in to this. Clinton did not change her positions, and when I last saw him at the GEORGIA J/J dinner, he was secure in HIS position of supporting Clinton.
Is this a campaign about Black/White, or about GOP/Dem?
Why is Obama so angry about being identified as a BLACK man? He claims to be for unity, but has created a racial divide, which is setting us back, not moving us forward. I am worried that this message of insisting that all AA's vote for him, because he is the "first" is a bad one. The GOP voters are voting in Dem primaries to push Obama forward, but WHY?
I think we need to vote on ISSUES, and Obama just doesn't have them. Clinton has been working on health care since 1993. He claims SHE is folowing HIM. But his plan is voluntary, which is not universal. We need all of us covered, and frankly, those who can pay should pay.
Clinton started CHIPS, it was HER plan, and HER bill, yet he claims it for himself, because he did something, what we don't know, as a State Senator. But CHIPS was FEDERAL law at the time.
He claims her jobs plan, and came out with this Infrastructure Bank this week, BUT Clinton introduced it in a Bill to the Senate last August. So how is that his?
He talks about the war, yet has never risen to speak against it. He promises help for NOLA, yet voted against a Bill which Clinton co-sponsored to get NOLA fast track money, in it's own separate package, with greater funding than the Bill covering all the Gulf States. HE VOTED AGAINST HER BILL. Why? How could he do that, vote against the people of NOLA getting more money faster?
And why is this not being talked about?
He is an amazing speaker, but so what? So was Regan. And I'm sorry, but Tony Rezko was a slum landlord, the slums were in OBAMA'S district, and he did nothing to get the heat back on, the power back on for his people living in those slums, projects he wrote letters about to get Rezko the job of rehabbing them, and Rezko Was one of his biggest fundraisers at the time. In the dead of winter his people were cold, while he was a lavish fundraisers given by Rezko on his behalf.
I just don't see him as honest, not "checkbook" honest, but soul honest. There are many fine Black people who I would joyfully support for President. Obama is not one of them. I think we need to ask questions, and I do think he should debate one on one with Clinton, which he has only done once, and let us decide based on Issues, not speeches. Clinton has a long record of supporting programs which benefit all of us, all races and creeds, and up until Obama set up this phony issue of race, as if either Clinton was a racist, it was a non issue. He has built his campaign on this, not issues. And he is being fed facts by Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, so how is he for change? There is nothing new they can say about either Clinton, but what can the GOP 527 attack machine say about Obama? We don't know.
Tavis is correct to be upset. He was offering a forum for ALL of the candidates, both parties, to come and offer their plans, and those who did not come clearly didn't think it was important, or perhaps didn't want to be held to the facts. WE can Do BETTER. We are Americans first, and we all bleed the same blood, and we better put a stop to this phony issue of race, and get back on track. At the end of the day, what a person does in office is what will impact our lives, not what is said in a campaign. WE need to get our facts from factcheck.org, and the local papers in Chicago and NY, accross the states, and check voting records at the Senate web site, and DECIDE not based on TV or Blogs, but facts. WE have to be color blind. If we push Obama into office by threats, and he screws up, it will be a long time before we have another chance. If we investigate, and THEN choose him from the FACTS, then we can feel confident about our future. But to reject Clinton because she is a WHITE FEMALE, and only that is folly.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see some of us searching for the FACTS! I hope and pray its not to late my brothers and sisters.........

mochajava said...

Tavis

You do not represent my interests as a black female. And your "State of Union" or Bill Clinton's presidency have done nothing to impact my life/ifestyle personally.

I agree that there are issues that impact blacks more than whites
but bottom line its a poor/ecconmic issue too, which impacts people of all color.

If Barrack becomes the President, he cannot do anything about these issues:
* 75% of black children borned in single parent homes
* More than 75% of black men in jail are fatherless,
* We died earlier because of health
issues (overweight, high BP, diabetes, etc)
* Our young youth are killing each other, in gangs
* Crimes rampant in black communties
* Black women (75%) are without
husbands/partners, 75% WF have had
2-3 husbands

My point these are issues that you and other black men need and should do something about. Take back the communities, marry a sista, care of your children,
stop fathering children you cannot or will support. Support a sista!!!

Most of our issues start with us,
needs to start with the famiy, locally, respect & commitment to each other.

Lastly, I thought is was unprofessional to publicly & covertly called Michelle a liar!!

Megan
Charlotte, NC

mochajava said...

Tavis

You do not represent my interests as a black female. And your "State of Union" or Bill Clinton's presidency have done nothing to impact my life/ifestyle personally.

I agree that there are issues that impact blacks more than whites
but bottom line its a poor/ecconmic issue too, which impacts people of all color.

If Barrack becomes the President, he cannot do anything about these issues:
* 75% of black children borned in single parent homes
* More than 75% of black men in jail are fatherless,
* We died earlier because of health
issues (overweight, high BP, diabetes, etc)
* Our young youth are killing each other, in gangs
* Crimes rampant in black communties
* Black women (75%) are without
husbands/partners, 75% WF have had
2-3 husbands

My point these are issues that you and other black men need and should do something about. Take back the communities, marry a sista, care of your children,
stop fathering children you cannot or will support. Support a sista!!!

Most of our issues start with us,
needs to start with the famiy, locally, respect & commitment to each other.

Lastly, I thought is was unprofessional to publicly & covertly called Michelle a liar!!

Megan
Charlotte, NC

Anonymous said...

The media has done a disservice to the democratic party by trying to get all of us to vote against Hillary and for Obama without questioning or exposing anything of Obama's past. I'd like to know more about his connections with Ralia Odingo (his cousin), who is trying to overthrow the government in Kenya and install a muslim regime. I'd like to know more about Obama's racist church and that fact that they have annointed Louis Farrakhan with a lifetime achievment aware. I'd like to know more about Obama's connections with Tony Rezko and Exelon energy corp.



The Tony Rezko trial is coming up on March 3rd and if the media did its job, they would have investigated the links between Barack Obama, American-Syrian Tony Rezko and one Iraqi-born Nadhmi Auchi.


Some have said that Obama is trying to cover up is middle name, which is Hussein, I say: so what; is his middle name important? It is only of you are one of the republican fear mongers trying to tell us he is a terrorist or a radical Muslim.

It's easy for Barack Obama to say he opposed the war when he didn't have to make any decisions. He has even admitted that he does not know how he would have voted. And finally, 2 years after he gave his great anti-war speech, he voted to give more funding to the war and even said he has the same feelings about the war as the Bush administration. His actions of voting for funding the war sang a very different tune than his anti-war speech.

Another thing that has not been mentioned or investigated more in depth is how his 'non-profit' hospital in Illinois has been raking in millions??
Why does he charge the low income families 3.5% a higher rates then anyone else for the same treatments??
How Michelle Obama received a BIG salary increase after becoming a PART-TIME member of the board of directors in the same hospital?? Which happened right after he became a Jr. Senator.
When he says 'change we can believe in', what 'change' will he be making?

After comparing the two candidates left, I agree both have had issues in the past but with Obama everything is being kept hush...hush! This scares me because everything will eventually come out of the shadows for Obama. He has already shown he does not take loses or criticism very well...snobbing, moody, (might have to do with his heavy smoking),arrogant, etc...

Cynthia. Miami said...

Im just at a lost for words. I too was wondering if anyone else would notice or say anything about how Tavis was handling brother Obama. Its amazing that instead of helping one another and all of us (yes those self appointed leaders included)shining our lights on the one and lift them up, however we can we still have the "why him/her and not me" mentality. Its time for us as a race of people to just "Wake the Hell Up"!!

Anonymous said...

I am a 68 year old African American and I agree with some of the comments of Tavis Smiley.I have voted for Obama because I have more time behind me than I have ahead of me and I am taking advantage of this opportunity to vote for a black man.We should stop just discussing black issues because as long as we do that we will be just like Jesse and Al:just a black nationalist.As long as we have this mind set ,we will be marginalized and undervalued.We should educate ourselves on each candidates policy because without policies you cannot change a thing.The reason Mrs.Clinton is attending The State of the Black Family is because she needs your vote.She has already turned from the black community to the latino community.Mr.Obama is positioning himself,so he can bargain the convention if he don't win as the president.That's what we have to learn to do is to play the game.Everyone becomes millionaires discussing black issues:Pastors,Tavis,Jackson,and Al(all millionaires discussing black issues).Look who sponsors The State of the Black Family,the coorperation sponsors all our orgainizations.The cooperation will never truly liberate black people.

Anonymous said...

I guess Tavis sees his show as some "official" arm of the election process in which a spouse is neither appropriate nor worthy. Otherwise, why wasn't Michelle Obama an appropriate surrogate for her husband or even a guest worthy of consideration just based on her own merit to discuss the so-called State of Black Americans? Is Hillary Clinton more well-versed on this topic now than Michelle?

And why would a politically astute representative of any constituency risk snubbing the next potential "first lady" and her husband?

Spare me, please, from well-paid televised Negroes who believe they have arrived and therefore can boldly speak for everyone just because they own a mike.

Too bad about not allowing Michelle Obama to appear. I actually would have tuned in to Tavis' "televised" airing of black dirty laundry this year, for a change. I wouldn't have been able to resist the once in a lifetime opportunity to see Michelle Obama take on Hillary Clinton. What a treat that would have been; I feel robbed.

Too bad that Tavis' ego and his inclination to feel personally "snubbed" whenever he is told "no" got in the way of him achieving a major media moment. The media moguls who give him financial backing may well make him re-visit this short-sighted decision so they can maximize returns on their investment in him and this otherwise meaningless annual list-making undertaking.

This all feels too much like grand-standing on Tavis' part, to show that he can pull presidential candidates off the campaign trail in a tightly contested race to attend "his" special events-- as though he has not already had the honor of hosting two televised presidential debates this campaign season. Tavis wants to be a king-maker, the go-to man, and the authoritative mouthpiece for Black America, and it's getting a little tiring.

For me, it's not so much that he hasn't endorsed Senator Obama-- whom I do support wholeheartedly as the best candidate for our country at this point in history. I think Tavis has the right to abstain or to endorse whomever he chooses in this race. But it is his claim of being "neutral" that is annoying to me, while he also serves as the double-sided mouthpiece and hate operative for the Clintons.

With black folks being the target audience that sustains Tavis' media business, he seems too cowardly to come out and support The Clintons against Barack, especially as Barack has earned increasing popularity among black voters. So he pretends to be a "neutral journalist" while consistently planting seeds of doubt about Barack's "black" credentials-- whatever that means in this day and age.

Black people in general and Tavis in particular need to stop marginalizing ourselves as though we are incapable of caring about any other issues or people on the planet besides ourselves. That is small-minded and self-defeating. And God made us bigger than that.

It is his willingness to embrace his greatness that attracts me to Senator Obama. It is his boldness to speak in a broad and healing voice that resonates with the human soul. It is his ability to appeal to and bring forth the best in human nature that makes his leadership transformational. And transformational leadership is what our country needs after 16 years of anger, fear, and confusion.


