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Did Barack Obama Just Diss Tavis Smiley?!?

Xenophon's picture

Dear Senator Obama,

Will you meet the “folk” in New Orleans?

"See my website" is not an acceptable answer. Tavis asked you a question. Don’t. Please don’t ever disrespect that brother like that again.

Allow me to explain. To those of you not familiar with the Tom Joyner Morning Show (be warned these are the most commercial, "captive audience" sites, I've ever seen. If you want to see what black digital media is like, how paternalistic, monopolistic and exploitative media can be go here. It's a nightmare.) or Tavis Smiley they are, to those of us in the black community, not all but enough, the soapbox orators and agitators of the community. They beat the drum and rally the troops around the issues that are relevant to the African American community. Before Senator Obama knew there was a Harold’s chicken shack, or a p-stone, or a Blackstone or a Kenwood, they were there. So when asked whether or not he would call Tavis Smiley regarding a slight misunderstanding, he sarcastically replied that he had nothing better to do. Incredibly bad form. You don’t disrespect those who are beloved in the community, who have earned their affection through YEARS of SERVICE and CONTRIBUTION. Why won’t you address the issues in the covenant PUBLICLY?

You see, the covenant with black America is an important political document. It was established four years ago and its purpose was to set an agenda, a platform, an instrument, a measure against which African Americans and Americans who are conscious and sensitive about issues of social justice and the welfare of this nation we call America, could hold accountable the electorate and the candidates to an agenda that addresses the changes that we as a nation feel are necessary to prosper.

There was a display of a bit of bad manners from the distinguished gentleman from Illinois. While he was out running he forgot to confirm his attendance at the State of the Black Union in New Orleans Louisiana. Here we will discuss and invite ALL presidential candidates to discuss their position on the critical issues in the black community that often go unnoticed in the other caucuses and primaries.

Mr. Obama! Have you confirmed your attendance in New Orleans? Black America set this agenda four years ago. Have we been lost in a political beauty contest, in Cosby show fantasies of the middle class? Why are the issues of social, justice, poverty, corporate occupation and exploitation, police brutality, and the situation of destabilization in Africa not important?
February 22 and 23 in New Orleans there will be a conference addressing the state of the Black Union. The difference between personality and process has all but been lost. Obama has exploited the love affair with America to cloud the difference between symbolism and substance, short circuiting the process of accountability. A flashy smile and rhythmic speeches are not the same as conscious policy decisions addressing the reality of Black America. The hype surrounding the possibility of history has blinded many to the reality of the political process. The wounded egos of the masses have projected onto Obama a white washed chimera of America. They perpetuate, through him, the myth of race transcendence. Obama may represent the promise of an eventual transcendence of race but we are not there yet. We have not yet accomplished what we set out to accomplish with the first of the State of Black America conferences. This is an important event. It is critical first, to the state of Black Americans, and second, to the welfare of the nation. SENATOR OBAMA will you be there in New Orleans?

Go ahead Tavis Keep the Faith!!

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Glad somebody else said that, but yes indeedy. Now that Barak has got his sights set on a clean hands, fancy dress job up in the big white house, did you really think he would still want to sit down down with the field hands and dig around in the dirt?

The man's movin' on up, step out the way.

[nice post, X]

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

Thank you.

I had no illusions. I think I was in the leading charge of the Obama realist camp. But, my point is I don;t care who you are. Tavis is important to us. i don't always agree with him. But you can't just dismiss him. And most certainly you don't disrepsect him. If I hear another see my website statement ... Ahhh!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

is the Western expression of the honor code for loyalty, but I'm thinking that Barak's loyalties are actually elsewhere and not with thee and me or anybody else who has struggled.

Maybe we're wrong, maybe he's just doing what he has to do to pass for white and play the game and he'll be what all his followers are projecting; if it turns out so I'll apologize and join the club. If not, there are going to be some seriously angry folks out there, and I really wouldn't want to be him.

Submitted by BDB (not verified) on

Tavis Smiley just isn't likable enough.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

what we do here. two eduhmacated black folk. some intellectual commenters both pro and anti. some guest posters for and against. lots and lots of substantive links supporting why we say what we do. acceptance and openness for those who disagree. opportunity for all to hash out the specifics.

but no. we're "too extreme." we're racists, hateful, shrill, and covered in foil. we're not with "the program," we're missing "the beat" of the heart of the voters (and is that so wrong? 2004, cough).

i think what i want to say to obama supporters is two fold:

1- ignoring my questions is never a good way to get me to believe in your guy. edwards is flawed, i can and have said that many times. i've also blogged many times on why he should've been the progressive choice. in the "good, but not best, yet the best we'll do this time around" kind of sense. why is it so hard for you all to do the same, with links and policy instead of context free clips from speeches and WORM?

2- is anyone else reminded of the spin-up to our various wars? after 911, before the invasion/bombing of afghanistan, before the invasion/occupation of iraq..."reasonable" liberals kept telling me, "don't think! Feel!" feel my love for America Attacked, feel the need to "defend her," feel the need to "stand up for women" in afghanistan, feel the need to bring "PITME with this once in a lifetime opportunity," feel bad about a gaseous dictator who had WMDs, feel confident that "kerry can't lose," feel good about H&N, because "100 hours will change everything!"

please stop telling me to not think and not ask questions. that's really all i'm asking from the OFB. Because i know where such behavior leads me, and all of us. i say to you in response: projection is evil. personally, as well as politically. if you haven't learned this yet, you will. when it's biting you on the ass as your hero fails you.

the bibble has some choice quotes on "not placing your faith in mortal men" or somesuch, iirc. how often i'm tempted to look them up and use them, these days.

Submitted by GE (not verified) on

Where was Tavis when the Clinton's pissed on Dr. King? I'm a big fan of Tavis but I'm starting to lose a lot of respect for him!

Submitted by Nicole (not verified) on

Tavis is a mess and a joke. If someone doesn't want to attend his junk, why whine like a baby and say he'll bad mouth them. That is unprofessional. But he isn't a professional he's a failed wanna be politician. Is he mad because he had political aspirations and the peak of his career was BET?

It's sickening that people like Tavis try to keep black people needing a leader who'll promise a hand out.

Whatever became of the republicans who refused to come to his debate in Baltimore? Oh they were the frontrunners

Submitted by maryland girl (not verified) on

Common ya'll. This is ridiculous. Barack Obama has met with Tavis on several occassions and they have a relationship---stop trying to add fuel and infighting to something that simply isn't and shouldn't be our focus. We should focus on getting Barack into the White House..something that clearly is starting to take shape and become a real possibility. So, what would you do if you were Barack? Go to the state of the union to discuss Black America 2 DAYS before one of the most important primary for his candidacy, OR put forth everything you can to WIN the primary???

Get off of it. Let's get our priorities straight.

Stop! Stop! Stop!

Submitted by coward? who! you? (not verified) on

today i heard tavis speak on what it means to be a free black man or black woman in america. he gave an excellent description and characterization of this model of a person. but when i discovered that this was nothing more than an attempt to discredit a man and his presidential platform it sickened me. for years i too have loved smiley for his free verse. should i not love barack for his? unfortunately, or is it fortunately, barack is not running for the black presidency. he is running for president of the united states and he has done more uniting of the races than any candidate in or lifetime. all problems will not be solved. all promises will not be kept. fact of life. live with it. grow from it. move on. this is potentially a huge step. don't be a coward.

