Tavis Smiley is convinced that having a black president may ultimately hurt the black community.
Tavis has had a lot of complaints about President Barack Obama pretty much from the beginning of his administration. The thought leader and Dr. Cornel West have not been quiet about their assessment of his performance, even challenging the president to have a discussion with them. It might seem that Tavis is determined to bring Barack down, but he explained he’s only doing it to push the president to do better.
“I tell the truth as best as I see it, try to hold folk accountable, and do all that in love,” he told “HuffPost Live” earlier this week. “As Cornel West and I said many years ago; I respect the president, I will protect the president against white supremacist attacks or anything else he’s unfairly targeted for. So you’re respecting, you’re protecting, but you’re correcting when he’s wrong. Not because he’s Barack Obama, but because he’s the president.”
Tavis’ biggest complaint is that the Black community hasn’t been able to lobby for the things that we really want and need. In his opinion, the needs of Black people haven’t been a priority for Barack.
“We’ve been at the back of the bus. Every other constituency have spoken their truth and made demands of this president,” he said. “I don’t say it as a way of demonizing the president or casting an aspersion on him – but the data is going to indicate that black people lost ground in every single leading economic category during the Obama years.”
If Black community at large has taken a hit, President Obama is not the reason why. If anything these three things are way more harmful to us:
1. Lack Of Unity
The Black community appears to be very fractured to outside groups. There is a lot of fighting amongst ourselves and criticism without solution. It seems that there are very few things that black people can agree about. Not being able to present a united front to the rest of the world makes is a huge reason why Black people may be losing ground. If we’re not supporting one another equitably, we can’t expect anyone else to do it.
2. Constantly Shifting Focus
Real change does not happen overnight, but society has become very impatient. When Al Sharpton called on people to be committed to the long process of change at Michael Brown’s funeral, his challenge was spot-on. How can we expect anyone to take us seriously when we can’t focus on an issue long enough to see the matter resolved it? We tend to flit from one big issue to the next. What about those 234 girls that were kidnapped in Nigeria. Did anyone continue the call for their return after cops killed Eric Garner and Michael? It seems that Black people largely dropped that cause when picking up the newest one.
3. Reality TV & World Star Hip Hop
Reality shows and ratchet videos online are entertaining to watch, but they also promote violence and negativity towards other people in our community. Every time you watch one, you are supporting something that shows us in a bad light because you are giving these things an audience. Think about what else young people would have emulate if videos like Sharkeisha and pretty much anything with Terio in it weren’t as popular.