Tavis went through a bad time a few years back when his show was dropped by BET after Bob Johnson sold that network. Considering their now obvious connections with Bob Johnson, I just wonder how The Clintons might have also played into helping Tavis to get back on his feet after his BET incident. The Clintons are very astute about collecting "friends" and "debtors" who can later be "useful" to them politically, and I suspect Tavis is among them.

Hillary Clinton is an intelligent woman and a capable politician but she and her husband have already served "their" two-term limit. To ask for more and so soon is greedy. It is asking Americans to support a dynasty at a time when we should be trying to act once again like some form of a democracy.

Bush-Clinton2-Bush2-Clinton? And this does not include the two-term VP stint of Bill's good friend, Daddy Bush. Let's hope Tavis inquires about that pattern of national leadership. Why is it that in a country of 300 million people we must be governed for 3 decades by the same two families-- the Bushes and the Clintons? Why is it that in 40 years, and 10 presidential terms, the Democrats have only been able to win 3 terms-- one through Carter and two through Clinton; while now reaching again for another Clinton? Black folks have always been a loyal vehicle for Democrats to ride into the White House, with no accountability for that loyalty. So, I ask that Tavis ask these such questions of his friend, Mrs. Clinton.

Or, are these kinds of broader questions beyond the thinking capacity of black folks?

Thank you.

Dr. N. J. Tate
Charleston, SC

Anonymous said...

Greetings Brothers and Sisters;

I appreciate many of the thoughtful remarks that so many took the time to write. Although I don’t have much faith in the American political and economic systems in terms of improving the lives of most African Americans, I really hope that Senator Obama gets the Democratic nomination and makes it to the White House. I view Obama’s run as truly historical, in terms of electoral politics, but not to be compared with the historical relevance of such greats as Malcolm or Martin. I understand Senator Obama is a politician, and as such, he will make compromises that King or Martin would never make and never have to make. Still, based on his record, I give him the benefit of the doubt that he will do more, or attempt to do more, for us than most if not all of the white politicians would, including the Clintons (although I liked Dennis Kucinich’s platform). Some presidents, such as Bush have made the lives of many of us worst off (by the War in Iraq, court appointments, and cuts in social programs). In my opinion, no President, including Bill Clinton, has really improved the lives of most African Americans. Too many of us gave Bill Clinton unconditionally support (until his recent race baiting). But remember, Bill Clinton signed the “three strikes and you are out” legislation that affects mainly African Americans, initiated welfare “reform” that hurt the poor, and approved the unjustified bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, an African country based on erroneous intelligence data that it was a weapons factory. Hillary’s Clinton’s appearance at the State of the Black Union will be because she needs more African American votes, not because of her love or concern for African Americans.

Obama has to strike a delicate balance of trying to attract white support without alienating the Black community. In terms of his securing the democratic nomination, it is more critical for him to campaign in those states where the primary elections are still upcoming. If he is to be elected, he needs more white and Latino votes in those states. He is already carrying over 80% of the African American vote. I do not interpret his absence at the State of the Black Union Conference to be a snub of Tavis or African Americans. Don’t you critics realize that the man is running for President? If he is to run a smart election, then the first thing he needs to concentrate on is getting elected. And he can’t do that just on African American votes. (Is Obama’s absence at the SOBU Conference any different from Tavis Smiley holding his book signing in the New Orleans area at a white owned Barnes and Noble Store on the outskirts of New Orleans rather than at a Black owned book store such as the Community Book Store in New Orleans that is trying to reestablish clientele after Katrina?)

I have always tuned in to the State of the Black Union Conference on C Span, and I registered to attend this year’s conference for the first time, and the day of service that precedes it to help rebuild New Orleans. I know that I will honor my commitment for the day of service. At this point, I am still pondering whether or not to attend the conference itself because of Tavis’ actions concerning Obama. I would appreciate your feedback on attending State of the Black Union.

Peace and Love,
A Brother on the Bayou

Anonymous said...

Please sign the petition online to PBS to rid us all of Tavis and his hatred toward the one black man that has EVER gotten this close to the Presidency. He needs to get the hell out of our way!

Sign it and share it! Let this petition speed around the net just like Tavis' hateration towards Obama did.

http://www.petitiononline.com/notavis/petition.html

YesWeCan_Change4daBest said...

I agree with Dr. Tate from Charleston, SC. I too would have enjoyed watching the State of the Black Union with Michelle Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton... a missed opportunity.
When did Hillary accept Tavis invite to participate in the State of the Black Union? After Feb. 5th?
Another point. Seems like our Sharpton, Jackson Sr, and Smiley "leaders" have lost their voices in supporting a man pursuing what they have failed to achieve themselves. Where is the Keep Hope Alive voice? It makes me wonder: Are they that closely tied to the Clintons? Are they afraid of becoming irrelevant? The Reverends should be singing praises and clapping with joy, why the whisper.
Note, many white women on TV say that they are voting for Hillary because she is a woman (period). A role model for my daughter they say. Why are we Blacks shame to say that we are voting for Obama because he is Black, a role model for our sons and daughters. Barkley said it however, and good for him. Why hold ourselves to a higher standard against ourselves? Don't think we are good enuf yet? We are good enuf and then some! If we know our long history on this earth, then you know I am speaking the truth.

Back to the Clintons. How much do you want to bet that Hillary will pull the sympathy card... Will she cry again? 3x? Bill Clinton said read my lips. I did not have sex with that woman. What do you want in the White House? Transparency. Truthfulness. Integrity.

YesWeCan_Change4daBest said...

Check out Roland Martin's comment on the matter of which I totally agree. http://essence.typepad.com/news/2008/02/roland-s-mart-6.html (cut and paste url)
Reading it, I found out that Hillary accepted after Feb 5th, ie., when she realized the battle in front of her, rather than a cake walk.

"By the way, when people say that black issues are being ignored in the campaign, they are wrong.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the nation's most prestigious think tank devoted to African American issues, released a survey showing that the top issues to blacks are the war in Iraq; healthcare; jobs and the economy; and education."

Anonymous said...

Tavist wants to debate about everything, and Mr Obama desires to do something. This is the difference between a specific activist and the president who would have the power to mobilize the activist. Tavist needs to open his mind, and see the bigger picture. Apparently he is disappointed that he is not the potential president in this hour.It is apparent to me
that Tavist also needs to excercise a little wisdom here. Timing is everthing, and this is not the time to challenge Barack Obama. The matter can be settled when Mr. Obama is in the White House.

Constructive Feedback said...

Kayla Nation said:

[quote]We are a neutral people on the whole when it comes to politics.We only vote for Democrats because of our of fear of the right wing Republicans[/quote]

Do you realize how insane your statement is?

If I make a list of the top 20 cities where Black folks are most concentrated - New York City being the exception - THERE ARE FEW "Right Wing Republicans" left in our midst. Black people live in more 80% Democratic Cities than ever before - Detroit, Cleveland,Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore, St. Louis, New Orleans - the list goes on.

The fact that YOU SAY that we Blacks are VOTING AGAINST some force and are seemingly unable to indicate WHAT WE ARE VOTING FOR is very problematic for me and should be so for any independent Black person who is seeking to ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING rather than cower in fear.


We have reached so far beyond the point of VOTER ABSTRACTION where our actions in the voting booth is so out of sync with the realities that are occurring on our streets that it has reached ridiculous proportions and the level of denial is unsustainable.

Neutral my back side!! The Black community has so fused the interests of our race with the Interests of the Democrats that the two are nearly indistinguishable. One thing is for sure - today we have more Black people representing our interests and more Democrats representing our interests than ever before yet the problems STILL plague us. Score one for the Democrats. Not so sure if you can score one for the Black community.

Yvonne said...

I thoroughly DISAGREE with this commentary. If you listen to Tavis often, you see that he is trying to give all sides of the picture, not just one. I, too, am an Obama supporter but I believe as thinking and responsible citizens, we must look at ALL sides of the issues. And, having "Yes" people around all the time just creates another Bush.

Anonymous said...

I have listened to Tavis over the years. Yes, he has made some great strides in helping issues get recognized that listeners probably would've never heard about. But it seems that lately it has been more "talk" than "action". People talk a good game but what are you actually "doing" to make things better. Black folks have issues. We don't need a bunch of well educated, wealthy people, who by the way are so far removed from reality, sitting in a room to tell us that. Just look around everyday or watch the news. We know all too well what's happening in our neighborhoods. The black family has deteriorated. Black men aren't living up to their ends of the bargain and black women who are birthing babies by 2/3 different men well let's just conclude that it's having a terrible affect on everybody. Enough talk. Let's get busy. I don't have time to sit around and watch CSPAN, watching people talk about what's wrong. I'm out "doing" something. Stop with all the hate. Obama is running for president of America. Not president of the black land. He needs support and the way we can help is to stop sitting around waiting on the government to help us. We need to help ourselves!! I'm not looking for Obama or anyone else who may get elected to make things better for us. We have our own share in that responsibilty. And by the way, what were the results from the last think tank exercise? I'm assuming just some suits going home feeling good they had a chance to TALK AGAIN!

Anonymous said...

Tavis Smiley is and continues to be just as self-serving as the next guy. I heard him say on the Tom Joyner morning show that he has known Barack Obama long before most people even knew how to pronounce his name.

And how he remembers the days of old (Or for him,the good old days)on the streets of Chicago when Barack Obama used to speak to kids in Tavis' youth programs.

Now just the way in which he said these things as he took yet another impromptu power trip back down memory lane let me know that he has been hate'n on Obama for a long time for stealing what should have been (in his mind)rightfully his now.

What a shame. Tavis, it's time to sit up straight, eat all of your vegetables and grow the hell up! I'm pretty tired of listening to the bitchin and complaining myself.

Anonymous said...

Tavis Smiley is a journalist trying to earn all the money he can...he employs the Black Agenda to fatten his pocket.Mr. Smiley is not a Black Leader, He's a slick reporter who happens to be black and selfish.
Mr. Smiley is picking a fight with the wrong MAN when he tries to engage
Senator Obama.
Mr. Smiley should have issue with Bill Clinton for his ill remarks about MLK JR. in South Carolina.
The fact is Mr.Smiley's ego is so
BIG he's not aware he looks like a
CLOWN in the eyes of Black America!

Anonymous said...

Just a thought...

MLK wanted us to judged by the content of our character, right? Not the color of our skin, right? That was what the dream was partly about, right? OK... Well, what the HELL is wrong with brother Tavis?

Obama has perfected and cemented a strategy in presidential politics that will be studied for years! He has been able to get the "Black Vote", not by "being Black" (the assumption that Black folks will have your back, e.g. Tavis), but by EARNING the Black Vote! A lot of us were on the Hater Bus at the beginning of the campaign....just admit it, but we have all listened and read about Barack.

Tavis, we watch CNN, MSNBC, read Newspapers and also - can you believe it... think for ourselves.

More importantly this earned Black Vote has become viable itself. Go head Barack! Black folks know how to pick a winner. We do not need a Black forum to baby feed us who supports our issues more - because frankly as Barack asserts many of our issues transcend race.