Submitted by lambert on

Nicole writes:

It’s sickening that people like Tavis try to keep black people needing a leader who’ll promise a hand out.

The words are there, but as I read, I understand them less and less.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by anon (not verified) on

The AKA discussion?

Seriously, we can go days without reading any negro patois up in here, and suddenly brothers and sistas are reading this blog and posting?

Three words:
Rapid. Response. Team.

If I saw any of these handles on Corrente before, I wouldn't have this suspicion. But then again, people can change their ways...

One other question. Why the hits on Tavis? He's one of the two main black broadcasters with enough of an audience to matter. Why not answer Chicago Dyke's reasonable questions, instead of yet again indulging in character assassination? A point to ponder....

[cgeye]

Submitted by anon (not verified) on

"It’s sickening that people like Tavis try to keep black people needing a leader who’ll promise a hand out."

So people not like Tavis should try to keep black people needing a leader who won't give them a damn thing but promises and empty rhetoric.

Took me a moment, but I think it translated well from faux-Negro Republican troll...

[cgeye]

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

and yeah, what with the current lack of modern technology it would have been way too much to get a video conference hookup from wherever Barak is campaigning and give an hour of time to a conference that's been scheduled for a year.

What it is, this gains BHO nothing in his view - already got 80%+ of the black vote so not much upside - and takes some effort so not happening. But really, he cares, really he does. Faith Hope Trust America Unity Yes We Can.

Submitted by Michele (not verified) on

I am appalled to hear of Tavis' 'ultimatum' to Obama. There are roles to be filled within the black community. Jesse, Al and Tavis are all important activists who are certainly needed to help address injustices against our people. BUT, we also need folks inside 'the suite' to work on our behalf. A President of the United States cannot be just pro-black. He has to be pro-American. As long as he is not promoting policies that are discriminatory (like Bush) and he is open to concerns of our people (and others) I say give him a chance. The man is brilliant. Tavis, no disrespect, but you need to back off on this one and let Barack do his thing. It is obvious that you are looking for a reason to discount Obama and it's really becoming counterproductive at this point. Don't sleep--the Clintons only 'loved' black folk because they needed our votes to win.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

Two good observations:

...is anyone else reminded of the spin-up to our various wars? after 911, before the invasion/bombing of afghanistan, before the invasion/occupation of iraq…”reasonable” liberals kept telling me, “don’t think! Feel!” feel my love for America Attacked, feel the need to “defend her,” feel the need to “stand up for women” in afghanistan, feel the need to bring “PITME with this once in a lifetime opportunity,” feel bad about a gaseous dictator who had WMDs, feel confident that “kerry can’t lose,” feel good about H&N, because “100 hours will change everything!”

and

Three words:
Rapid. Response. Team.

Some if not most of the irate newcomer posters are real. Chances are some are not. Be aware.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Go to the state of the union to discuss Black America 2 DAYS before one of the most important primary for his candidacy, OR put forth everything you can to WIN the primary???

First off, I don't know what calendar you're looking at, but there are primaries on February 19, then Texas, Ohio, RI, and Vermont go on March 4. Smiley's get together is on Feb 22 and 23... so unless someone has acheduled a big primary that I don't know about, you really need to get a grip.

http://uspolitics.about.com/od/2008elect...

More importantly, it has been the near unanimous support of black voters that has not only made Obama the front runner, but has kept him from being an also-ran. If Obama can't take a day out of his campaign to honor those people, and discuss their issues (you know -- the issues that he'd promised John Edwards that he would make a priority) then why is there any reason to believe that he'll follow through on any of his campaign promises if elected?

Submitted by lambert on

Just as in the run-up to the Iraq war.

The role of Cassandra is never pleasant to play.

And there is no money in it at all.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by lambert on

... is dispostive.

No travel time. The technology exists. What would be the problem?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by Graduate (not verified) on

Did Barack just diss Tavis Smiley, or has Tavis been dissing Barack. We as a people need to stop rallying behind a person and moreso look at the issues. Clearly the person who wrote this blog is infatuated with Tavis and not obama. We shouldn't be infatuated with either, we should look to the issues. We should listen to the tom joyner interview, stop trying to mkae obama the "black president" you can't win america when you are only catering towards one group. Tavis Smiley is great and I am glad that you speak of the covenant but are you aware that most of black america is not even aware of this covenant. We should ask for this state of black america to really speak to black america and not just the educated folks who attend these events.

Lets move ahead as a people, lets stop being infatuated with black leadership and become involved in the political process to create change within our communities,

Submitted by cg.eye on

... speak for themselves. Oh, whom am I kiddin'?

"But he isn’t a professional he’s a failed wanna be politician. Is he mad because he had political aspirations and the peak of his career was BET?"

Oh, that sounds familiar. First they came for Tom Joyner, then they came for Tavis Smiley. When will they come for Oprah -- when she does the cost/benefit analysis on her investment, as the tax hammer comes down on foreign investments? Gifts made through talk shows?

"BUT, we also need folks inside ’the suite’ to work on our behalf. A President of the United States cannot be just pro-black. He has to be pro-American."

Gee, and I thought blacks were Americans, all this time. Even half-Kenyans raised in Hawaii and Indonesia for their formative years.

"We should listen to the tom joyner interview, stop trying to mkae obama the “black president” you can’t win america when you are only catering towards one group."

Man, and I was hoping to put up my big feets up on the Oval Office furniture, once the "black president" was elected. Stupid, privileged, thoughtlessly wealthy white people get to put their feets up, can't a body get a break?

And these memes --
-- stop trying to mkae obama the “black president” you can’t win america when you are only catering towards one group."
--“It’s sickening that people like Tavis try to keep black people needing a leader who’ll promise a hand out.”
--A President of the United States cannot be just pro-black. He has to be pro-American.

-- just keep on coming, like acid rain on baking soda clay. When Italian Americans ask for Columbus Day to be unsullied with any colonial criticism, the state obliges with the po-po and injunctions and arrested, pissed-off Native Americans. When any white ethnic group wants things to be left be (remember the contretemps over the Armenian genocide resolutions, anyone?), they get left be. But when black Americans ask for anything that's economically meaningful, it's as if they have rifles in one hand, white wimmen in the other, and a bottle of VO in their teeth.

Now, when we could get what's needed in this country, this is the time to shut up -- during the primary phase, the only time politicians have to pretend to give a damn. Fuck. No.

Folks, forget this foolish oppo. SPEAK LOUDER. Make every candidate work for your vote. Even Tavi and Tom. Sing out, Louise!

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

we must be doing something right.

of course, i don't listen to radio anymore, so i am worthless in terms on having an opinion about tavis v obama. i will say this: elevating such "controversies" is a signature feature of the SCLM and republican party.

bdub's picture
Submitted by bdub on

Tavis Smiley should be thanked for what he has done and is doing for the African American community. However he and anyone else is wrong to criticize Barack Obama for not attending the upcoming summit. At this point in the campaign Obama needs to spend his time speaking to every voter not just our vote.

Some say he is forgetting who has giving him the most support, I don't believe he has forgotten, he just knows that in order to make it to the next phase, he has to also court other voters.

Do you really think Hillary would be coming to the summit if she wasn't so far behind with the black vote?

The time to hold someone accountable is not before they get elected but after the are in office. How many of us would tell a potential employer what ever we thought they wanted to hear to get the job?

