Monday, March 1, 2010
Tavis Smiley vs. Al Sharpton
my dad sent me this e-mail about this "feud" thats going on between Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley about Obama and a "Black Agenda".
this is the audio of Al Sharpton's show that Smiley called in on. here are some more words Sharpton had to say on the subject along with Boyce Watkins chiming in. and this is what Cornel West had to say about it.
basically, the problem is that Tavis wants some sort of open dialogue between black leaders (some self-proclaimed "black leader"....some not) about whether or not they think Obama should have a "black agenda"-that being a separate agenda for black people, such as him directly addressing the the black unemployment rate (which is at least 4 or 5 times higher than whites), the state of health for blacks, racial profiling, black on black crime, and overall racism.
Sharpton feels as though Obama does/has begun to address these needs, and feels as though Smiley ignores these advances while waiting for Obama to openly say "this is my BLACK agenda" or....walk around with a Black Power shirt on.
Tavis has been one of the biggest critics of Obama since he was in the primaries. he has called Obama out on just about everything a citizen can call their president out on (some being legitimate criticisms, some not). he feels as though Obama does not have a black agenda, fails to address the needs of blacks, and that he definitely SHOULD have a black agenda mainly and/or solely because he is black.
now, i will be the first to admit that i don't like Al Sharpton. i think he's a media pundit that hypes things that don't need to be hyped and acts as if speaking about things and appearing on talk shows, radio shows, and the like are going to change the state of black affairs. nor do i like the way that he comes off as if he speaks for all blacks and is the black leader for this generation. he isn't. we don't have one (nor do i think we need one. we need solidarity, not a sole leader). and all that is aside from his PERM!...which i won't get into.
and i don't have much respect for Smiley either. aside from him having people like 50 Cent on his show, conversing as if Fitty is someone that should be a respected member of the black community who helps out teens (while ignoring the facts that he has done so while doing a modern day minstrel show that he labels "hip hop")and some other mess. he also is sponsored mainly by Wal-Mart and State-Farm-two of the biggest and most corrupt companies in the United States. Wal-Mart shuts down mom and pop businesses by selling dirt cheap crap made is sweat shops overseas by people of color and State Farm was one of the many insurance companies that had some of the most complaints filed against them after Hurricane Katrina (treating blacks that had been paying insurance for 500 years as if they weren't owed a dime). and he's questioning Obama's commitment to blacks? i guess that only after he's been paid a nice sum by these companies that exploit people of color.
but i can see both their points. Obama does need to address some needs of black people. although he could very well have been elected without a single black person casting a vote in his favor, i think it would say a lot about him if he did nothing to help out other minorities in this country, knowing himself how hard it is as a minority....in the same way that i would have expected Hilary to do something beyond the norm in the areas such as reproductive rights, gender relations, and other womens' issues.
on the other, i can see Sharpton's point that he is doing some things, such as working on healthcare and that he has to be the president for all of America. he should not have become the POTUS if he wanted to be the leader of only a certain group of people in the Unites States. he also said that Obama shouldn't be held solely in charge of handling things we as blacks need to be doing ourselves. and that is so true.
on another note, it's a bit absurd to expect someone working in the system to change the system. we cannot expect Obama to end the forms of oppression that people of color, that women, that LGBT's, that all groups of oppressed people feel while working for the people that legislate, enforce and encourage these types of oppression. it just does not happen that way. so, in a way, i think Smiley is asking too much from Obama.
but all this is assuming either of these men are being genuine. in reality, these two men are media pundits that need coverage and attention in order to get paid. i wouldn't be surprised if something comes out in a month that Tavis shot Al while Al is saying he caught Tavis smoking crack. i mean, its all for show with some of of these celebrities and you can never quite tell when they or their statements are completely legit.
i found this clip of The Boondocks (love this episode. LOVE the show.) of Rollo Goodlove (who is basically Al Sharpton with a different name. McGrduer's portrayal of Al is so spot on) and Ann Coulter fighting on television, then showing their true colors backstage:
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