More importantly we see how "they".. you know that word we use a lot..."they". We see how they are trying him with ever imaginable tactic. I even watched a story about how people who are following him have a sickness, yeah.. Obamaphilia... what the hell is that? The man just can't be good. Wow!

I suppose the old gaurd of quote on quote black leaders are a bit worried. Perhaps we can unite. Black, White, Protestant and Catholic. Those who followed King may want to read what he actually was SAYING!

I am not so sure in my opinion whether at this point even MLK would argue that Barack should divert time from this heated campaign, where is perfecting the impossible to answer questions from our intelligencia. Just my opinion.

I respect you brother Tavis, but I would hate to have you on the other side of an interview table... wow. Hope Hillary enjoys her chat with Black folk.

UptownNYC

Anonymous said...

Tavis Smiley does not speak for Black People!Tavis Smiley speaks and earns lots of MONEY for himself.

Anonymous said...

Tavis-
My disappointment with you is that you have created a controversial situation that could lead to the loss of the presidency for a well qualified black man. Sen. Obama's quest for the highest office in the land trumps anything that your self serving annual forum could hope to accomplish.

I was watching last year when Sen. Obama was raked over the coals for
instead of announcing his campaign
on your show he did it in Springfield, Ill. You and your guests were very dismissive and attacking of Sen. Obama for this decision. I am certain that by now word has reached him of that reaction by the supposedly elite
minds assembled there. If no apology accompanied your invitation, its understandable that the good Senator could be distrustful or at least wary of your motives to be generated within the format setting.

Furthermore, as sophisticated as
you would lead others to believe you are, perhaps it has dawned on you that he may belive that he can
make better use of his time in promoting his campaign for President of the U. S.on that day.
It is certainly his decision to make and not yours. And given the treatment afforded him last year it would make sense if he did.

You have at your hand created a situation, by critizing Sen. Obama
that does not sit well with most
intelligent followers of "Racist American History". Sure you have carved out a place in our culture
that is to be applauded. But on this one I think you're beginning to "smell your p". Mr. Smiley you should not pretend to think or speak for Black America. And you are beginning to let your slip show. Its not about you and your show its about all of us.

Having been born into racist america almost seven decades ago and was establishing a series of firsts before you were born, I have witnessed the full spectrum of racism overt, covert, subtle and outright blaspheming. This is the first opportunity that has
occured in my lifetime to observe
a campaign the likes of which will not occur in this life's time. I would urge you if there is any decent way for you to fix this mess that you have created DO IT.

There is one thing that I have seen in Sen. Obama's campaign that
is appropriate for the time is his
mastery of the "Jeff Game". If he didn't have it he never would have
made it this far. Give the man a break and as Mavis would say:" Get out of his way and let the gentleman do his thing". And if you are not familiar with the term ask Dr. West, I'm sure he will be happy to school you.

By the way, the surrogates that you have responding on this blog aren't helping either. And just be patient if you clean up your act, your time will come. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

HOLD UP... HOLD UP...HOLD UP...

Did Tavis say on last week that he was not going to talk about this matter again? Did ya'll hear that?

What? Put them on BLAST.. and now.. I won't talk about it. Furthermore he jumped on the wagon. Congrats Tavis.

Your acknowledgement that you knew Barack Obama before we could pronounce his name... 1.) Is an insult. If my boy did me like you have done him, and then jumped on declaring you knew me... damn.. lots of nerve.

I am glad that most of the response I am reading is on par. Do yo thing Barack, and we want to unite this country. There will be a time for the debates on what Tavis has termed "Black Issues".

Tavis, the books will sell too if you supported your brother. Are you his keeper? Or Hillary's stagemaker? (not sure if stagemaker is a word... but Hey.. Jesse can make words so can I...LOL)

Anonymous said...

I can't presume to know Tavis Smiley's motives beyond what he's stated. I can't judge him to be ego-maniacal or, whatever. Through his forums and media exposure he has kept our issues in the discussion - at least among us. For that he should be credited. Despite his efforts, however, and those of so many others, our (once-growing)middle class is shrinking, the incarceration rate for our young men and women is increasing, academically we are being left behind, and our popular music is doing little to soothe our souls.

As a 52 y/o African American (frequently angry black) man I know that a president isn't going to change things for us overnight. I understand, however, that when Barack talks about improving education, or enhancing economic opportunities, or creating jobs, that these are issues that any American could embrace, especially those in the black community.

By acknowledging the issues that Barack talks about as our issues too we affirm our rightful place in the fabric of this country. Failing to do so means the continued marginalization of our particular needs by those who could really effect change.

That said, I agree with those who believe that any real change has to come from within. Asking the government to do it all is akin to surrendering our will and reducing our efforts to the whims of others. Judging by the letters written here, we've achieved and accomplished much despite the lack of governmental support. Perhaps there is the occasional affirmative action story, but I'm guessing that, overall, you all, did your homework and did what you needed to do to get through school. Imagine if we had a President who could actually inspire an interest in reading.

Tavis is, what we use to call, a "race" man. My father is a "race" man. They do what they do cause that's what they do, and I love them for it.

But it's time for a change.

Anonymous said...

thank you for your insight; the murkiness I felt surrounding this issue is a little clearer.

Anonymous said...

DITTO. DITTO.DITTO. JUST A MINUTE AGO OBAMA WASN'T "BLACK ENOUGH." NOW HE HAS TO PROVE THAT HE IS "ALL BLACK" BY APPEARING AT THE STATE OF THE UNION CONFERENCE. YET, THESE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS NOT ALL BLACK. OBAMA NEEDS TO BE ON THE GROUND VISITING EVERY STATE IN THE UNION. POINT AND CASR, ONE VOTER IN S.C. SAID SHE DID NOT VOTE FOR HILLARY SIMPLY BECAUSE SHE DID NOT COME TO HER TOWN.

GJO said...

I, a 71 year old BLACK man who having honorably served this un-UNITED States of America from 1955-1975 as an "Officer and an Gentleman" have just a little something to say. Since I am sure that at least 75% of those commenting here-in are standing on my generations shoulders during the intergration of schools, the militaty, lunch counters, sports, resturants and employment. True it did look as though it was about skin color but in reality it was about respect, equality and opportunity. How small thinking of some of us wanting to revert to what the "PINK" man used to seperate and inslave us in the first place. Mr Barack Obama of incontinental ancestry with unmitigated gall and Audacity of Hope assumes that he can accomplish what is fair and right and color-blinded for ALL Americans. Young man, I respect, applaud, and enthusiastically support you.

cHARLES said...

Tavis Smiley has finally been called out for what he is. SELFISH!
There's something called "Competitive Jealousy," and Mr. Smiley's photo probably appears next to the definition of that term. He's all about Tavis, and it shows in everything he says, and does. I'm just amazed that folks are just seeing him for what he is. SELFISH!

Anonymous said...

Travis Smiley is a Fool too...the reason Mrs. Clinton accepted his invation is because Mr. Obama turned it down!!!

and the Clinton's do give a damn about Black America!

Mrs. Obama does not have to apologize for what she said….most of America feels the same way. So, far the Clinton’s are the only one that has nick-picked every word said
By the Obama family. What about Bill with his big mouth! And Hilary, with her weak
Self….she doesn’t even have a back bone!

Let someone say something about her daughter or about her husband past and she will break down! I am 56 year old and for the first time I am proud of this country too.

Bill and Hillary Clinton need to get a life and stop trying to use Black people against Black people…..the only reason she is going to speak at the Travis Smiley event is because Mr. Obama turned it down. And Mr. Smiley is a fool if he cannot see that. The Clinton doesn’t give a damn about his event or Black America in my opinion!

The Clinton only care about cheap labor from the Mexicans and helping poor White people and trying to make Black people look bad…..well, it is not working! We are a proud people and we are the backbone of this country….always has been and always will be.

Go Mrs. Michelle Obama……….go and be PROUD and say it LOUD!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Many of the comments that I have read worry me. Remove Tavis Smiley from the equation and then ask: Why is it out of the question for Senator Obama to appear at a national forum led by, organized by, and with a specific focus on the concerns of, Black folks? We know the drill. For years we have invited candidates to come rub shoulders with us so that we can size them up at close range, ask those gritty questions that don't usually get asked by the White reporters or the selected sprinkling of Blacks who get invited only when someone Black is on the ticket. We watch their eyes and facial expressions as they listen and search for an answer that make sense to us. We sometimes listen with knowing smiles when their answers don't square with the world we live in every day, and may even offer an "amen" when they come up with something that seems to make sense. Sometimes we hunch each other when the questioning gets a hot and candidates begin to look at their watches and move toward the side door. We might even take a mental roll-call of candidates who don't show and those who send a substitute. No, this isn't the only way that we get to hear the hopefuls address the issues as we see, live, and breathe them. Those who are comfortable in our "home court" take on the questions and stay late listening, and offering some well thought out plans, and are relaxed enough in our surroundings to take off their shoes and begin jotting down the names of those who have needs that just cannot wait for the day after election day. This process isn't new. It may not be the best and may not suit everyone, but it has brought candidates to us so that they can at the very least acknowledge that one size doesn't fit all. It has helped enough that some of us come to a decision --good, bad or indifferent -- that we pray we can live with. This is the kind of forum that the community organizer in Obama probably knows well. I have to ask myself why wouldn't he want to make this a stop he just couldn't, wouldn't want to miss?

TheUrbanRevolution said...

First, let me say that I'm supposed to be doing my finance homework instead of writing this comment :) I've been asked often by White America why African American's have not progressed more than we have. Of course I cannot tell them the truth, but I can tell you what I believe.

Most of us were raised by people who were raised by people who were slaves. My great-grandfather was born on the plantation. With that comes all of the baggage, shame, self doubt, maybe even self-hate. We are still healing. Sen. Obama, was not raised by people who were slaves, and therefore does not have all of the baggage that some of us may have. He didn't have someone telling him "you can be anything that you want to be" although they didn't truly believe. His mom believed it because it was true for her. Tavis and Cornell are suffering from the same Cultural Incest that most African Americans are suffering from. I can only hope that Sen. Obama's eventual nomination can be one more inoculation towards healing our community.

Anonymous said...

CALM DOWN PEOPLE! LOVE FIRST! Before you judge a man's motives, please examine all his actions, not just his last misstep. As humans we are all subject to the pitfalls of ego. Yes, power does corrupt. But if we are sincere and humble we can check oursevles and get back on course. Lets do the love thing and help Tavis to check himself for this blunder. In fact I think he has learned a valuable lesson which he may not be ready to admit publicly. These are growing pains guys. America is going through a growth spurt right now. We have progressed beyound the methology of dialogue. This is time for real change, starting with the way we perceive ourselves; not as victims, but as victors. The issues that affect black America and other socio economically disadvantaged groups in this country are well documented and discussed. Check out Obama's website and you'll see that he understands them well. We don't need another symposium! Lets start doing "YES WE CAN!".