So instead of judging someone on the events they attend, we should be deciding on who is most likely to do the most for our community AFTER they are elected.

Crabs in a Barrel's picture
Submitted by Crabs in a Barrel on

I have two words FUCK TAVIS goofy, self serving, arrogant ass. This man is involved with the fight of his life for the presidency of the UNITED STATES. not Black States. I don't know if Tavis got the memo but Hillary is currently leading in Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania where the Governor said that his white folks won't vote for a black. Hillary has nothing to lose, she is not getting any black votes currently and as I said, she is leading in the polls for those states. This can only help her. Taking Barack off the trail would be dumb as hell. Also Barack is black. He runs the risk of being compared to Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson.This will only lose him votes. Hillary knows this that's why Bill tried it after SC. This type of behavior benefits nobody. Tavis says it's all about us, but puts him on blast because he doesn't kiss his ring. Fuck Tavis and Fuck whoever created this title. It was only created to add gas to flames.

Submitted by lambert on

That's not taking Obama "off the trail."

I bet the Obama campaign has him recording videos for countless small town markets right now. All they have to do is clear an hour on his schedule from that.

Crabs in a barrel, let me ask, since you brought up the matter of race: Is "America" (A-merry-ca) ready for a black president? Or is that the wrong way to frame the question? As my sig implies, I am, but is "America"?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

Some say he is forgetting who has giving him the most support, I don’t believe he has forgotten, he just knows

you're so sure of this, are you? he told you? i'm curious what makes you so sure. you're essentially saying, "don't trust what you see now, just believe he'll be different in the future."

a campaign can be anywhere for an hour. that's what they spend all that money on: travel. he could cheap-trip it to NOLA for 1/4 of his day, and save time and money by not taking his full entourage. it would be a fairly simple matter. let me promise you: if a campaign donor group wanted to meet with him for 1/4 of a day to negotiate giving him 00000s of dollars, he'd fly to Timbuktu to meet with them.

Submitted by lambert on

You got it, CD.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

jjmom's picture
Submitted by jjmom on

When I look at Barak originally he was not my first choice for president because I feared that he would be unable to secure the white vote. I thought he was a block vote as so many before him. I believed that Hillary Clinton would be the only candidate who could beat the Republicans because of the success that Bill has had. But as I listen to all of the political analyst I realize that Barak is the better choice. If you notice they refer to him as Obama yet they call her Hillary. As I have listened to countless numbers of his speeches ultimately it revolves around the same agenda and that is to reunite this country as a whole. If you look at all the polls he is now winning women and white men which is somewhere he lagged in the opening polls. Which means he has to practice what he preaches and unfortunately that means that he cannot openly chose one race over another. I repeat openly choose. Many of us have white friends but at the end of the day you are African American and black always take care of black. I believe Obama is hope for America and how dare anyone try to discredit his character. I like Tavis but I believe he is really taking this too personal. I believe Barak Obama will do what no other American President has done and that is be fare to Black America.

Crabs in a Barrel's picture
Submitted by Crabs in a Barrel on

This is why black people don't have shit now. The mentality that they think somebody owe us. You have to kiss the ring and bow down to the black guard or you will not be accepted. Peep this. FUCK the SOTBU event. That's right I said fuck that event. It is nothing but a place to pontificate (look it up) and where blacks go to whine and cry on how they are being treated unfairly. It's time to turn the page dammit. Please someone tell me 1 thing this event has done for the black community. We talk about social ills, don't do anything about it, and then have another meeting the following year. This is laughable if you think about. This man doesn't need to waste 1 second of his time with that event. The only reason Coon Tavis was pushing it is so that he could gain some credibility. If you think Barack has to prove he is a brother to you, then fuck you too. He don't have to talk about the struggle. He been in the struggle his whole life. now he has grown up. Some of you people need to do the same. To think you would have him risk his presidency to kiss our ass and prove he black enough. I'm ashamed to be in the same race as some of you idiots.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

just curious, it's so hard to tell these days on the intertubes. lovely rant. you had a good point in there, and then you buried it under unnecessary insult and pointless vulgarity and distraction, and made your candidate look bad in the process. i'm sure you changed a lot of minds. good job, bro.

perhaps it occurs to some, that on "lesser" issues like FISA and NOLA, the "superstar" figures of our celebrity culture are the ones to give events "meaning?" obama has media stardom right now, it hardly matters where he is, he'll be covered, locals will hear of him. think of what a difference he could make as such a worthless, for-show event- perhaps even turn it into something that actually helps NOLA's poor. that would be "real leadership" that appeals to more than just black folk.

Crabs in a Barrel's picture
Submitted by Crabs in a Barrel on

I believe he is acting like a Coon, Uncle Tom, whatever vernacular you would choose meaning he is doing a dis-service to his race. We are all adults I thought. Apologies to any kids in this grown-up convo. Tavis getting there standing on a Soap Box? How is that gonna help NOLA's poor??? are you kidding?? He and other so called activists had years to try and make some changes down there, but as soon as the press went away so did they? I followed Mr. Smiley (up until this point anyway) I can't name 1 thing he has said or done to help the people down there. I'm not saying this guy is no pro-black I guess, but I do think he was dead wrong. Obama is no place to lend any help to anything, but his campaign. 110% of his focus should be there. I will reiterate, I don't understand some of you people.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

way to give yourself away, friend.

anyway, you completely missed the point. so thanks for commenting. feel free to comment again, and never worry about harsh language. it makes it easier for us to know who is who.

Submitted by lambert on

[One of these days my snarkiness is going to get me in even deeper trouble, so I'll resist the obvious saluation....]

C.I.A.B.:

I see the argument on "110% of his focus," but this also reminds me powerfully of the FISA discussion. I really believe that Obama had the potential to be a game-changer not only on the FISA issue, but on his own campaign, by using the Senate floor as a bully pulpit. The man could have schooled the entire nation. He chose not to. It would have been the right thing to do, and the smart thing to do. I believe it would have helped his campaign.

The disconnect I'm struggling with here is that one the one hand, we're told Transformative! Change! Hope! Yet on the FISA issue -- which for many of us in the progressive community is just huge -- there's no transformation, no change, and, unfortunately, no hope. Now, again, maybe he just doesn't want my vote. But it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland: Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, but never jam today.

And so with the Tavis Smiley thing. If Obama truly is the transformative, changeful, hopeful candidate that believe or hope that he is, why not take the opportunity and change the game with it?

Or -- as I keep repeating, to deafening silence -- why not do a video appearance? Is the argument that Obama can't even spare one half hour to throw a crumb?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

jdredman's picture
Submitted by jdredman on

Before we travel any further down this road of “substantive commentary”, please remember something: Barack Obama has to be perfect! Good is not good enough and great will earn a distant 3rd place in this three horse race. Barack Obama has to be perfect just to have a chance. He has had to have the perfect pedigree: half-white aka not completely black, Princeton, Harvard Law, attractive wife, not too many kids (all of which had to be his). He has had to say the perfect thing at the perfect time in response to all of the haters that have sought to poke holes in his resume and integrity. He cannot falter, flinch, or faint. He has one chance to distinguish himself from Sharpton, Jackson, Keyes, Moseley-Braun, Douglass, and all the others that paved the way for a time such as this. A careful review of Obama's platform and proposals would reveal his positions on every one of the tenants contained within the Covenant. Do we really need another customization of his message to satisfy a Black audience? If you really want to help "Black" America, help this man get elected. His portrait on the wall of Presidents will do as much if not more for the Black community and the country than any colloquy of activists, educators, and solders mixed with so-called leaders, self-serving political figures, and pseudo-intellectuals parading across our TV screens for three hours. - Nuff Said

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

you're going to gag. Take it easy. We all understand Barack is not perfect.

