Monday, July 22, 2013

Tavis Smiley is "Weak as Kool Aid"

His agenda: self-promotion?
I say this tongue and cheek:

Tavis Smiley should hold a press conference and announced to the world -- or the three people who actually care -- that he is joining the Republican party.

My reason

Tavis embodies the spirit and personification of the GOP symbol: The elephant -- the animal that never forgets. Under the banner of the GOP, Tavis can continue his unrelenting personal, silly and petty vendetta against President Obama.

You may recall, candidate Obama, on his way to becoming president, failed to attend Smiley's summit during the summer of 2008.

And Tavis can neither forgive or forget the perceived snub.

As the self-appointed Kingmaker or HNIC, Tavis expected -- with all due pomp and circumstances -- candidate Obama to kiss his golden ring. Tavis has taken great umbrage at Obama picking his perceived gatekeepers lock to the black community.

His criticism of Obama is often DOA (dead on arrival) because of his transparent axe-grinding. And after a few months of reprieve from his anti-Obama bashing, Tavis, opportunistically, came out swinging on Meet The Press:

Talk-show host Tavis Smiley was sharply critical of President Barack Obama's comments on the case involving Trayvon Martin on Friday, theorizing Obama was "pushed to the podium" and that his comments were as "weak as pre-sweetened Kool Aid."

"I appreciate and applaud the fact that the president did finally show up," Smiley said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"But this town has been spinning a story that's not altogether true. He did not walk to the podium for an impromptu address to the nation. He was pushed to that podium. A week of protest outside the White House, pressure building on him inside the White House pushed him to that podium. So I'm glad he finally arrived."  Read more

The Trayvon Martin travesty of justice requires a magnanimous rise above pettiness -- something lacking in Tavis Smiley's skill set. President Obama's comments on the Trayvon Martin case were courageous, honest and deeply personal. His remarks called for healing and understanding of the African American experience with racial profiling. His tone never strayed from being presidential.

Trayvon Martin's parents on President Obama's remarks:

Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, the parents of dead Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, praised President Barack Obama on Friday for taking the time to discuss the controversial trial and verdict during a White House Press conference earlier in the day.

"We know our family has become a conduit for people to talk about race in America and to try and talk about the difficult issues that we need to bring into the light in order to become a better people," the parents said in a statement. "What touches people is that our son, Trayvon Benjamin Martin, could have been their son. President Obama sees himself in Trayvon and identifies with him. This is a beautiful tribute to our boy." source

Tavis it is time for your press conference: Once again, I urge you to inform the world that you are joining forces with the Hate All Things Obama, GOP Tea Party.

Post Script: Tavis, in your press conference you can answer questions about your relationship with Wells Fargo. The bank that ripped off -- via subprime mortgage loans -- the very poor people you claim to represent. This was labeled by many: The Ghetto Loan scam.


  1. Out of every self-appointed spokesperson for special interest communities, be they race-based, market-based or otherwise, Smiley is probably the most transparent.

    Obama's comments only seemed to soothe those in the nation who share what basically amounted to an ideological belief, or those who simply adore the President and see no fault in anything he does. That's the legitimate flip side of the hater coin -- the swoon side.

    But Smiley's dressing down of Obama speaks louder to me than someone who's experiencing lingering butthurt over a failure to be aggrandized on a global scale and made a hero via osmosis. Smiley seems to have one narrative to thrust onto people, and to hell with people who don't support that.

    That's bigger than Obama. A perpetual bone to pick is one thing; intentionally attempting to blind folks permanently for pocket padding is another.

    Smiley, to me, seems like the type of guy who has more enemies than friends, and it's by design.

  2. @Josh...thanks for the comment...however, when you say:

    Obama's comments only seemed to soothe those in the nation who share what basically amounted to an ideological belief, or those who simply adore the President and see no fault in anything he does. That's the legitimate flip side of the hater coin -- the swoon side.

    You fail to understand it is not an "ideological belief" that soothes or connects with many, no, it is the experience of being treated like a criminal, racially profiled, follow by security 24/7 even though you have a spotless record. I have one white associate that retorted: "Obey the law and you do not have anything to worry about"...yea how naïve...I could say the same about the NSA spying on all Americans: Obey the law and you have nothing to worry about...kinda rings hollow...

  3. I understand that. But where I'm coming from with the "ideology" view is that Obama claims very few black men haven't experienced racism.

    That's a direct implication that America, no matter where you go, is racist; it's awfully similar to Smiley's position that America, as a nation, has incontrovertible contempt for black men. Though Obama's speech was a lot more eloquent.

    Being followed because one is black is anecdotal; and it's very subjective. Is it racism? It most certainly can be, but I've been followed, wrongly pulled over, hit by a cop, and so too have many people who aren't black. Yet there isn't any type of discrimination I could cite. Just an a-hole cop or security guard, not a system.

    So often it turns into racism because, as Obama alluded, it "feels" like it. And the acceptable line is that these things only do happen because one is black, in every situation.

