Monday, April 14, 2008

Tavis Smiley.........Black Community

I'm curious to know your thoughts on Tavis Smiley resigning from the Tom Joyner Morning Show. (

I'm on the fence here. What's wrong with an influential Black man calling Obama to task? I don't agree with calling him to task for not attending the Symposium in person. Obama is walking a fine line in a country deeply affected and driven by racism whether overt or intrinsic. And I do believe Smiley's ego was deeply bruised and it is influencing some of his positions, but must every Black "personality/pundit" agree with everything Obama does. Should we all just blindly fall in line because Obama is Black and the first real shot America has at seeing a Black president?

I'm an Obama supporter, but I don't do so blindly or simply because he's Black. I get angry at the MSM (main stream media) for blindly assuming all Blacks support him or must explain why they don't, the same applies to the Black community. I have my opinions about Clinton and McCain and their records and the racial undertones that the Clintons, in particular, have pushed. But I'm not so arrogant as to believe all Black people should see it the way I do.

I don't get to listen the TJM show anymore, but I feel like Tavis' contribution to that show was invaluable. It brought current events, politics and issues that affect the Black community to an audience whose members at times can be quite apathetic towards them. Must we only have people voice opinions that the Black community at large agrees with? Can no one have alternative views? Must we consider someone a sell out because they have the audacity to challenge a man who could be our next president to see where he stands on issues that affect the Black community?

On the flip side, is Tavis' ego so strong that he can't take the heat when it's turned on him? He is a journalist/pundit who's views are widely heard. Does he expect all to blindly follow his views and his criticisms? Has he let his own feelings of being "dissed" influence his commentary? Is this a continuation of the "Is Barack Obama black enough?" issue?


P.S. psst...Hey Elle....I'm posting! :-)


elle said...

I see! Okay, let me read up...

elle said...

I once called Tavis my secret boyfriend, so I'm trying to make sure no bias shows, :-)

Seriously, I have been thoroughly put off by this lead up to the election. I'm at the point where, if my favorite bloggers aren't blogging about it, I'm pretty much clueless. I am, on the one hand, ashamed about that and otoh, tired of it all.

That being said, I think we should all definitely question and assess Barack Obama. You said: I get angry at the MSM (main stream media) for blindly assuming all Blacks support him or must explain why they don't, the same applies to the Black community. I agree and would like to add that it's a catch-22--even if you do, as a Black person, support Obama, you have to explain. Your reasons are up to scrutiny and critique because the assumption is that you are "biased" enough to support him because he's black (or if you're a black woman, somehow unaffected by sexism enough that you can "betray" Sen. Clinton). You see, somehow, I don't think my neighborhood with the big Confederate-Flag-as-a-Curtain is going to have to explain "if" he throws his support to the Republicans.

But I wonder if Tavis could be holding Obama to a higher standard? I haven't read all his critiques, but I do know, within my community, the hopes for Obama are so high that many want him to be damned near perfect.

I think Tavis's quitting is in part a response to criticism of his criticism. He mentions all the e-mails and phone calls he's received. But surely he has a thicker skin than that.

Courtney said...

Yay! I saw the post title and thought, "Isn't that Elle's secret boyfriend?" (Or was that Morris Chestnut?) Glad I've got my memory aligned right.

I think the assumption of monolithic support is ridiculous. Can't tell you how often people have been shocked -- shocked! -- that I (as a white woman) would choose to support Obama rather than Clinton. Um, could be that Obama's saner. But that's neither here nor there.

RageyOne said...

In all honesty, I could care less. I've never been a fan of Tavis, nor Tom Joyner. I rarely listen to the show. I will say that I find Tavis to be a rather selfish person, and one who tends to run or tear down those that disagree with his view (kinda like the various personalities on Fox News). It is either his way or now way. Huh? Can he not agree to disagree after a while?

Kimberly said...

Very good point Elle. It is a catch-22 because the assumption is that black supporters of Obama do so only because he's black. And the fact that 'we' play into that irks me.

I'm glad you mentioned Morris, Elle, cause I thought you were cheating on your boy! :-)

Rageyone, your point is well taken. I have not listened to the show in years. But I do think Tavis has played an important role in helping to educate those who are typically apathetic to politics and current events. However, I would agree that his slant has become more apparent over the years and I have seen him trend from journalist to pundit.

Elle, this race has intrigued me quite a bit, but I can understand whole-heartedly how it can turn a person off. To see Democrats going at each other at the expense of the general election for me has been extremely frustrating. I'm worried many more will be turned off to the point that all this phenominal turn out will be for naught in the general.

Raquita said...

Me personally - I like Tavis, I listen to his podcast every now and again, and I appreciate his view point, even if I don't always agree.
really when I think about this situation I visualize Tavis as Horton and the black community as the animals who just refuse to hear his idea and have formed an angry mob in response. Tavis/Horton in this case is just not trying to get stuffed in a cage and dipped in beezlenut oil. Our elephant is not faithful 100%, and its hard to be when the very people you love so and work so hard with just think the worst of you after all you've done. I think as a journalist he does have a thick skin but as a activist and a proponet for black america he got his feelings hurt. I think that maybe Tavis' pause there. Thank you for allowing my daily "horton hears a who" refrence, I got a toddler -I've seen it three times.

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