BTW

It's Occidental, Columbia, Harvard, University of Chicago .. I mean, if you're going to give a guy a reach around ...

Next:
I wouldn't put Barack in the same category with - Sharpton, Jackson, Keyes, or Moseley-Braun. He is actualy a real politician.

I'm not sure which Douglass you're refering to the one from Baltimore or the one from Chicago?

As for the website and the whole "I addressed that at my website" thing...talking points are not policy positions. I really wish people would stop punting to the damn website like it says something substantive.

His portrait on the wall of Presidents will do as much if not more for the Black community

So which potrait do we take down? Kennedy, King, or Jesus?

Since when did a picture ever help anything. What you should be saying is the man's presidency will implement policies that will heal the nation. Now what those policies are we don't know because he won't put himself in the position of taking a hard position.

Can't do that might ruin someone's expectations - kill the illusion ... oops ... I meant vision.

jdredman's picture
Submitted by jdredman on

Thanks for the feedback Xenophon. You asked some great questions and made a few points that deserve a thoughtful response.

BTW
Good catch - In my urgency to express my position on the matter, I mistakenly noted Michelle Obama's educational background instead of Barack's. Wow, I do need to slow down! The reach around thing was cute though.

Next
The Douglass that I was referring to was actually the 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass. He ran for the White House (Vice President) way back in 1872.

As for the website and the whole “I addressed that at my website” thing ... - I never mentioned any website. I advised reviewing his proposals and platform. That's more than just the talking points on any website.

I agree wholeheartedly that it can be difficult to discern one's positions on issues from websites. I would also submit to you that there is a tremendous amount of information regarding all of the candidates and their positions through various other outlets. The campaigns package the information and present it to their audience. It's the voter's responsibility to do their homework an to make an informed decision in the booth. Unfortunately, most of us are too lazy, apathetic, or disenchanted with the process to do our part. (I call it the American Idol Syndrome)

Finally, and most importantly, my reference to Obama's portrait on the wall of Presidents is speaking to an image that hundreds of millions of people have conjured in their minds about what this country is all about. African Americans (using the general term - not meant to include everyone in the group) in this country continue to have a unique relationship with their citizenship. The reality is that lots of us felt that an African American (male or female) with a truly legit chance to be President was a fantasy. Obama’s "natural constituency” had to "warm up" to the idea of a Barack Obama. So many of our so-called leaders (John Lewis, Andy Young, Calvin Butts, Maxine Waters, Charlie Rangle) pledged to back Hillary Clinton while adding the disclaimer that their support is not a vote against Obama.

If they were honest (that's asking a lot, I know) they would admit that part of their "support" stems from the idea that "America would never elect a Black President". If we were honest (and finally got some therapy) we would admit that our collective community affinity for the Clintons is based on an extension of this misconception as well. In fact, Toni Morrison famously wrote of Bill Clinton that he was "Blacker than any actual person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime." This misconception and negative image has had a deleterious impact on the psyche of a people and in fact a nation. It goes to the fundamental question of what America is all about. Are we all really equal, truly free? Or are we still the racist hypocritical bastards that could spend our days fighting for freedom from tyranny, oppression, and injustice while we spend our nights raping our slaves. (ok maybe that's a stretch but I trust you get my point)

I agree completely that this country needs someone that will "implement policies that will heal the nation". My brother just finished a 3 week leave and went back to the Sandbox after spending the last 18 months in Iraq. The war, the economy, our public education system, taxes and health care are all very important. The next leader will have their hands full dealing with the issues while negotiating a cease fire between the Crips and Bloods in Congress. (Maybe he should get Jim Brown to run as VP)

I also feel that when this country and the entire world sees a Black Man take the oath of office to be President of the United States of America, it will go a long way to healing the issues stemming from some of our deepest wounds - race, apathy, poverty. Barack Obama is in the unique position to lead and heal our nation from Day 1. (and if I see that line on a campaign flyer, I'm suing!)

Nuff Said,

P.S.
Props to John Lewis if the report is true that you are switching your Super Delegate vote from Hillary to Obama!

P.P.S.
With all due respect to my Morehouse College brother Julian Bond, if you are being used by the Clinton campaign and using the “power" of the NAACP to influence the DNC to include Michigan and Florida delegates, you should be removed from power ASAP.

lashuns's picture
Submitted by lashuns on

In one of Tavis’s commentaries on the TJMS he suggested that we “bear down” on both Hillary and Barack to hold them accountable. I agree that we should hold all political candidates accountable, and The Covenant is a great tool to do so. However, Tavis’s idea of bearing down on Barack Obama comes across as pullin the brutha down, rather than offering him a hand of support or praise. I have yet to hear elation or praise in his voice over Barack’s historic primary wins or how Barack’s campaign is bringing all demographics of people together to elect a black man for president. Where is the LOVE, which he so often speaks of? Tavis’s commentaries over the past few weeks have shown me that his helping hands have become claws, used to pull down another brutha that’s trying to come-up out of the barrel. A message for Tavis: Don’t be so “crabby!”

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

that's a good and fair point. i give him love for moving America forward as it were, but at this point, i'm too cynical to say it "will mean a lot" in the future.

it will be so interesting when all our interests are owned by people who have no investment in making the middle class american's life comfortable. the outfreyne are not racists like americans are racists. people (american white people) should keep in mind that "saudi" and "chinese" have meaning in that way too.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

"hand of support or praise"

For what?

"Oh I think they like me"?

Why would you want him to hold Hillary accountable and not Barack. You think Barry won't fuck you?

In the words of Toby Zigler - we'll like him when he wins.

Till then ... I'm from Missouri.

Let him address my issues like every other politician.

LOVE ....?

GOD Damn IT this is America!

What's love got to do with it?

Submitted by cg.eye on

Since when did this item get infested with crabs?

And since when was it cool to call not Robert Johnson, not Niger Ennis, not Alan Keyes, but Tavis Smiley a Coon?

And since when do we have influence on a president after he's elected, when we're begging for him to ignore us and those who broadcast for us, during the primary season when he actually makes all those campaign promises? Do you really think all the lobbyists who are standing by him (even if they don't give him cold hard cash) really won't want a thing from him, once he's elected? You think PHARMA wouldn't punish him should he actually give a damn about universal healthcare? Politics is all about deals, and who makes them first and best. Why in heaven's name would Obama give a damn about people who choose not to make their needs known, as early as possible?

I can't read his mind. I know for a damn fact that he'll never be perfect, because he's more than willing to make the compromises in character and ethics that make a presidential run possible in the first place. So at least he can make time for his natural constituency -- you know, the one that will save his ass should the backbone racism of Republicans reasserts itself in the voting booth -- and do some teleconferencing *on a freaking plane even*, dammit.