Love always, even when we disagree.

Anonymous said...

I am HIGHLY disappointed in Tavis. Obama is in the fight of his life and his top priority right now is to be on the stomp and introduce himself to people who do not know him. The Clinton name is a household name and Obama needs time to reach the people. He is not trying to blow off the black community by not showing up at the Black Caucus.. he offered to send his wife but Tavis declined. That was an OUTRAGE! I agree with the other blogger who said that we (as black america) needs to understand that he is in an uphill battle and we need to be behind him supporting him. And also, dont be dooped by Clinton showing up at the caucus. Her whole agenda is to try to win back the black vote from Obama.. dont fall for it my people!

Anonymous said...

Tavis needs to get a hold of himself; Barack Obama is for all humans, as we all should be. Why would he call for Obama to leave the Campaign trail other than to satisfy his own ego?

Anonymous said...

edWhat happen to the Clinton name in
all of this.
Our cable news media and others
twisted Bill Clintons words around
and all of a suddens hes a racist.
Since when were the Clintons racist. Have some faith people.
I realize Bill was a little over the top but hey this is campaign
stuff and he was totally burnt out
and tired. I find it so sad that
this happened to Hillary. It truely
took away so many of her black support.
But worst of all in an instant all
the good the Clintons did don't count anymore. Come on.
Hillary was bringing up Pres. Johnson and saying if it weren't
for him this ideas don't come to be. And this is the power of the
presidency. Which is what both
Barak and Hillary are running for
president. Shes showing the importance of presidency.

So that was it. Why in the world
would she be trying to shrink the
importance of Martin Luther King.
It doens't make any sense. It is
the media like CNN and MSNBC who
ran crazy with this story. I can't
believe what she has had to tollerate from this mean spirited
talking heads on cable news.
Whoever wanted to hurt Hillarys
campaign by making out the Bill
Clinton was a racist certainly
succeeded quite well. She will
likely lose this race and it will
be because our black brother and
sisters turned against her.
Will people have to tippy toe around Obama. Bills words were
unfortunate yes but hold on to
your hats with republicans or
karl rove or his turn with the
mean spirited talking heads.
Please cut Hillary some slack.
She needs our help.
Peace and Love

Anonymous said...

Go Obama! Leave the haters behind. You are a true visionary who is fighting for a higher purpose. Your vision for America is light-years ahead of that of Tavis and consistent with that of all progressive African-Americans. You are the next president of the USA! In due time, Tavis will make it up to you for his own selfish interests. I am really baffled that Americans-specially Blacks-find it normal and democratic to have 28 years of Clintons and Bushes in the White House? Yes, it will be 28 years if Hillay becomes president for 8 years in Can someone explain that to me? That is what I ran from when I immigrated from Africa, 22 years ago. What has Bill or Hillay really done for Black folks? N.O.T.H.I.N.G! Yet, Blacks have done a lot for them. Besides, I assure you our economy will get improve only after ALL our troops are out of Iraq. Do you know how much money is wasted there everyday? Only Obama - who did not vote to send them there in the first place - is willing and will be able to bring them home swiftly.

Anonymous said...

i dont mind having a white woman for president, i dont mind having a black man for president.........i just dont want a muslim for president.....there's alot more to come out about this in the next 9 months, let's wait and see what happens....if obama is trying to cover up being a muslim....it will all come out..we're fighting a war on terror...why would be install our enemy in the white house??? think about that!! think HARD about that!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"i dont mind having a white woman for president, i dont mind having a black man for president.........i just dont want a muslim for president....."

What kind of crap is that? You are a real evil psycho! You're certainly not from this planet. otherwise you wouldn't make such a ridiculous accusation.

kikibaby said...

I believe it is unconscionable for Tavis Smiley to attack Barack Obama because he cannot spare the time to make it to his event. Clearly, Obama is in the make or break moment of his potential presidency. If he does not win Texas and Ohio it could mean that Clinton could take the election through Super Delegates. I am an activist and an African American. I am sorely disappointed in Tavis Smiley's callous self promotion at the expense of this historic run. Is Mr. Smiley really that short sighted? Do the efforts, hopes and votes of millions of Americans including Black Americans really mean so little to Mr. Smiley? If Obama's campaign got negative coverage at this crucial moment I would have expected it to come from Republicans. Instead I have to see it come from Tavis Smiley. Shame on him. If we lose Texas or Ohio it may be due in some part to Mr. Smiley.


Kiki

Anonymous said...

This is all unfortunate. I have been alive long enough to remember Dr. King being boycotted by black leaders during the sixties. They took to the streets to say that we don't need Dr. King's help in our area. And unfortunately the trend continues; black leaders are the first to oppose the first viable black candidate for president. It seems that we are still suffering form the "crawfish" syndrome. I for one am extremely proud of Obama for not kowtowing!

As far as Tavis, I don't give "two shits" about his opinion one way or the other. Obama is running for political office, why should he pander to these self-appointed black leaders? He will be president to all Americans not just Black-Americans. How hard is that to understand? Yes, we are still discriminated against, and yes we have a disproportionately higher unemployment and yes we have issues that are unique to African Americans. But tell me how not supporting Obama helps that? How does supporting Hillary, an extremely divisive figure in our political landscape, helps our cause? Next tell me how 12 percent of the population gets anyone elected to President?

Here is the point. We are no longer in this by ourselves. Many of our issues are the issues that affect other Americans. Healthcare affects all Americans, lack of good jobs affects all Americans and affordable housing affects us all. I have listened to black leaders and watched them sell out over and over again. I have watched them be bought off over and over again. Tavis will have his meeting today...what will be the end results. The SOS; Nothing!

Actually I am glad that Tavis is against Obama because it serves to prove that African American opinion is not monolithic.

Anonymous said...

THE BIG QUESTION IS DOES BARACK OBAMA FEELS THAT HE IS TO BIG FOR THE BLACK UNION AND THE PEOPLE OF KATRINA SINCE HE'S ON THIS HIGH. BUT REAL TALK! YOU HAVE ALOT OF BLACK PEOPLE WHO NEVER VOTED BEFORE AND DON'T UNDERSTAND POLITICS ARE VOTING FOR OBAMA BECAUSE HE IS BLACK. NOW! PERFECT EXAMPLE: IF OBAMA TAKES OFFICE HE'S NOT GOING TO TAKE CARE OF THE BLACK PEOPLE SITUATIONS. HE CAN'T EVEN SHOW FOR THE BLACK UNION AND SUPPORT THE PEOPLE THATS STRUGGLING FROM KATRINA. HE CAME TO THE N. O. AND SUPPORT HIM BUT THEN BACK STABS. I'M NOT HATIN ON THE DUDE I'M JUST TELLING IT LIKE IT IS. LETS NOT FALL IN THE HOLE ITS NOT ABOUT THE PRESIDENT ITS ABOUT THE CONGRESS WAKE UP PEOPLE.

Anonymous said...

"THE BIG QUESTION IS DOES BARACK OBAMA FEELS THAT HE IS TO BIG FOR THE BLACK UNION"

This argument is an argument used when one black person starts to excel in life and the “Negros” are not personally benefiting from his rise. I don’t know if Barack Obama will win the Democratic nomination or the Presidency. But I do know that he will not win if he is catering to the people in NOLA this weekend. He will be marginalized as a black person working solely on black issues.

Damn, let the man do things the way he should or sees best for him. It is absurd for us as black people not be able to see that his candidacy is not about us and us alone. It is about America and making America better of all Americans. Because more and more our issues are America issues and we are all in this together.

Tavis should just go on with his little meeting and leave Barack the hell alone.

Anonymous said...

SEE THIS IS WHATS WRONG WITH ARE COMMUNITIES NOW. PLEOPLE NEED TO WAKE UP AND REALIZE WHATS AT STAKE. IF U TALK ABOUT WHAT U GONNA DO THEN DO IT BE A MAN OF YOUR WORD. TAVIS IS JUST PUTTING OBAMA ON THE SPOT. LIKE HOMEBOY SAID THE GREATER THE SUCCUSS THE MORE RESPONSIBLITIES AND OBAMA IS GOING TO TAKE MORE THAN THAT. BLACK PEOPLE IS THE ONES WHO IS STRUGGLING. YOU MIGHT A GOOD JOB AND CAN SUPPORT YOUR FAMILY BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ONES THAT CAN'T AND TAVIS IS JUST SPEAKING ON THE ONES WHO DON'T HAVE A VOICE AND THIS IS REAL SERIOUS BUSINESS. THE WAY WE TALK AND TALKING SOME IS GOING TO GET HURT OR KILLED JUST BECAUSE OF THIS LOOK AT PEOPLE GETTING DEATH THREATS WAKE UP PEOPLE. BILL CLINTON DID ALOT FOR THE BLACK PEOPLE

Anonymous said...

EVERYBODY LOOKING AT OBAMA MAKING HISTORY LETS SEE IF OBAMA MAKES A DIFFERENT. I KEEP SAYING OUR COUNTRY IS GOING TO BE IN BIG TROUBLE IF PEOPLE JUST VOTING BECAUSE HE'S BLACK. HOW MANY PEOPLE THAT ARE BLACK GOT IN THE SPOT LIGHTS AND BECAME SELL OUTS TO SAY THEY CAREER. CONGRESS IS GOING TO MAKE IT HELL FOR OBAMA. AMERICA IS NOT READY FOR A BLACK PRESIDENT. HOW DO U KNOW U R. COLIN POWELL DROPPED OUT BECAUSE THREATS TO HIS FAMILY AND HE WAS BEATING BUSH BY A LARGE MARGIN. DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPEN TO JESSE JACKSON. HIS OBAMA TRYING TO BE MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. I WILL TELL YALL RIGHT NOW A BLACK PRESIDENT WILL NOT MAKE A DIFFERENT IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA LIKE I SAID BEFORE THE CONGRESS HAS MORE POWER THAN THE PRESIDENT THINK ABOUT IT. SO WE NEED TO CHANGE THE CONGRESS LETS GET SOME BROTHERS TO RUN FOR CONGRESS THEN WE TALKING. LETS WAKE UP AMERICA

Anonymous said...

There is no guarantee that any person will do exactly what they say during a campaign. However, you warnings are duly noted! We can only go on past records. If past records are an indication; Obama will do what is right for not only Black America; but all of America. In the short time Obama has been in the Senate, he has lead to fight to fix the illegal aliens problem; campaign finance reform; and most notably tagging Earmarks so that Americans know how their tax dollars are being spent. Of course, he did much more than those things but at least we get a feel for where he is going.

Part of the lyrics to a James Brown song was “I don’t want nobody to give me nothing, just open up the door I’ll get myself.” Obama worked on the Southside of Chicago when he worked to bring communities together to create jobs so that people can find good work and become self sufficient. This was after Bill Clinton had passed NAFTA and sent the jobs overseas. If what you are looking for are massive give-a-ways you should probably support Hillary Clinton. If you are looking for an opportunity for college education, better public education, better jobs and self sufficiency you should vote for Barack Obama.

