Dr. Boyce Watkins; Donna Brazile Meeting with Cornel West: Just Talk or Real Action? : ThyBlackMan.com

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Dr. Boyce Watkins; Donna Brazile Meeting with Cornel West: Just Talk or Real Action?

April 22, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

(ThyBlackMan.com) The black political grapevine recently informed me that respected political strategist Donna Brazile plans to meet with Professor Cornel West at Princeton University.  The meeting was apparently arranged in response to the “moral outrage” that West has expressed toward the Obama Administration over recent weeks.  The disappointment came to a head during a highly-publicized feud between Prof. West and Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC.

Dr. West’s outspoken demeanor couldn’t come at a worse time for President Obama and his party.  As the Democrats work to smooth talk their way out of  a year of tone deaf behavior toward a suffering African American community, West comes in as one of a small number of major black public figures willing to rain on the presidential party.

There is a large part of my psyche that appreciates Professor West’s willingness to speak honestly on African American suffering.  Politicians in Washington seem to behave as if racial discrimination doesn’t exist, and there is almost no consideration for the fact that people of color suffer more than nearly anyone else as it pertains to our treatment in our economic, educational and criminal justice systems.  I know Dr. West to be a righteous man of tremendous integrity, so his critiques should be taken seriously.

The other side of me hopes that Dr. West’s cozy relationship with noted Obama-hater Tavis Smiley isn’t tainting his perspective.  While Smiley has been quiet as of late, his silence may be driven by the fact that he’s lost a great deal of credibility in his critiques of the president.  Also, there isn’t much that Tavis needs to say, now that Cornel West is doing enough talking for the both of them.  The truth is that there is almost nothing that President Obama could do that would satisfy Smiley, since they are deeply-entrenched political enemies.  Given that West has begun to sound a lot like Tavis, one has to wonder how far the apple has fallen from the political tree.

My other quiet hope is that the dialogue between West and Brazile is a two-day conversation and free exchange of ideas.  I expect that the seriousness with which West has challenged the Obama Administration dictates that this highly-intelligent scholar can’t be convinced to simply change his mind about the Democrats.  I also hope that the conversation is not full of empty political promises designed to appease West and protect the tremendous loyalty black voters have to the Democratic party.  Brazile needs to listen to West and the Democrats need to respect his comments about the need for an adequate response to the Great Black Depression being experienced as we speak.

The simple problem for Dr. West and the African American community is simple:  Black people are unemployed, incarcerated and miseducated more than any other group in America.  Having a black president has not helped as much as some hoped, further reducing the black incentive to support any political party.  Unless the Democrats can show an ability and willingness to help alleviate some of the challenges of being black in America, it is difficult to get excited about any political candidate.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit http://BoyceWatkins.com.

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9 Responses to “Dr. Boyce Watkins; Donna Brazile Meeting with Cornel West: Just Talk or Real Action?”
  1. Anthony says:

    Watkins your a joke

  2. Brian A. Kirkland says:

    Dr. West’s views are not limited to African-Americans. He’s talking about the Christian mandate to serve the poor, which Obama has failed to even mention. He is firmly entrenched in the camp that says only the middle class matter and deserves our concern.

    And why on earth would you consider West to be under the sway of Smiley? Why does Smiley have to be a “noted Obam-hater”? When we disagree with the President, we don’t have to hate him or have uterior motives, as you suggest. West and Smiley are friends, Smiley being the junior member of the relationship. Why do you consider West to be under Smiley’s influence. That makes no sense and cast you as an intellectual poseur; a light weight; a simpleton.

    I really doubt that Donna Brazile went to Dr. West to persuade him to be quiet and it’s simple minded to assert that was the case.

  3. Public Financing says:

    Dr. Watkins,
    Please wake up, reality is on line one. The President has done the bare minimum for the bottom 99% of people, while working overtime for the top 1%. He and most of the legislative branch are bought & paid for by the same corporate sponsors. Members of the Progressive Caucus are the only elected officials in Washington who work for Main St. (see: The People’s Budget) while the vast majority are the waterboys for Wall St. and transnational corporations (see: endless wars, health care “reform,” financial “reform,” free trade agreements, the budget, etc.). Any and everything that benefits the bottom 99% is being dismantled and replaced with neoliberal reforms to further enrich the elites.