And, in conclusion -- WHAT SORT OF FUCKING IDIOTS DO YOU THINK WE ARE? Jeezum crow, would you talk like this to a white audience, like your co-workers in a conference room? Would you air freely that you think negroes are backstabbing, illogical, overemotional fools who drag the bloodstained and cobwebbed burial suit of Abraham Lincoln behind them every day, waiting for the One to step into it and bear that weight again? GODDAMN, I wish August Wilson was alive, cause at least he knew how to show people in love with lost dreams, who excused that love with genocidal pain -- and told them to keep on living, but with clarity, reason and love among trusted friends and community, not this puerile substitute for real hope and progress in the form of a viral campaign.

Hang in there, Tavis. Nyah. Nyah. Nyah-Nyah. NYAH.

Submitted by cg.eye on

"The time to hold someone accountable is not before they get elected but after the are in office. How many of us would tell a potential employer what ever we thought they wanted to hear to get the job?"

-- is actionable, by most HR standards. Employers do BACKGROUND AND CREDIT CHECKS, for any job worth a damn. They check the resume, they call colleges to confirm graduation details, they call the references and make sure they aren't friends on a cellphone, doing a favor. They listen to what's said in job interviews, and check the body language for signs of evasion and out and out wackness. They can go down to the level of asking about gaps in employment. Isn't the presidency worth more effort and vetting then a entry-level bank cashier job? If you say no, as you imply above, then something's really, really wrong with your values. I'd almost call them: Un-Christian.

Wait a minute. For Pete's sake, you're not actually suggesting Obama's lying to get the job, even now? And they call me cynical.

Crabs in a Barrel's picture
Submitted by Crabs in a Barrel on

I want anyone of you people to give me an example when candidates held up even a quarter of their campaign promises. We all know that most of what they are saying is just rhetoric. Barack may keep to his stance, he may not. That is the risk you take with any candidate. What I am saying is if we don't get this man in office we will never know. Ask yourself, who you think would be the fairest to the black community, a person that has been through the same struggle with children of his own to worry about, or someone who has worked, and got paid by Big Business for most of their adult life, and has no vested interest. Tavis may not be a Coon, but in this instance he was acting a little coonish to me lol. He either should have let Michelle stand in, or not made a big deal out of it. We just don't need this type of negativity in the black community right now. If he never addressed these issues I can see the need to explain his platform, but THE INFORMATION IS ON HIS WEBSITE AND HE HAS MADE SEVERAL SPEECHES ON THE SAME TOPICS. The info isn't hard to find if people took the time to look. This is one time we should be behind each other for a common goal. I guess that was asking too much.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"This is one time we should be behind each other for a common goal. I guess that was asking too much."

Or for Americans overall?

If the former, should women and Baby Boomers be telling their ilk to stifle any objections they may have re: Hillary and just rally for "a common goal"?

If the latter, why is STFU a standard acceptable response only re: harshing the Obama mellow? Why is STFU never on-tap for Hillary bashers, even when the bashing is of the brainless "Clinton Fatigue" and "she got investigated a lot (though they found absolutely nothing)" and dyed-in-the-wool centrist "HRC is polarizing" variety?

Crabs in a Barrel's picture
Submitted by Crabs in a Barrel on

Ok. We shouldn't give into conspiracy theories. This is not a political debate, at least my response wasn't. My comment was a direct response to Obama attending SOTBU event, some minorities need to be reassured that he will do the right thing by them. This has nothing to do with his overall commitment for a better America for everyone. I do believe your common goal should be to push a person forward that would be in the best interest of your community. If it's Hillary, then vote for Hillary we are all free here. People don't vote for Barack because he is black, at least i wouldn't. I would vote for him because I think he would lead the best. Look at Clarence Thomas. I don't think any black person in this group would vote for him. He is Black. I don't knock anyone for their vote. Whoever will represent you better vote for them.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I was just asking what your comment meant, that's all.

One who raises Obama concerns is often called "divisive," "hating enthusiasm," and "not wanting to win," while raising a fuss about Hillary is simply room tone. Just wondering if that's where you were coming from. Not sure where "conspiracy" enters the mix.

Thank you for the clarification.

Crabs in a Barrel's picture
Submitted by Crabs in a Barrel on

Some people have the impression that if you like 1 candidate you have to hate the other. That is not the way I feel. I just see a lot of blogs that insinuate there are outside forces pushing Obama, like it was some vast conspiracy. I thought thats where you were going Vas. I understand.

Submitted by lambert on

I'm going to return to this thread later, I hope, but for now, thanks for chiming in. It's a tough crowd here (I like to think).

Meanwhile, here's an example: Bush promised a huge tax cut in 2000, and delivered.

I don't think it's as simple as just "campaign promises" which are never delivered on. I think the more interesting question would be why some campaign promises are delivered on, and some aren't.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

BTW, a correlative misunderstanding I run into a lot is that misgivings about a candidate = hate.

Oh, and please do include the "t" in "Vast." Makes all the deferens.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

Support Job Creation: Barack Obama believes we need to double federal funding for basic research and make the research and development tax credit permanent to help create high-paying, secure jobs. Obama will also make long-term investments in education, training, and workforce development so that Americans can leverage our strengths - our ingenuity and entrepreneurialism - to create new high-wage jobs and prosper in a world economy.

What mechanisms are you going to use, which laws are you going to use or create? How much will it cost and where are you getting the money from? Who is going to enforce it? Tell me these things, I can make a decision. Without that they're empty talking points.

I'm not going to support the man just because I wan't to see a black face in the white house. If anything I'd much rather see someone descended from those who built it in it.

Like I said if you want to talk substance and policy - give me numbers and logistics. Otherwise ixna on the website talking point list.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

1. Switching to Obama = grounds for props
2. Agreeing with HRC on primary-vote counting = grounds for firing.

Good to know.

jdredman's picture
Submitted by jdredman on

PS #1 - John Lewis Superdelegate Thing.

Let me start by saying that the Super Delegate concept is troublesome at best in that during a contest such as this, it essentially forces you to run 2 campaigns (3 if you're lucky). Essentially you run the campaigns that we all see, the state primaries and then the general election. But behind the scenes, you run the "other campaign" to win the Super Delegates and the nomination. This is problematic to me because, as it has been so articulately expressed, there is a certain amount of compromise and deal-making that takes place in this process. Historically, the higher the office, the greater the compromise and the bigger the deals (ref. George W. Bush 2001-2008).

Ok - the basis for my props is that he (Lewis) has allegedly taken a look at the results from the Georgia primary and noticed that his candidate got SMASHED! In the 5th Congressional district alone, Lewis' district, Obama received almost as many votes as Clinton received for the entire state. I have met the man, voted for him and continue to have nothing but respect for my former Rep. That will not change. I hope that he has seen that the people that he represents - not leads - have chosen Obama overwhelmingly.

Now the whole point of the Super Delegate was to have this at large independent force available to break ties and ultimately play king-maker if the people couldn't decide with the hope that we would never get to that point. (So much for that hope thing :-)

P.S.#2 - Julian Bond & the NAACP

Like John Lewis, Julian Bond is a leader that I admire and respect. I mentioned that we attended Morehouse College (decades apart). I look forward to working with Mr. Bond and the NAACP in the future. I also feel even Julian would agree that the power of the NAACP must be used judiciously and purposefully or it will be relegated to a 2nd rate, impotent, civil rights club that has a cool award show annually. Some would argue that it's there already. I was careful to say that "if" he was being used by the Clinton campaign to act in the MI and FL situations, he should be removed (not fired - unemployment is high enough).