I like Tavis but he has never ever made a difference in my life whatsoever. I listen to him on many instances to provide insight into subjects that I am not familiar with, but I by no means walk in lock step with him in his every opinion. In this case, my opinion is that he is WRONG for doing what he has done. Because not only are Black people struggling, ALL AMERICANS ARE STRUGGLING. So please broaden your focus because I have Hispanic and White friends who are struggling just like I am. That is why he should not only focus on the 12% of America who are struggling but the remaining 88% who are also struggling.

old black man

Anonymous said...

I'm in my 60's,black,female and widowed.
Barack Obama is not running to be
Blacks'President,Tavis smileys,nor just New Orleans he's running to be The President of the United States of America for the good of all Americans.This alone gives me insight into his character,and you should respect that.Tavis,you should do more reading than talking.It is blacks of this generation like you who divide.We as blacks cannot blame anyone for
our accomplishments,nor for our problems but ourselves.
If Hillary Clinton want to be a part of the Forum,that's well and
good.Obama came before the primaries,she sent her husband to Baton Rouge,not New Orleans,now that she LOST here she is showing interested. SON YOU GOT A LOT TO LEARN.GO TO THE LIBARY,OR SIT DOWN AND LISTEN AT WHAT YOUR GRAND/GREAT
GRAND FATHER IS TRYING TO SAY!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm in my 60's,black,female and widowed.
Barack Obama is not running to be
Blacks'President,Tavis smileys,nor just New Orleans he's running to be The President of the United States of America for the good of all Americans.This alone gives me insight into his character,and you should respect that.Tavis,you should do more reading than talking.It is blacks of this generation like you who divide.We as blacks cannot blame anyone for
our accomplishments,nor for our problems but ourselves.
If Hillary Clinton want to be a part of the Forum,that's well and
good.Obama came before the primaries,she sent her husband to Baton Rouge,not New Orleans,now that she LOST here she is showing interested. SON YOU GOT A LOT TO LEARN.GO TO THE LIBARY,OR SIT DOWN AND LISTEN AT WHAT YOUR GRAND/GREAT
GRAND FATHER IS TRYING TO SAY!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Smiley is continuing the traditional crabs in a barrel mentality of past generations. This is the reason Blacks in America have a difficult struggle. To demand that Mr. Obabama interupt a very close campaign battle to satisfy Mr. Smiley's ego to participate in this event that he has sponsored is beyond belief. Is Mr. Smiley attempting to facilitate the slip up of Mr. Obama, that has been long awaited by the Clinton Campaign.

I have spent all by life listing to praises for some not so beautiful people, not so smart people, amd for those who do some not so remarkable things. But because they were white and the commenter was white it was promoted and the success if declaired. Why black folks can't recognize this play I cannot understand. Why do we continue to demand our own brand of
"perfection" of one another. Obama's wife would be a satisfactory substitue. Or Travis do you have other motives in this action. Mr. Obama's current priority is to get the nominagion that will take hime to the the White House. Why Tavis is playing this all or nothing game with Obama I do not understand. Dosen't Travis know that there is a race to be won. Why is he and perhaps his ego trying to force a stumple by Obama. He is as close to the Presidentcy as any black person has come.


Travis response that this event is all about "candidates" is not a sophticated approach the the problem of the Black community amd our collective efforts for success. To continue to judge ourseleve in terms of abosolutes and perferctionist standards will only continue the road to failure.
Using those standards there will always be a reason to justify our being second best.

Mr. Smiley please stop the Black on Black assualt on this Black man's journey to the White House.

Thank you for your time
Gwen Dickson, Maryland

Anonymous said...

MR.SMILEY,
I WAS BORN IN EARLY 40's,MY DAD WAS THE BABY OF 14.HE WAS 8 WHEN HIS MOTHER DIED,AND 9 WHEN HIS MOM
DIED.HE WENT TO WORK AT 9 AND WHEN HE GOT OLD ENOUGH HE FOUGHT IN WWII.WHEN HE CAME HOME,GOT A JOB AND I BECAME OLD ENOUGH TO GO TO SCHOOL,MY MOM TOOK ME SHOPPING BUT
COULD NOT TRY MY CLOTHES OR SHOES
ON TO SEE IF THEY FIT BECAUSE I WAS
BLACK.THAT DID NOT HINDER THEM FROM GIVING ME AN EDUCATION.I WENT
TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL AT 16,COLLEGE AT ALMOST 20.YOU,NOR OBAMA IS MY HERO,
NOR DO YOU SPEAK FOR ME.I LOVE SEEING THE PROGRESS BLACK PEOPLE LIKE YOU HAVE MADE AND THAT IS DUE TO BLACK PEOPLE,LIKE MY DAD-WHO WAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE MY HERO.YOU MUST REMEMBER WHAT YOU AND OBAMA ARE TRYING TO REBUILD AND BRIDGE TOGETHER WAS TORE DOWN BY,DIVISION.
TO MAKE PROGRESS YOU HAVE TO UNITE PEOPLE.DR.KING NEVER WENT ON THE DEFENSE WHEN HE WAS DENIED,NOR DID HE ALLOW US TOO,HE KEPT FOCUSED.
DR.KING'S SUCCESS WAS NOT BUILT ON HIS DESIRE TO BE SUCCESSFUL,ANYMORE
THAN MY DAD,(who was actually my uncle-I never knew my father)WHAT THESE MEN OF THAT TIME DID,WAS HEED THE CALLING OF GOD AND THEY SUCCEEDED BECAUSE OF IT.
TAVIS,ANSWER YOUR CALLING AND
ALLOW OBAMA TO ANSWER HIS.YOU CANNOT BUILD YOURSELF UP BY TEARING YOUR BROTHER DOWN.YOU ARE NOT THAT POWERFUL.

Anonymous said...

stop beating up on obama you know why he is not in new orleans he's trying to win one of the larget states in the country come on you should be beating up on the bush people for not taking care of new orleans your words are powerful and will send the wrong message to our young adults blacks want to rake obama over the coals and all of my 45 years i could only vote for white folks that were about nothing if hillary had won eleven states she would have refused you invitation also shame on you a man of your status

Anonymous said...

Mr. Smiley,

I have listened to you on Tom Joyner Morning show and also on televison. At one time I truly thought you did care about the Black Race, today after watching your forum on C-SPAN, I am not so sure, but I thank God for some of the people on your panel. I got the feeling as long as the people were praising Hilary Clinton you were OK with that, but when Barack's name came up, you wanted to deter that and say we are not going to speak upon our polictical choice, but when someone had something to say about Hilary there was no stopping them from speaking, even with all the enuendos about Hilary, you joined in. I am now thinking, what self serving reason do you have? If you do not like Barack or don't want to vote for him that is your choice and no one can hate you for that which is the very same thing you kept speaking of during your forum. I believe there is some self serving reason for your choice. There isn't a large difference between the two candidates. Why couldn't his wife Michelle, speak. I would have love to hear what she had to say.

Bill played the race card and Hilary knows that, I respect Barack for not even giving fuel to it. But it sure changed my mind, somewhere down there in Hilary and Bill, a Black is still a Black and they truly have there place with them. But they should never feel so comfortable that they can say whatever comes to mind, some may find it offensive, I DID!! It all comes out in the wash.

I know Hilary speaks of her love and devotion for the black and Latino race, but is it for the votes. I know she has fought many battles for inequalties for minority races, I won't take that from her. But Barack has fought for minotities also.

Bill Clinton has not been the first black president for me. Maybe for some, but I can't help but to think that some of Hilary's friends are more worried about their place in the Big House if she were elected.

I take offense to someone saying I am for Barack because he is black, or I would be for Hilary because she is a woman. I have listened to their platforms. I am capable of making a sound decision for myself. Bill Clinton was acting very desparate in his campaigning for his wife, I believe he took the first black president to heart, and thought it was OK to say what he did about Jesse Jackson. It opened my ears and my heart. A lot of white america will take that liberty when they feel that have a bond wiith the black community. I have seen it too often to mention.

Maybe Tavis if you are not going to publicly endorse a candidate for yourself, then stop hiding behind Stephanie Tubbs-Jones and the others, and letting them speak your mind. You stopped everyone on your panel from speaking out to endorse Barack. I am saddened by your behavior, which I am sure you don't really care about. But I also have a choice, and next year I choose not to listen to any more of your State of Black America forums or listen to you on Tom Joyner. Who knows maybe next your book will win a Grammy or maybe even Bill Clinton's.

We have have our years of the Clinton era, It is time for a change, I have never felt so hopeful as I have since Barack announced his candidacy, and the more I listen, the more I am so hopeful. I feel he is the one that can make a change for the good for America and all its people.

You may speak for Black America, but remember, it is your speech and not represented for all of Black America. Next time try not to be so balant or just come out and say what you truly feel and stop hiding behind others to speak for you.

Trina Mason

Anonymous said...

Obama needs no negative press right now what are you doing? You need to talk about issues like A&E bringing back Dog the bounty hunter back after those racist remarks .I guess A&E supports racism now. Not attacking your on kind. Especially when there trying to do something great. Shame on you !

Anonymous said...

Obama needs no negative press right now what are you doing? You need to talk about issues like A&E bringing back Dog the bounty hunter back after those racist remarks .I guess A&E supports racism now. Not attacking your on kind. Especially when there trying to do something great. Shame on you !

Anonymous said...

Larry Pinkney on Obamamania

http://www.blackcommentator.com/262/262_keeping_it_real_obama_bamboozling.html

This is a man who has enjoyed the fruits of America at the blood and expense of Black Americans and others, but who has paid virtually no dues.

This is a man whose father had also enjoyed the fruits of university schooling in America but subsequently returned to his native Kenya.

This is a man, who also like his father before him, neither served in a branch of the US military nor in any organization in America opposed to US military adventurism.

This is a man who as a deeply corporate military industrial complex US Presidential candidate, has called for “unilateral” US military actions in other nations. [And why not? After-all, his father, himself, or his wife and children were not and will not be the ones killing and being killed.

Anonymous said...

On this issue, the following quote applies well to Tavis .

"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

Eleanor Roosevelt
US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

Tavis has demonstrated that he has a very small mind indeed.

Anonymous said...

I have always said that tavis is hustling the black community which keeps him with a job.
The brother is all talk and no action. So is the plan now to get a job with Hillery?

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with the commentary, it was awesome. Tavis needs to chill his behavior reminds me of a spoiled child when they can't get their way. I was most amused on Saturday in New Orleans when he said he had not endorsed anyone. Who cares if he endorses anyone it will not make a difference one way or the other. I don't think anyone is waiting around for his endorsement. Senator Ombama has won 11 straight primaries and or caucus without his help. He is truly full of himself. And on another subject what was with the konk hair style. Is he pimp now or a movie star. I won't buy anymore of his books.

Yolande M said...