    There is racism in this nation -- most certainly its past, undoubtedly its present, and probably into the future. And black people are undoubtedly profiled at higher rates in terms of race. But to assert that the majority of black people in America experience racism is, to me, walking the ideological line of subjective racism where poverty and failing schools and drug laws and even a crooked look given qualifies as racism.

    And while I'm sure that a lot in the black community are pissed and sick and tired of being thought of as a criminal or this or that, and rightfully so, so too are a lot of white folks in America sick and tired of being thought racist and forced into this socially awkward box where the first thought on one's mind is "musn't appear racist" for fear of being dragged through the mud and made a social pariah because somehow they weren't sensitive enough to the plight of someone else.

    Those comments from Obama, while I believe heartfelt, are very divisive. Very ideological.

    I won't drone on and on, but the "ideology" comes into play with blaming America, i.e. non-blacks, for reasons a black person may feel a certain way.

    That's throwing a huge and unnecessary burden of guilt on 87% of America, and that's very ideological to me.

    While average black guy A may sit and watch Obama and agree and feel that it's spot on and that they're tired of being profiled, average white guy B may be sitting there and wondering what else he can do or is supposed to do in his life to shirk the blame or to make up for George Zimmerman and for problems in the black community.

    Very ideologically divisive to me. Especially so when non-black input isn't often welcomed into the conversation, yet the burden of the blame seems to fall on non-black shoulders. So that's where I get the ideology from.

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  5. While I agree with some of your premise -- all whites are not to be blamed for the woes of the black community and that all whites are responsible for racism or that all blacks experience racism -- racism and the ramifications of racism (political, social and economic) are embedded in the American society and the African American experience -- past and present: This is a truism and not an ideology.

    Discussions of racism should not be viewed as divisive. No, quite the contrary, discussions (not shouting matches or racial pimping on both sides) are part of the solution. Realties of racism should not be swept under a rug because it makes people uncomfortable to deal with it. Discussion of racism -- among honest brokers -- is necessary for the healing our country.

    Now, to be fair, I must add: When I taught school or mentored black males, I always instructed that racism (real or perceived) should never be used for an excuse for failure.

    Second, the crux of what I understood from Obama's comments of Trayvon Martin's trial: It would serve us as a country if we could reach out and help those black males in crisis conditions (jail, drugs, poverty, violence, absentee fatherhood etc.) realize the avenues to achieve the American dream.

    To reiterate, only honest dialogue can bridge the gap between average black guy A and average white guy B. Silence or denial are not the answer. If we listen with our hearts, we would hear more than the hard to digest truth but we would hear areas of reconciliation.

    Your input, as a non-black, are welcome. Matter-of-fact: I offer you the space to write a guest post -- your perspective -- like mine -- is not to be ignored

  6. Overall I agree that the implications of racism, past and ongoing, are brutal. But I'll quibble with a point. It's a truism inasmuch as it's a subjective one and one that only extends to problems which have a direct correlation with discrimination and no alternatives. It's not necessarily truth, as logically there's only ever one version of truth. That's the one stipulation of something being true, barring the colloquial, rhetorical meaning in which "truism" is synonymous with the circular "self-evident."

    What I mean by that is the extent to which oppression itself has damaged the African American community of today. As some things thought to be black-specific problems are really just poor people problems and know no color. That blacks may be disproportionally affected in certain areas, such as poverty, could also be extrapolated past skin color and other factors may enter the equation; see certain groups of whites in generational squalor as an example. However, they're blanketed as just "white," just part of a group, and thus truth is skewed and divided by the happenstance of genetic levels of melanin polymers in one's skin.

    I'm very long-winded when I get going -- a definite truism! But my point is that we, as people, experience incredibly similar problems. Though history has dictated that one group's problems are a result of another group's. Rightfully so, to an extent.

    I won't--and couldn't if I wanted to--deny that racism exists and hinders progress to an extent, and certainly that the widespread oppression of generations past has led to issues which still linger and seem insurmountable in some instances today. But I'm certainly of the belief that racism is way down on the list today of what's holding America's younger black generation from "breaking the cycle," to borrow a cliche.

    A lack of positive role models, a lack of family structure, a segment of popular culture which rewards bad behavior, unions refusing school choice due to greed, well-meaning people with potential solutions being chased out by self-appointed spokespeople of the black community -- I personally place these things as bigger issues than any racism that may remain in America. (Not that racism, as poverty, shouldn't be eradicated, mind you!)

    If Obama was trying to get at something similar, or conveying the need for assistance for America's children, that's just not how I took it. I felt thrown under the bus a little bit.

    And I applaud the "no excuses" teaching. I believe that should be taught to every child for every situation. No excuses, just grab those bootstraps and do it. I wish I was taught that as a child. It took me a long time (into my 20s) to develop that attitude.

    This is going to exceed the character limit, so I'll wrap up by thanking you for your invitation. I plan on taking you up on that, as I'm taking Malcolm up on his potential guest post at PS.

    I agree that these discussions are necessary, and necessary even if it's just a few regular folks back and forth on the Internet.