Now, if this is a legit gripe, which to me it does not seem to be simply because of the timing, then so be it. However, we knew this was coming for 6 months. Why not speak up last summer? Was there some uncertainty about the voters being disenfranchised back then? If it didn't matter then, it doesn't matter now (unless you're loosing - oops).

The timing suggests that maybe someone has gotten into the ear of the NAACP and whispered those magical political words, "You owe me". If that were the case, then the organization would have truly become the tool of a person not a force for the people. If he lets that happens, sorry Julian, you got to go.

I hope that clears it up. I welcome your thoughts - Peace.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Seems to be a common aspect of Obama trendies, no disrespect to thoughtful supporters and surely there are many. It is a lack seen always on the right, but until now I hadn't realized how frequently absent it is in the malleable middle.

Somewhere related is a psychological insight into their decision-making process, into what it is that drives the slavish behavior and a key to better means of communicating with them, but I'm not seeing it just yet. For now it is clear that for many of this group, irony is wasted as an approach; it will either sail right past unnoticed or worse, confuse them.

This has been another edition of Notes To Self.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

“African Americans in this country continue to have a unique relationship with their citizenship.”

Obama is not a descendent of slaves. His relationship with America, while unique, is still that of an immigrant. Not chattel. One of these things is not like the other.

jdredman's picture
Submitted by jdredman on

Xenophon - BTW, love the handle. Your written thoughts demonstrate both a style and substance worthy of your namesake. Look forward to reading a lot more from you. (Real Talk)

Now, as for this immigrant thing:
We agree that the history of the children of immigrants and the history of American Slaves is indeed different. I respectfully disagree with the notion that you have to be the grandson of sharecroppers and fugitive slaves (like I am) to either share this unique relationship or to benefit/suffer from its impact. I believe that racism and discrimination, in all of their manifestations, boil down to the thoughts and actions of those with power vs. those without power.

Let me attempt to explain.

See I personally don't care if you don't like me. We don't have to socialize, hang out, go to church or any of that. But I do need a job to feed my family. After a hostile takeover years ago, your family started running things in the area that we live. Now, if your tradition, policy, or common practice is to hire only those people that you happen to “like” and you happen to be the only employer for miles around, ok now I/we got a problem.

That's the real danger, the power, not the feeling or attitude behind it. And that's no different for Jews escaping persecution, Italians arriving at Ellis Island, Irish fleeing the potato famine, unjustly imprisoned WWII Japanese Americans, so-called Native Americans driven off their lands, or the former Colored-Afro American-Negroes still wrestling with the last vestiges of the evil institutions of white supremacy and chattel slavery. The end result is the same: Those in power abusing those without power.

If you haven't, I invite you to read Obama's books (and yes I read It Takes a Village and several others) to gain some insight on his feeling about his upbringing.

Look forward a response. Peace

Submitted by lambert on

So, the Democrats are the Crips, and the Republicans are the Bloods?

Both parties are the same? [Prophylactic: Yes, I know both parties are part of the same system, and I may have something to say about that shortly.]

It seems to me that is not only not true, but it if it is true, implies--turning tendentious, now--that the only solution is the transcendant power of a single Leader. A lot of us have problems with that idea--though it's highly acceptable in the Village--and a lot of us also have problems discerning the directions such leadership would take us.

It seems entirely plausible to me that a post-partisan future would be worse than the partisan present. For example, the FISA abomination is distinctly bipartisan.

Another way of looking at this is the current absence of Obama Hatred, as compared to the carefully engineered and well funded Hillary Hatred -- engineered by my enemies, as well as hers: the Conservative Movement, as funded by the winger billionaires.

OK, two possible futures:

1. Obama Hatred is rapidly manufactured, just as Hillary hatred was. How then is Obama any more able to govern than Hillary?

2. Obama Hatred is not manufactured. Would that happen because the billionaires who manufactured Hillary Hatred have suddenly decided the country is in deep trouble, and have decided to play nice?

Somehow, I doubt it.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

The billionaires don't think Obama will get in their way. Fighting is so 60s and 90s, and beating back bullies takes fighting.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I can't help but expect, given the dynamics of this campaign, that Obama's supporters will be more inconsolable if a close outcome, whatever the circumstances, is not in their favor.

It's but one reason why I worry so much that his campaign has taken on such religious overtones (not just that Obama wraps himself in the Shroud of Turin, but that he is, all but literally, the Second Coming).

This item today in HuffPo is but one loud datapoint that people have completely lost their bearings:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-se...

The willingness to believe that this modestly accomplished, slick-talking guy who's campaigning on GOP frames (at a time when the GOP brand is in the dumps and could/should be crushed) is the New Jesus is, to me, positively frightening.

Again, I quote Obama fan Stevie Wonder: "When you believe in things you don't understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain't the way."

Obama as the one of two centrist Democrats whom you might prefer for policy or personality reasons is one thing. I don't object. Obama as the more truthful, more progressive candidate? I have my doubts. Obama as Martin Fitzgerald Jesus? WTF? Yet it's all around us, and it can't be healthy.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

Jdredman welcome. Have a seat, set a spell. Roll up your sleeves and don’t get your feelings hurt, it’s all love. Always good to see “The House” in the house.

“Only those people that you happen to “like””

When has that ever not been the case? Seriously. 90% of jobs are obtained through family or friend connections. The meritocracy, democratic, free market version of America is a myth and has never existed.

In the words of another illustrious Morehouse Brother “allow me to retort”

The Ellis Island analogy won’t hold and has never held. Black folk never volunteered to come to America, it was not an act of volition. It was an act of violent conquest. There is no historical parallel or equivalent. No other group has been enslaved, and systematically stripped (they called it seasoning) of their identity.

Slaves were brought to Hispaniola, kept there for a generation and their children raised in isolation from their community. Not unlike camp X-ray Guantanamo. These children were reared under the “care” of white missionaries and prepared for slavery. They had no knowledge of their origins, their native language or culture. They were made into slaves and then shipped to Jamestown in 1619. In 1803 the suppression of the slave trade created the internal slave breeding projects in America. South Carolina was the major breeding state. They bred slaves for export to the rest of the states. There is only one other ethnic or racial group whose status of being is determined axiomatically by the constitution – Indians not taxed. The Jews, or Irish, or Italians, are not fighting their blood kin for the right to exist in their own country.

Now about this last vestiges of white supremacy . . . while I’m re-reading Obama cannon. List off the institutions, customs, and mechanisms of white supremacy and chattel slavery and let me know which ones are no longer operative. Then we can determine empirically how close we are to the elimination of white supremacy and slavery. Since slavery was never abolished in the United States. I suggest we begin by ending the institution of slavery in the United States of America. Even as punishment for crimes. Because we know how easy it is to create a crime.

Sorry, the slave thing is still a distinguishing factor. It’s so much deeper than racism. It’s the exploitation of human life by corporations for the sake of profit. The exploitation of human labor by the state for the purpose of profit. Coming from slavery tends to focus one’s attention on the quality of human existence. Somehow I don’t think Barack heard stories about the clan, how the white man on the other side of is your first cousin and the grand dragon. I don’t think Barack grew up with Deacons for defense, he has no real tie, no blood or flesh, invested in this 400 year struggle to fulfill the American dream. He has said himself the 60’s were not that relevant to him. How is that John Edwards can make an argument against corporate overreach, tyranny and greed, but Barack … I just don’t think he was Born to Rebel …

Peace

jdredman's picture
Submitted by jdredman on

Wow, I haven't heard that one in a while.