My husband only now is convinced after all theSe years that I do in fact have a sixth sense! And all because of Tavis Smiley. I have never liked the fellow, there was just something about him that did not strike me as being Kosher. Now I know. A self serving pompous twit. Why he should expect Senator Obama to leave campaigning at this critical time to attend his show boat,beggars belief.To demonstrate his spitefulness, and that the state of the Black Union is al about him and not about the community,he refuses to have Michelle Obama at the function. This should speak volumes to those who think he means well.

Yolande M. Agble NY

Yolande M said...

My husband only now is convinced after all theSe years that I do in fact have a sixth sense! And all because of Tavis Smiley. I have never liked the fellow, there was just something about him that did not strike me as being Kosher. Now I know. A self serving pompous twit. Why he should expect Senator Obama to leave campaigning at this critical time to attend his show boat,beggars belief.To demonstrate his spitefulness, and that the state of the Black Union is all about him and not about the community,he refuses to have Michelle Obama at the function. This should speak volumes to those who think he means well.

Yolande M. Agble NY

Anonymous said...

Come on folks you need to think - Clinton needs votes she will go anywhere to get them and she will be just bring more of the same.

Remember Nafta - any of you lose jobs that left America
Whitewater scandal
Universal Healh Care She led during their white house years and no accomplishment
Oh their million dollar mansion is paid for with rent from the Secret Service
Oh and she loans her campaign money but ask you to give hmmm
sounds like more of the same and do we really want Bill running around with his zipper open all the time. Come on get real we need change. Why not Barack Obama - Yes We Can stop division and break free from divisionmongers that use race to divide us and create their own platforms while getting paid. yes Clinton will show up then she will use that to turn Black people against Barack Obama using what - oh yes race. When will we learn. The current and past government administartions have proven themselves untrustworthy, they have failed Black and Brown America time and time again and you say what give us more. I do not understand that form of thought or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

Who knew?

Just a quick refresher course lest we forget what has happened to many "friends" of the Clintons.

1. James McDougal - Clinton's convicted Whitewater partner died of an
apparent heart attack, while in solitary confinement. He was a key
witness in Ken Starr's investigation.

2. Mary Mahoney - A former White House intern was murdered July 1997
at a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Georgetown. The murder happened just after
she was to go public with her story of sexual harassment in the White House.
3. Vince Foster - Former White House counselor and colleague of Hillary
Clinton at Little Rock's Rose Law firm. Died of a gunshot wound to the head,
ruled a suicide.

4. Ron Brown - Secretary of Commerce and former DNC Chairman. Reported to
have died by impact in a plane crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported that there was a hole in the top of Brown's skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of his willingness to
cut a deal with prosecutors. The rest of the people on the plane also died. A few days later
the air Traffic controller committed suicide.

5. C. Victor Raiser II- Raiser, a major player in the Clinton fund raising organization died in a private plane crash in July 1992

6. Paul Tulley - Democratic National Committee Political Director found dead in a hotel room in Little Rock, September 1992. Described by Clinton as a "dear friend and trusted advisor".
7. Ed Willey - Clinton fund raiser, found dead November 1993 deep in the woods in VA of a gunshot wound to the head. Ruled a suicide. Ed Willey died on the same day his wife Kathleen Willey claimed Bill Clinton groped her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey was involved in several Clinton fund raising events.

8. Jerry Parks -Head of Clinton's gubernatorial security team in Little Rock. Gunned down in his car at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock. Park's son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton. He allegedly threatened to reveal this information. After he died the files were mysteriously removed from his house.
9. James Bunch - Died from a gunshot suicide. It was reported that he had a "Black Book" of people which contained names of influential people who visited prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas.

10. James Wilson - Was found dead in May 1993 from an apparent hanging suicide. He was reported to have ties to Whitewater.

11. Kathy Ferguson - Ex-wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny Fergus was found dead in May 1994, in her living room with a gunshot to her head. It was ruled a suicide even though there were several packed suitcases, as if she was going somewhere. Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit. Kathy Ferguson was a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones.

12. Bill Shelton - Arkansas State Trooper and fiancé of Kathy Ferguson. Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiancé he was found dead in June, 1994 of a gunshot wound also ruled a suicide at the grave site of his fiancé.

13. Gandy Baugh - Attorney for Clinton's friend Dan Lassater, died by jumping
out a window of a tall building January, 1994. His client was a convicted drug distributor.

14. Florence Martin - Accountant & subcontractor for the CIA, was related to the Barry Seal Mean Airport drug smuggling case. He died of three gunshot wounds.

15. Suzanne Coleman - Reportedly had an affair with Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, ruled a suicide. Was pregnant at the time of her death.

16. Paula Grober - Clinton's speech interpreter for the deaf from 1978 until her death December 9, 1992. She died in a one car accident.

17. Danny Casolaro - Investigative reporter. Investigating Mean Airport and Arkansas Development Finance Authority. He slit his wrists, apparently, in the middle of his investigation.

18. Paul Wilcher - Attorney investigating corruption at Mena Airport with Casolaro and the 1980 "October Surprise" was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993 in his Washington, DC apartment. Had delivered a report to Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death .

19. Jon Parnell Walker - Whitewater investigator for Resolution Trust Corp. Jumped to his death from his Arlington, Virginia apartment balcony August 15, 1993. He was investigating the Morgan Guaranty scandal.

20. Barbara Wise - Commerce Department staffer. Worked closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised,
nude body was found locked in her office at the Department of Commerce.

21. Charles Meissner -Assistant Secretary of Commerce who gave John Huang special security clearance, died shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.

22. Dr. Stanley Heard - Chairman of the National Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee died with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane crash. Dr. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton's advisory council personally treated Clinton's mother, stepfather and brother.

23. Barry Seal -Drug running pilot out of Mena Arkansas, death was no accident.

24. Johnny Lawhorn Jr. - Mechanic, found a check made out to Bill Clinton in
the trunk of a car left at his repair shop. He was found dead after his car had hit a utility pole.

25. Stanley Huggins - Investigated Madison Guaranty. His death was a purported suicide and his report was never released.

26. Hershell Friday - Attorney and Clinton fundraiser died March 1, 1994 when his plane exploded.

27. Kevin Ives & Don Henry - Known as "The boys on the track" case. Reports say the boys may have stumbled upon the Mena Arkansas airport drug operation. A controversial case, the initial report of death said, due to falling asleep on railroad tracks. Later reports claim the 2 boys had been slain before being placed on the tracks. Many linked to the case died before their testimony could come before a Grand Jury.
THE FOLLOWING PERSONS HAD INFORMATION ON THE IVES/HENRY CASE:
28. Keith Coney - Died when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a truck, 7/88.

29. Keith McMaskle - Died stabbed 113 times, Nov, 1988
30. Gregory Collins - Died from a gunshot wound January 1989.

31. Jeff Rhodes - Was shot, mutilated and found burned in a trash dump
in April 1989.

33. James Milan - Found decapitated. However, the Coroner ruled his death was
due to "natural causes".

34. Jordan Kettleson - Was found shot to death in the front seat of his pickup truck in June 1990.

35. Richard Winters - A suspect in the Ives / Henry deaths. He was killed in
a set-up robbery July 1989.

THE FOLLOWING CLINTON BODYGUARDS ARE DEAD:

36. Major William S. Barkley Jr.

37. Captain Scott J . Reynolds

38. Sgt. Brian Hanley

39. Sgt. Tim Sabel

40. Maj or General William Robertson

41. Col. William Densberger

42. Col. Robert Kelly

43. Spec. Gary Rhodes

44. Steve Willis

45. Robert Williams

46. Conway LeBleu

47. Todd McKeehan

Quite an impressive list! Pass this on. Let the public become aware of what happens to friends of the Clintons

HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT?

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything that has been said, but would just like to add that perhaps Tavis is being cautious in coming out for Obama at this time. The need to put him "on blast", I agree is unfair since he does not do that for the others. Perhaps there is a little bit of posturing going on here. However, I am concerned about the Rezko case and just how involved in that Obama may be. Are the Clinton's pure as the driven snow, not at all. But people seem to have been quick to forget about her and Bill's dealings. If the Rezko case becomes front page news during the general, I don't know that people will be so quick to forgive. And that could be a problem.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous from Miami
I like your commentary and I would like to say that I think Black America needs to stop getting emotional and think. Does Black America think that if Obama wins and becomes President he is going to deal only with Black America and their issues?? I understand what Tavis is trying to do, which is put the candidates on the spot to answer some really important questions -- to find out where they are on real issues. All these debates so far are controlled by the media to pit Hillary against Obama and cause infighting and dissention within the Democratic party and not deal with the real problems facing our nation. None have pressed these candidates to give "AMERICA" ways in which they plan to solve the problems in America. They are all talking about what is wrong but no one is giving real solutions. Possibly Tavis' forum would force them to give solutions and stop dancing around the real issues this country is facing. America does not consist of only blacks. The job losses, loss of homes, poverty, hunger, and especially here in Florida, our education system is in the toilet -- these are issues facing everyone. The middle class is dying out and soon we will either be "rich" or "poor".

Stop hating on Tavis and creating problems where there are none -- which in turn takes away from what's important. Black America is never united. We hate on each other (yes I say we because I am black) and I am sick of all the self-righteous people.

If Black America wants to get on a band waggon -- get on JESUS' band waggon. We need to go back to the basics and get down on our knees and pray for this country, pray that the person who is elected will be guided by JESUS and by doing that he will do what is best for the masses.

Anonymous said...

The majority of Blacks have always voted for the favored "white" democratic candidate during the "primary elections" and the majority of Blacks have always voted for the chosen "white" democratic candidate in the "general election" - no questions asked from Tavis to make them accountable about what they are going to do for the Black Community. In fact, Tavis supported the former V.P. Al Gore during the 2000 election, and in my opinion, somewhat campaigned for him telling people - PARTICULARLY Blacks - that it was critical that they vote, because whomever won would have the opportunity to choose two-to-four supreme court justices - which potentially could hurt Blacks and poor if Gore didn't win. He didn't try to make Al Gore accountable for anything that I can remember. With that said, why can't we as Blacks vote for a "Black" candidate? Senator Barack Obama is smart, intelligent, eloquent, charismatic, ARTICULATE, and has served as a state senator in Illinois and is a senator in the U.S. Senate. I can see if the brotha' was as stupid as what we have in office now, but the point is he is not. If you look back at what he has done since his early twenties (and if you followed the many televised debates), you'll find that he has served as a "Civil Rights" attorney and he has helped poor Blacks and Latinos in Illinois. Please check out his web site at www.BarackObama.com to view what he has done - there's plenty to see of his accomplishments - and I for one believe he will do an excellent job as President. He won't do it all in the first four years because the current administration has made a complete mess and it will take him "EIGHT YEARS" to clean up most of that mess. If you gave the "white" candidates a chance, please give this brotha' a chance. He is not stupid and he will look out for everyone's interests - not just Blacks - but including Blacks.

I appreciate Tavis' "love" for Black people; however, in my opinion Tavis apparently thought he had a lot of power and influence in the Black community, and he does to some extent. However, since Senator Obama's rise - it appears that Tavis has some serious issues with him. He's wanting to make Senator Obama accountable for this or for that, but no one else.