    How are we, the “little” people, ever going to get our needs met if we stay silent? The President requires pressure from the citizenry no matter who (s)he is or what party they’re in (of course, there’s not too much difference these days). It is our job in a democracy to be active, engaged and defiant. It is not our job to get “excited about any political candidate.” That’s a fool’s errand and an embarrassment – we shame our ancestors when we elevate style over substance.

    “Dr. West’s outspoken demeanor couldn’t come at a worse time for President Obama and his party.” Well, good! Cause the man I voted for couldn’t come at a worse time for we the people. The wingnuts are on the warpath & the President seems content to let them roll over the least of these. I know, the Obamabots with their kool-aid on IV drip have no shortage of excuses, cause that’s so much more convenient that facing up to the facts.

    Of course we have to vote for him in the next election, but that doesn’t mean we have a gag order. Smiley & West are hardly the most vocal critics of the President, as anyone who bothers to not watch the propaganda machines of corporate-owned media knows.

    If we want anything to change, such as, “Black people are unemployed, incarcerated and miseducated more than any other group in America” there must be:
    1) public financing for campaigns
    2) a Constitutional Amendment to define what a person is – not a corporation! The Citizen’s United decision is a stain on this nation.
    3) total transparency for donations to any political organization (Virginia Thomas, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. need to make public where the money comes from).

  4. shaybill says:

    While some view the dialogue that has taken place, between Mr. Sharpton and Cornel West, as despicable and out of sorts; I feel that it high time that more members of the African-American community speak to the political machinery that controls our finances, taxes, jobs and political future. As persons of color, we have the right to speak words that might not favor the actions of our president. Speaking one’s mind is indeed one of the privileges of being an American citizen. The mere fact that many of the speakers happen to be persons of color, does not preclude them from exercising their thoughts in the form of consternation, criticism or an allegiance to a different political party.

    One of the drawbacks to the African-American community is a premise that we should all stick together and close our eyes to what we see politically, simply because we share the same skin color.

    While, I am very proud of President Obama and all that he has accomplished during his presidency; he does not automatically deserve my vote because of the color of his skin. Cornel West has every right to exercise his right to speak against the President openly, in an effort to send the message that his allegiance is to the person who he feels performs the best, not simply the person whose skin is similar in hue to his.

    WHEN the rest of the persons of color – (African Americans) realize what political power they have in their ability to deviate from the norm and vote their conscience; we might witness further change in our political systems. Other politicians will earn our vote and not automatically come to depend upon every African-American, who historically feels that we are beholden to the Democratic party. The dialogues that we are concerned about between Mr. Sharpton, Cornel West and Mr. Tavis Smiley is not about allegiance to a party or race of people, but their right to exercise their political power and vote their conscience, even when it is unpopular to air your dirty laundry for all to smell.

  5. Real American says:

    But Watkins gets on Al Sharpton’s radio show and get mealy-mouthed because he knows he’ll be called out for his lies and inaccurate statements.

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  1. [...] day to give me some clarifying points about her meeting with Cornel West at Princeton University. I’ve written a bit about the meeting between Brazile and West, particularly as it pertains to the perception that the [...]

  2. [...] day to give me some clarifying points about her meeting with Cornel West at Princeton University. I’ve written a bit about the meeting between Brazile and West, particularly as it pertains to the perception that the [...]

  3. [...] day to give me some clarifying points about her meeting with Cornel West at Princeton University. I’ve written a bit about the meeting between Brazile and West, particularly as it pertains to the perception that the [...]

  4. [...] day to give me some clarifying points about her meeting with Cornel West at Princeton University. I’ve written a bit about the meeting between Brazile and West, particularly as it pertains to the perception that the [...]



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