Thanks for the warm welcome. I'm looking forward to the mental gymnastics that are bound to ensue from our interaction.

Also, thanks for the history lesson John Hope :-).

Ok, enough laughs, let's get down to business. It's good to see that we are in complete agreement regarding the differences in the historical background of the children of American immigrants and the children of American Slaves. The impact of those times continues to remain part of our collective American psyche today.

To clarify, I was not and will never make any comparison between the suffering of my foreparents and any group. There's no contest. My statment was simply a dismissal of the notion that you have to be a son of Slavery to share our unique perspective on America or to benefit/suffer from the impact of our shared history. Reminder to you that American Slavery has many sons, and all of them are not Black.

Oh and by the way Stokely (not an insult), please excuse the optomistic tone of my "last vestiges of white supremacy" comment. I happen to be of the rare opinion that things are a bit different and will continue to improve for all people in this country and elsewhere. People change and institutions change with them (just much more slowly). Some of us (such as yourself I would imagine) have studied our past to chart a new course for the future while others continue to be held victim by it.

Which brings us to Obama's lack of "focus". You're not suggesting that he can't "relate" are you? Is this the whole he's not Black enough argument again? Come on man, he ain't that light-skinned. Does a brotha have to be fresh off the plantation to be considered Black? Let's not have this old Cosby Show ain't reality discussion this time. No he didn't grow up the same way a lot of "us" did. Maybe that's why can be in the postion he's in today?

My previous point aside for the moment, do you begrudge the man an upbringing free from the "traditional" suffering, apathy, and victim mentality that has so often plagued too many African Americans just so he can "relate"? Come on now.

John Edwards can argue against whatever he pleases. He has a lot of time on his hands these days in between visits from the actual Presidential contenders.

I know some people are disappointed that the Black President(s) will not be a down for the cause, by any means necessary, Black Messiah. He (or she) won't be like any of our heroes of the past that paved the way for the generations that followed them (us). Maybe he wasn't Born to Rebel, you’re correct, Barack is no Ben Mays (I actually met Dr. Mays as young child in '82). I can't help but think that Mays may have been proud of the fact that Barack didn't have to be Born to Rebel.

But as Obama is saying, we shouldn't loose hope. There's always the chance that he could be just the Spook we've been looking for to Sit by the Door (to the Oval Office).

So thanks again for the welcome. I think I'm going to like it here just fine.

Peace

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

braiding, at least in the cities where i've lived (chicago, detroit, others). chock full of African women. as in, i'm not sure they have all their paperwork in order w/r/t to being here "legally." of course I don't care about that, i just want the cheapest price i can find for braids (although i'm not wearing them these days).

anyhoo- you want to talk about "different experience," wow! i don't really feel qualfied to expound on it in detail, but let say that the African sisters were always talking about, and doing things, that were very different than the "native" women who working in traditional beauty shops do. and the men...again: so different. i speak french, but i would never tell them that, so i could listen to them chat it up with their GFs on the phone for those long hours in the chair. again: very different attitudes than "us."

anyway, Barry is even more nontraditional because he has a white parent. that one i can relate to, and i think it works in his favor, but never mind that right now. the important thing is to recognize that he's a light skinned, Harvard/Chicago/Senate kind of guy with a supereducated wife and some cash and a pretty good life so far. right there, he's tremendously different than most african americans. no matter what one thinks of him, it's hardly the case that he can claim to "be like" a lot of people of the racial construction "african-american."

it's worth thinking about, and i say this as an overeducated high yellah out of touch princess myself.

jdredman's picture
Submitted by jdredman on

By racial construction you mean stereotype right?

Isn't it great that we come in so many hues and shades and that our shared history is the definition of diversity?

At the risk of sounding like I've just poured my 5th cup of the Obama Kool-Aid, let me say I agree with you. You're right, he ain't like most of us. That's probably the reason he's about to become the President and most of us are not. I just believe that his unique upbringing does not disqualify Obama from being able to identify with African Americans, stereotypical or otherwise.

It's worth thinking about :-)

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

Ahh CD. you never cease to make me laugh.

Did you see the satellite they are about to "destroy"?

It was supposed to be watching a comet on a collision course. Tracking it so we could send an intercept mission to deflect it off course. oops.

Submitted by lambert on

check it out.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

You’re not suggesting that he can’t “relate” are you? No I’ll let this articulate that
I know some people are disappointed that the Black President(s) will not be a down for the cause, by any means necessary, Black Messiah.

But he is the black Messiah. He has come to deliver white folk from their guilt. By voting for Obama, should he be elected president, America will in their imagination eliminate the stain of slavery. They will finally be able to say “see we are not racist, we elected a nigger president.” Obama represents the validation of self hatred that leads many blacks to “take the bass out of their voice,” send their children to white schools, move to white neighborhoods, etc. (Please notice I said white and not integrated. There are very few integrated neighborhoods in America). Obama is the messianic figure that validates all those who might have felt guilty for wanting to assimilate white, he validates the denial of Black culture – those nasty confrontational aspects of black culture that highlight inequality and prove the lie of equality, meritocracy, justice and democracy – those niggling inconvenient truths of American life.

Obama is the Messiah of the Noble lie.

“The expanding black middle class -- accounting for about 40% of the black population -- see in Mr. Obama a validation of the choices they have made: attending largely white colleges, working in predominantly white companies and government offices, climbing up the ladder of American success.”

Link here

BTW, my concept of Black Power is King not Carmichael. See: Where do we go from here: Community or Chaos.

But who knows he might be that spook. Till then …

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

As I watch the field develop. I notice that every native political institution that African Americans have is being made irrelevant. All political infrastructure in terms of organizing, communication, mobilization, analysis, etc. is being shifted to Obama centered democratic organizations. Black America is being locked into a platform it cannot sustain without corporate coordination. Like MS Windows – political serfdom.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

“In politics, when reason and emotion collide, emotion invariably wins. Elections are decided in the marketplace of emotions, a marketplace filled with values, images, analogies, moral sentiments, and moving oratory, in which logic plays only a supporting role. Westen shows, through a whistle-stop journey through the evolution of the passionate brain and a bravura tour through fifty years of American presidential and national elections, why campaigns succeed and fail . The evidence is overwhelming that three things determine how people vote, in this order: their feelings toward the parties and their principles, their feelings toward the candidates, and, if they haven't decided by then, their feelings toward the candidates' policy positions.”

Link

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no ...

People in crowds behave just like sheep, scientists claim, by blindly following one or two people who seem to know where they are going. Results show that it takes a minority of just 5 per cent of what they called "informed individuals" to influence the direction of a crowd of a minimum of 200 people. The remaining herd of 95 per cent follow without realizing it.Baaaah

jdredman's picture
Submitted by jdredman on

Just had a thought to share with this incredible think tank. What would be different if Barack Obama had chosen to attend an HBCU like say Howard, FAM U, Tuskegee, Clark, Hampton or Morehouse instead of Columbia? Would that have made any difference in his "authenticity" or ability to "relate"? Would it have hurt his chances to get elected?

Just curious, what do ya'll think?