Now during this last forum Tavis had on February 23, 2008, and as usual it was good, a lot of "rhetoric" going on; he says he wants to make folks accountable, yet, when Senator Clinton showed up the only question he asked her was about healthcare. Yes healthcare is important in our community, but he didn't ask her what her plan was for helping Black men incarcerated at a higher rate (for selling drugs - a nonviolent crime) than any other race; he didn't ask her what she would do with the drug use problem in our community or POVERTY or the growing number of AIDS among young Black women; and the one most important to me is that he didn't ask her about educating our kids, which in my opinion, is vitally important in our community. The better educated and prepared our children are, the morely likely they will be successful in life and the less likely to commit crimes, which would reduce and/or eliminate poverty. Senator Clinton was late coming, made a short speech and answered one question (maybe two) about the healthcare issue; then she left. How is showing up late, making a short speech and answering one-to-two question(s) making her accountable? I just don't understand Tavis' logic here. ...And then again, maybe I do.

Any Black person - in my opinion - should be happy to engage/embrace Senator Barack Obama. He is the perfect role model (growing up poor in a single parent home) to show our children that with a good education, hard work and persistence they can be anything in life that they want to be. If Pastor Dr. Martin Luther King were alive today - he would have definitely embraced Senator Obama because everything he worked hard and fought for would have come to light.

Black people, we need to come together, love one another, stop "hating" each other, helping each other, and supporting each other and our children. All other races support their own, except for ours it appears. We must embrace each other as a race, because if we don't we will always be behind in education, we will be poor and illiterate, and more likely to commit crimes, generally speaking.

One last point to make, people keep saying that Senator Obama is getting a lot of votes from folks making $75,000 or more. Do people actually believe that "ALL" Blacks in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and ones that voted for him in Tennessee makes more than $75,000 per year? Please give me a break; some of us do, but a lot of us do not. Millions of people of all backgrounds, and/or of all races, financial backgrounds, religions, etc. are voting for Senator Obama. Please stop the hate, stop listening to others, and do the research yourself.

Anonymous said...

Good point...unless Hillary was at Tavis' conference, or maybe, Huckabee, or even McCain...how about Nader?

Hmmm, sounds like you either get on the Barack train, or get left. At least it is a train that is going somewhere. I agree...we do ourselves a disservice when we hate on each other...Go Barack!

Anonymous said...

Who made Tavis Smiley a “Black Leader”???? Not me! I’m 69 years old and cannot recall him ever being elected to any office. Not even dogcatcher.

Mr. Smiley has raised some good issues on behalf of some in the “Black Community” and has a nice persona. I think he’s a pretty good hustler.

I thought he was a pretty good reporter and commentator, until he became a hater. Now I think he needs to get off his high horse, chill out and give brother Obama some love and encouragement.

That is probably what Martin would do. After all this election is part of what he was all about.

Anonymous said...

For clarification, I am not a Smiley fan. But is anyone who needs clarification from Mr. Obama a "hater"? I think it's fair to ask Mr. Obama for specifics on his strategy for change. Many African Americans will be sorely disappointed to find out that "President" Obama will have to compromise and make concessions (possibly at the expense of our collective hopes)just like all the others before him to lead the most powerful nation in the world. Godspeed to him.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Tavis you should help build up
senator Obama,instead of complaining that he didn't come to
address the issues, or questions
you wanted to pose. I think maybe you wish you were the one running for President of the United States.
We finally have a new leader, be
proud of him please!!!!

Anonymous said...

I think we should look more at the fact if he can't stand with us a people when he is just in the running. He will never stand up for us or with us if we elect him president. Don't elect him because he is black and as hope he need to be black and with a plan.

Anonymous said...

This is certainly from a black female's perspective--I think we all need to appreciate the complexity our race, that our reactions will not necessarily be in unison, then we will be more likely to be healthily skeptical in our evaluation of any person of color running for office. We will be less likely to take certain behavior for granted such as putting the concern of black people first. We will nitpick in the same way we would if it were non-black candidate.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the commentary and don't understand why Tavis has decided to display such a public dislike for another brother. I am fortunate enough to have paid to hear and read messages from Tavis and have walked away with momentary inspiration. I have heard and watched Barak since 2004 and have been continually inspired. Not only because what he has to say but because what he has done.

Barak has been fighting for the cause even when it wasn't popular or lucrative. If Tavis would take the time to read about Barak's legal and Civil Rights record to help the common folk when he was a vitualy unknown, he would understand why the "common folk" are supporting Barak.

I'm always amazed at how some blacks who have achieved certain success seem to feel they can't share the limelight or the podium with anyone else. I've actually run into alot of them in corporate america. They are the people who are so consumed with personal wealth that they quickly forget about the struggle that others have fought for them. They are also the ones who will give you a crumb but not a plate to help you feed your career because of the risk to them.

Barak's fight for civil rights in Chicago is more aligned with those who have fought for the struggle. Tavis talks about the struggle and what "we" need to do overcome the struggle but without the backing of a network and books would he be willing to risk it all for the struggle? I think not.

Tavis give the "common" man a chance to make a difference like many other commom men have done. Your success and promimence will remain in tact even after the election - so stop being a hater.

Anonymous said...

It seems that as black people we can only support one strong leader at a time. As soon as a new "potential" leader arrives on the scene, the Revs. Jackson, Sharpton, etc, and Tavis are no longer necessary.(WE EAT OUR OWN).
We should require our leaders whomever they may be, to always be willing to offer no less response to our fledgling efforts to become viable as a community, than any other group or entity.

I love, admire and respect Tavis Smiley's efforts to bring us together in unison for our common purposes. No President can do that.

May God bless his efforts and keep him motivated.

Anonymous said...

It seems that as black people we can only support one strong leader at a time. As soon as a new "potential" leader arrives on the scene, the Revs. Jackson, Sharpton, etc, and Tavis are no longer necessary.(WE EAT OUR OWN).
We should require our leaders whomever they may be, to always be willing to offer no less response to our fledgling efforts to become viable as a community, than any other group or entity.

I love, admire and respect Tavis Smiley's efforts to bring us together in unison for our common purposes. No President can do that.

May God bless his efforts and keep him motivated.

Anonymous said...

It seems that as black people we can only support one strong leader at a time. As soon as a new "potential" leader arrives on the scene, the Revs. Jackson, Sharpton, etc, and Tavis are no longer necessary.(WE EAT OUR OWN).
We should require our leaders whomever they may be, to always be willing to offer no less response to our fledgling efforts to become viable as a community, than any other group or entity.

I love, admire and respect Tavis Smiley's efforts to bring us together in unison for our common purposes. No President can do that.

May God bless his efforts and keep him motivated.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tavis,
No Bitch-Ass-Ness!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the comments that have been made about Tavis's negative opinion against Obama. I used to be a dedicated listener to the Tavis Smiley commentary until the morning that Tavis went so over board about Obama not responding to request to make an appearance at the State of the Black Union. Like some of the other comments, Obama is very busy trying to win the Democratic nomination. I recall seeing
Tavis interviewing Hilary during the State of the Black Union, but for the life of me I can't remember one significant point Senator Clinton made with regards to the needs of Black America. So, are we just supposed to vote for her because she showed up? I agree, Tavis is being a bit sophomoric in his attitude toward Obama. Quite frankly, I don't know what Tavis is so mad about. Every member of this community has a purpose and a job. He has been effective in making some positive moves in regards to black issues, but he is mostly talk. Problems can't be solved on commentaries and forums of intellectuals gathered together once a year to try and out smart each other. I suggest we just get Dick Gregory to speak next year. That brother keeps it real. In conclusion, It's hard for me to believe Tavis would think he could ever run or even win a race for President of the United States. Does he think he has been making the necessary moves to position himself for that job?

Anonymous said...

Wake up people!!! Tavis is a Clinton supporter. Obviously Tavis could not come out and directly support Hillary, because he knew he would take a lot of flack from his core audience. So he had to be inconspicuous. It's not about Tavis's ego as must as it is about him being a big Clinton supporter. Tavis is among those black folks who think that the Clintons have done so much for black people. He has unwavering loyality. Him and his sidekick.....what's his name? Oh yes.....Cornel West. They tacitly support the Clintons. Unfortunely for Tavis, I wasn't fooled. What about you?

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of the attacks on Tavis for doing his job.

I can not believe how fickle we as black people are. Tavis Smiley has done a lot for the community throughout his career. He has always spoke his mind, thought independently and encouraged us all to do the same.

Last year, Tavis challenged us to hold each candidate to the same standard... to not let anyone take our vote for granted. That means Hillary shouldn't get a pass because she is Bill's wife, McCain shouldn't get a pass because he is a former POW and Obama shouldn't get a pass because he is black. Period.

As for Obama not going to Tavis' State of the Black Union, if Hillary had not shown up and Obama had, we would've all been talking about how Hillary must not care about us or our issues. But since it was Obama who didn't show up, we're willing to make excuses for him.

The same is true for when he didn't show up in Memphis for the 40th anniversity of Dr. King's assassination. I fully understand they were both political decisions, and that's sometimes necessary in a political campaign. But don't then try and run on a platform of not operating "politics as usual". As a black man in America, attending the ceremonies in Memphis should've been a decision based on principle not politics. I can not imagine another ethnic group standing for a similar situation.

Rather than attacking Tavis, we should be asking ourselves why we are so quick to give Obama a pass.

Theo the Thinker said...

You are right on the money. Tavis is a great guy, but he is not as sharp or as quick witted as Obama. What confounds Tavis and the Reverends is the fact that Obama didn't come from the same farm team as them. Obama is an outsider from the Civil Rights usual- suspects list. And this is quite refreshing.

Tavis is competent, but quite pedestrian. No one could ever mistake him for being brilliant. He's kind of smart, has a good heart and means well, but brilliant or exceptionally gifted, he is not.

Barack Obama is in another league and Tavis cannot accept that.

Anonymous said...

BLACK AMERCANS HAVE BEEN DISENFRANCHISED SO LONG THEY DONT SEE THE BIGGER PRIZE. BILL CLINTON W/HIS BEST FRIEND JORDAN WAS GOOD FOR BLACKS AND AMERICA BACK THEN. PEOPLE FORGET. HIS WIFE HAS THE SAME IDEAS LIKE U WOULD SHARE AT YOUR DINNER TABLE WITH YOUR SPOUSE. TOM JOYNER PUT IT OUT THERE AND ITS A EXCELLENT IDEA EVEN THOUGH I THOUGHT OF IT FIRST.YES, 16 YEARS OF DEMOCRATS. OBAMA FOR VP FOR THE FIRST EIGHT AND ANOTHER 8 YEARS AS PRESIDENT. MOST OF YOU WONT GET IT BECAUSE LIKE THE YOUNG CALF THAT WANTS TO RUN DOWN THE HILL AND GET JUST ONE MATE LISTEN TO THE OLD BULL AND TAKE YOUR TIME AND WALK DOWN AND GET THEM ALL. YOU ONLY WILL GET THIS ONE SHOT AND IT TOO SHALL PASS.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your commentary. If Blacks don't believe that you are beholden to a different set of standards once you ascend financially and professionally, well, we really have not learned another lesson that history, at least in this country, provides.