Submitted by lambert on

Quote:

Every native political institution that African Americans have is being made irrelevant.

Reminds me of the fan who started the Obama FaceBook page--which the campaign took away. Or what happened to DK.

Eesh. Ill means, ill ends.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking
billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

As I watch the field develop. I notice that every native political institution that African Americans have is being made irrelevant. All political infrastructure in terms of organizing, communication, mobilization, analysis, etc. is being shifted to Obama centered democratic organizations. Black America is being locked into a platform it cannot sustain without corporate coordination. Like MS Windows – political serfdom.

Highly respected former Congressman Bill Gray, the long-time head of the United Negro College Fund, says that people are distorting and misinterpreting Hillary's words about MLK, finding a "racial" context where there is none --- and the Obama campaign blows him off with [paraphrase] "no comment, but people have a right to make up their own minds".

Julian Bond, civil rights pioneer and head of the NAACP, writes a letter to the DNC decrying the disenfranchisement of Michigan and Florida voters -- and the only response is that Al Sharpton goes to MSNBC to say those delegates shouldn't be seated, and he'll picket if they are.

Tavis Smiley, television's most serious and thoughtful journalist/interview on black issues, invites Obama to the Annual State of the Black Union conference in Louisiana, and Obama blows him off with "I have nothing better to do..."

.... basically, all these people who can and should be in a position to speak for black Americans are being marginalized --- while at the same time, Obama refuses to speak for Black Americans himself lest he be labelled "the black candidate"

kangeroo's picture
Submitted by kangeroo on

I have a lot of respect for you, X. Especially since I've heard Smiley has been the brunt of massive anger and resentment from the AA community every time he questions or examines anything about Obama. Thank you for your courage and integrity in speaking out. I'm sure it can't be easy.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

This is still America. I still have the right to contribute a verse.

MKRule's picture
Submitted by MKRule on

I ran across this discussion a few days ago and it has kept me captivated to hear the differences of opinion. I am a fan of both, Tavis and Barack. With that said, I am able to see both sides of this argument (should Barack attend or not attend). Personally, I would like to see him attend. If he is worried that this will turn non-African American voters off, I think he has the right to not attend.

I am sure someone just probably thought or said a few expletives.

I think this situation highlights an issue that we have in the African American community. I think many of us think that we all have to do the same thing to say we are for the "cause". If I could quote Tavis, "It's not about equal contribution, it's about equal sacrifice!" While Dr. King was out marching, there were others that made sure some of the marchers had a place to stay. Some people supported with their funds (people had to be bailed out of jail). My point here is that just because we take an event and label it "State of Black Union", does not mean you lose your "black card" if you do not attend. I am not expecting Barack to be a Jesse Jackson, an Al Sharpton, a Tom Joyner, or anybody else. He needs to be himself. All these folks are great people in their own right but everyone can not do what they do.

Consider something. Imagine young Tiger Woods being asked by some of his African-American friends to come play some basketball on a Sunday afternoon in Southern California. He says "no, I need to practice on the golf course for a big tournament next weekend." His friends start talking about him and questioning his "blackness" because he won't join them in there fun event.

I know this is not the same thing, but it should be clear that Tiger never would have been what he is today had he not "done his thing". Is Black America worse off for it? I think America and Black America are better for it.

I will say that Tavis should have not made this so public. I would rather had seen the question arise why Barack was not there as opposed to who is in, who is not, and who is not confirmed prior to the event. I would hate for the mainstream media to get a hold of this. Make no mistake about it, Hillary would not be at attending if she did not think she had something to gain.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

I have no problem with Obama not going. Rest up for Texas. I get it I do. The problem was what he said on the radio. It was just disrespectful. Next when the Obama maniacs began to attack Tavis for holding a principled position they had no problem with a year ago...It just got to be a bit much.

That is when I began to see the way in which people responded to criticism about Obama. Not in a rational way but in an emotional erratic tantrum. For me, that's a sign of problems. Why is this man running a campaign based so strongly on theatrics. Becasue he has no real substance. He won't release his earmarks. His website policy punts are vauge at best. Though with some hunting and grinding you can piece together a plausible policy direction. But nothing he can be held accountable for.

This is text book charismatic rise to power. Right along with breaking every insitution in your way. Fuck it, the man is a good politician. If he wins this he'll take the title from Bill.

autyb's picture
Submitted by autyb on

This was a comment that I tried to leave on Tavis’ message board, but got an email saying that it was “full”…must be all of the people like me compelled to respond to his unfortunate choice of timing.

Tavis-

I read that you “openly” criticized Barack Obama for declining an invitation to the State of the Black Union Forum in New Orleans. I am disappointed that at such a crucial time in Barack’s campaign you would choose to make public statements against him.

As a black woman, I am very excited about this moment in history and I believe that your statements regarding his decision are very short-sighted. Is it not more important that Barack do as much as he can to ensure that he wins this nomination by spending every minute possible in the remaining states? Not that the Forum is not important, but the timing is bad. If Barack wins, he will most likely be our next president and there is no doubt that future generations of black people will be positively influenced- much more so than any single Black Forum can do.

Yes, Hillary Clinton accepted the invitation, but she recognizes that she still needs to prove to America that she cares about the issues of the common “folk”- Barack has already made his case. She can’t win the white males, but she knows that she can win the black vote if there is an appearance that Barack doesn’t care by attending in his absence. The Clintons are ruthless politicians and they know this. Anyone with a brain larger than a pea knows the reason she’s attending.

Tavis, really, please see beyond the immediate. I’m sure that Barack will attend future Forums and draw even more attention to your cause as the President of the United States.

Regards,

Autumn

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Thinking is so last-century.

What's important is that you believe that the Clintons are evil and that Obama will duck into a phonebooth after the election and emerge as Superprogressive and deliver the goods for his minority constituents. Anyone with a pea-sized sense of truthiness will understand that it's just gotta be true, it's just gotta!

Ditto for your belief that it's easier for her to ruthlessly con black voters than for her to lure white males into her nefarious spider web. Her decision to address a black forum is proof-positive of this, without a doubt.

It's impressive that you've used your brain so much to work this through, but all you really needed to do was look into your heart to know that what you believe is undoubtedly true, facts, reason, and record be-damned.

Submitted by cg.eye on

... and Tavis Smiley's been kicked to the curb. Commenters characterize it as -- you guessed it -- a clash of the frats:

"In the words of HUGGIE LOW DOWN, "Tavis Smiley, YOU ARE THE BAMA OF THE WEEK WEEK WEEK WEEK WEEK WEEK". GOOD BYE AND GOOD LUCK, Not that your arrogant behind needs it. I for one was really surprised of how long this relationship lasted between the Omega (TOM) & the Kappa (TAVIS). This has to go down in the history books for the longest cordially functioning relationship between two GREEKS from two different sides of the planet. MY FRAT, Dr. Cornel West (Alpha Phi Alpha) would be a awesome addition. But truly, ROLAND GETS MY VOTE. BROTHER MARTIN YOU HAVE HELD IT DOWN ON CNN, MY BRAHS TALK ABOUT YOU ALL THE TIME AT CHAPTER MEETING. What up with that brother "Lemon" on CNN. Also what is Soledad O'brien, I'm confused? Help your brother out. Hit me up @ (deleted)@gmail.com 06 & Obama 08!"

Great googly-moogly.

Does everything reduce to old skool ties and bitterness?