What would be so wrong about Mrs. Obama attending? Pride, I think.

She's being hung out to dry on recent newspaper blogs, being called any and everything from bull dog to elitist. Why there were even some that compared her husband to Hitler.

I'm sorry, but if I make it to heaven I'll want an explanation before entering.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my God! The way some people think,I could declare that schizo-phrenia is alive and thriving among the posters. Look at Barack Obama - he never did say he was running as a black candidate, he wanted to be a President for every-body, which is what will happen should he get elected. However, for African-Americans to have such well-defined issues separate and apart from the browns who have come from other countries here, I find it a little strange that Barack got his campaign defined by all of the African-Americans who ran out and voted for him because they saw him as a black man, and not the way he views himself. He is careful to describe himself as the son of a white woman and an African man (whom he hardly knew).
The white people who vote for him do not see him as a typical black man, either. Let's say if James Clyburn were running for Presi-dent, how do you think he would fare among that same constituency?

He cannot lump African-Americans in a melting pot of other Americans with the issues non-African-Americans have. Number one, if you are born caucasian, you are already ready to move to the head of the class, and with any luck, you will become the "teacher," often at the expense of the African-Americans.

I personally believe Barack Obama is full of meaningless rhetoric, and I am not sure if he even knows what definition the "change" he would probably bring, if he becomes the elected President.

To clarify how the race card came into play in South Carolina, there were some memos sent to the Clinton Campaign describing how the staffers would play the race card on Hillary and her campaign.

There is a scripture in Isaiah 55"11 which says, "And so the word that go out of my mouth will accomplish that for which I purpose it, and it will not return to me void." Well, he did not want to be described as the African-American candidate, but he has been cornered by such a huge African-American turn-out in most places. Many of those who voted for him were waiting for their "turn in the barrel," so they did not question what the change and hope was about from him, they simply filled in the blanks with their personal wants and desires and got the warm fuzzy feelings that accompanied their support. In other words, they might have a pig in the poke, so to speak.

Now, he is on the brink of reasonably becoming the candidate of the Democratic Party, and if he does not make some quick movement to solve the racial divide we have in this country, the larger white vote will probably go to McCain, or they will simply stay at home, and we will be stuck with more Bush-like policies for another 4 years.

While everybody is beating up on Hillary, they had better reconsider. She might be his best ally to line up that vote for the party ticket, even if she does not believe in him. Franky, I don't believe in him either. He is weak; there is a difference between meekness and weakness! He tries to make himself appear as another Socrates or the like - hate politicians in D.C., yet he is really more of the same.

When I heard him at his first debate, it went thusly: "You know what I know, and I know what you know, and what I know is...." My gut knotted up (where the Wisdom center is in the body), and I thought to myself, "Well, he is just another b'sing lawyer - waiting for some idea to roll to the forefront of his mind." I ought to know about Lawyers - I worked for a law office for 12 years, and worked heavily with lawyers for another 9, and the only thing that defines lawyers as separate characters from criminals is the Supreme Court of their states requiring them to be a notch more legal than the crimi-nals they represent. I never recovered from that Wisdom center message to me from the first debate. Then, when Michelle Obama told someone on television in an interview that, "He is not all that!" I figured his wife ought to know.

At any rate, I believe a presi-dency by Obama will be a disaster.
As I said in another post, Obama has lambasted all the Washington Senators and Representatives, and now if he is elected as President, he will be as a man who seats himself on the end of a limb, and proceeds to saw the limb off at the trunk of the tree.

What an ego. In the Bible, the name Pharoah is the metaphysical meaning of the hardened ego sitting in the place of the Christ in man's soul. This I see is Obama's ego, parading itself as a meek and humble person, above the fray, yet he knowingly allowed his staffers to interject race into run between him and Hillary, thereby influencing the African-American minions to give the outcry and accusation of bigotry of Bill Clinton. My, how soon do we forget, or did George Bush play such a number on your heads that you can't remember anything but the present experiences and an apparent black face running for the office. Maybe he became the personification of a better tomorrow - even apathetic African-Americans who claimed before that their votes would not count and did not vote turned out in many places.

This might be the best lesson for all of us of the African-American identity. If John McCain becomes President because of the racial divide in the votes - maybe we should form another and separate political party. It would be up to politicians to tailor their programs to address our needs, which are separate from the "huddled masses."

I support Tavis Smiley, but would explain to him again that the problem is, the State of the Black Union is a separate agenda from that on which Barack Obama beli-eves he belongs - he represents all Americans. He was raised by his white grandparents, and I honestly believe they could not possibly make him consciously aware of his African-American heritage the way most of the rest of us are.

As James Allen said in "The Thinker."

"Mind is the master-power that molds and makes,

And man is mind, ever more he takes,

The tools of thought, and shaping what he wills,

Brings forth a thousand joys or a thousand ills.

He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass,

Environment is but a looking glass."

Bible Teacher in S.C.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my God! The way some people think,I could declare that schizo-phrenia is alive and thriving among the posters. Look at Barack Obama - he never did say he was running as a black candidate, he wanted to be a President for every-body, which is what will happen should he get elected. However, for African-Americans to have such well-defined issues separate and apart from the browns who have come from other countries here, I find it a little strange that Barack got his campaign defined by all of the African-Americans who ran out and voted for him because they saw him as a black man, and not the way he views himself. He is careful to describe himself as the son of a white woman and an African man (whom he hardly knew).
The white people who vote for him do not see him as a typical black man, either. Let's say if James Clyburn were running for Presi-dent, how do you think he would fare among that same constituency?

He cannot lump African-Americans in a melting pot of other Americans with the issues non-African-Americans have. Number one, if you are born caucasian, you are already ready to move to the head of the class, and with any luck, you will become the "teacher," often at the expense of the African-Americans.

I personally believe Barack Obama is full of meaningless rhetoric, and I am not sure if he even knows what definition the "change" he would probably bring, if he becomes the elected President.

To clarify how the race card came into play in South Carolina, there were some memos sent to the Clinton Campaign describing how the staffers would play the race card on Hillary and her campaign.

There is a scripture in Isaiah 55"11 which says, "And so the word that go out of my mouth will accomplish that for which I purpose it, and it will not return to me void." Well, he did not want to be described as the African-American candidate, but he has been cornered by such a huge African-American turn-out in most places. Many of those who voted for him were waiting for their "turn in the barrel," so they did not question what the change and hope was about from him, they simply filled in the blanks with their personal wants and desires and got the warm fuzzy feelings that accompanied their support. In other words, they might have a pig in the poke, so to speak.

Now, he is on the brink of reasonably becoming the candidate of the Democratic Party, and if he does not make some quick movement to solve the racial divide we have in this country, the larger white vote will probably go to McCain, or they will simply stay at home, and we will be stuck with more Bush-like policies for another 4 years.

While everybody is beating up on Hillary, they had better reconsider. She might be his best ally to line up that vote for the party ticket, even if she does not believe in him. Franky, I don't believe in him either. He is weak; there is a difference between meekness and weakness! He tries to make himself appear as another Socrates or the like - hate politicians in D.C., yet he is really more of the same.

When I heard him at his first debate, it went thusly: "You know what I know, and I know what you know, and what I know is...." My gut knotted up (where the Wisdom center is in the body), and I thought to myself, "Well, he is just another b'sing lawyer - waiting for some idea to roll to the forefront of his mind." I ought to know about Lawyers - I worked for a law office for 12 years, and worked heavily with lawyers for another 9, and the only thing that defines lawyers as separate characters from criminals is the Supreme Court of their states requiring them to be a notch more legal than the crimi-nals they represent. I never recovered from that Wisdom center message to me from the first debate. Then, when Michelle Obama told someone on television in an interview that, "He is not all that!" I figured his wife ought to know.

At any rate, I believe a presi-dency by Obama will be a disaster.
As I said in another post, Obama has lambasted all the Washington Senators and Representatives, and now if he is elected as President, he will be as a man who seats himself on the end of a limb, and proceeds to saw the limb off at the trunk of the tree.

What an ego. In the Bible, the name Pharoah is the metaphysical meaning of the hardened ego sitting in the place of the Christ in man's soul. This I see is Obama's ego, parading itself as a meek and humble person, above the fray, yet he knowingly allowed his staffers to interject race into run between him and Hillary, thereby influencing the African-American minions to give the outcry and accusation of bigotry of Bill Clinton. My, how soon do we forget, or did George Bush play such a number on your heads that you can't remember anything but the present experiences and an apparent black face running for the office. Maybe he became the personification of a better tomorrow - even apathetic African-Americans who claimed before that their votes would not count and did not vote turned out in many places.

This might be the best lesson for all of us of the African-American identity. If John McCain becomes President because of the racial divide in the votes - maybe we should form another and separate political party. It would be up to politicians to tailor their programs to address our needs, which are separate from the "huddled masses."

I support Tavis Smiley, but would explain to him again that the problem is, the State of the Black Union is a separate agenda from that on which Barack Obama beli-eves he belongs - he represents all Americans. He was raised by his white grandparents, and I honestly believe they could not possibly make him consciously aware of his African-American heritage the way most of the rest of us are.

As James Allen said in "The Thinker."

"Mind is the master-power that molds and makes,

And man is mind, ever more he takes,

The tools of thought, and shaping what he wills,

Brings forth a thousand joys or a thousand ills.

He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass,

Environment is but a looking glass."

Bible Teacher in S.C.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh goodness meeeeee. You guys even play the race card against each other! As someone correctly said here, you eat your own! You pontificate against a fellow black man, on grounds he is not behaving black enough to suit YOU, while accusing him of not thinking Obama is black enough to attend the black convention. Absurd is an appropriate word. Tempest in a teacup or much ado about nothing comes to mind. For all of you, remember that Obama is only half-black! You have united behind Tavis as long as he behaved as you think he should. Imagine how you and other fully-black people will rise up against Obama, when he doesn't do what you think a black man should do. Do your mathematics professor. Half-black is only 50% black. You reek of jealousy for both Tavis AND Obama. Rethink your community values and don't eat your own.

Anonymous said...

Trés Cool !

(go obama!)

typical white guy,

kevin

Anonymous said...

White men talking about white men. That is what Your White Brothers is all about. Whatever affects you as an White-American male is fair game for this blog. White men discuss everything from white sports, to white health, politics, religion and everything else. Brothers unite and talk it out...that's what we do here.

Sure... Heil!

Blacksonville Community Network said...

Tavis has somewhat rendered himself insignificant for not recognizing his own potential to help CHANGE the economic and political landscape of America. His efforts will not go in vain, but his platform has been seriously shaken. Black America needs to explore alternatives for new leadership that understands the Power and Impact we have when we make Collective Efforts to support, endorse and help one another.

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