Cornel West & Tavis Smiley, King Barack Obama can do no wrong. : ThyBlackMan

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Cornel West & Tavis Smiley, King Barack Obama can do no wrong.

October 15, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( Let me start from the truthful beginning:  I love and respect Tavis Smiley and Cornel West immensely.  I don’t care who knows it, and I don’t care who gets mad.  I’ve had my differences with both men in the past, but I was taught that even if you admire someone, you should still be honest when you critique them.  My mama reminds me of that every time we argue over politics.  What I love most about Tavis Smiley and Cornel West is that they are among a small number of black voices that truly speak for those who are suffering the most.  Rather than believing that symbolism pays the bills, they are seeking substantive evidence that any politician seeking the African American vote actually delivers what he or she promised.   We can all agree that to whom much is given, much is expected; but this principle has been abandoned over the last four years.

With that being said, I can’t express how saddened I was to hear that Smiley & West, the radio show hosted by these two men, has been cut in several cities for a “lack of balance.”  Boston, Chicago, and other major cities have let go of the show, likely due to the massive backlash that the two receive for disagreeing with King Barack Obama.

I refer to Barack as “King Obama” because it appears that many African Americans don’t want a Democracy, but instead prefer an Aristocracy.  We want the king to have absolute power, like Bishop Eddie Long running a vacation bible school for teenagers.  Rather than living in a land that supports antiquated ideas like “freedom of speech,” we prefer a world where anyone who dares to question the will of the king should have his head cut off in public.  Rev. Jesse Jackson, for example, has been cut off from the Obama  White House for four years since being caught on camera saying that he wanted to remove some “critical body parts” of the president, but it is King Barack Obama who has actually done all the neutering.

Not only have President Barack Obama and his team dismantled and discredited nearly all of their African American critics (not via substantive arguments, since the black community is far worse off now than it was in 2008 – I challenge anyone to present data to the contrary), they’ve also emasculated many of their African American allies.  Rev. Al Sharpton inexplicably went onto 60 Minutes and said that he would NEVER criticize President Barack Obama, even if he was wrong or the black community was suffering (which it is).  This kind of relationship is one that goes beyond the expectations of standard political support and ventures into the land of the blatantly corrupt and comically dysfunctional.  Nearly every black analyst given a position on MSNBC, TheGrio or a few other outlets is expected to bow to the king at all times, or risk losing it all.  This is NOT the way Democracy is supposed to work, and this is also why we continue to be disrespected as a viable political constituency.

Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are important for the preservation of freedom within the black community.  You don’t have to agree with them in  order to appreciate their right to intelligent self-expression.  If you think they’re wrong, then PROVE IT.  Don’t just try to discredit them as irrelevant hacks. Any time we are more focused on suppressing inconvenient truths than confronting them, we are truly lost.  It’s not as if anyone can argue that Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are lying about the poverty problem  in America, since every study imaginable says they are correct.  It’s not as if anyone can say that they are misleading us about the depth of mass incarceration and urban violence, our children are filling up body bags and prison cells all across America.   The dividing line that has emerged in black leadership today is that there are some who feel that the value of protecting a president from any form of black accountability far exceeds the consequence of seeing millions of people suffer in poverty, death and despair.  I do not find this to be acceptable.

Where we’re getting it wrong is by believing that the best way to help President Obama is to sit and quietly wait for the administration to decide to do something for the black community.  That’s like a mother who thinks she’s helping her son by not asking him to do his homework or clean his room until he feels like it.  She’s not showing love for her son by behaving this way, she is making him all the more irresponsible and letting him call the shots inside the house.  Similarly, a politician should not be telling you what his agenda is going to be, you should be giving him your agenda. 

So, whether you support President Obama or someone else, you should never give your vote to a politician without telling them what you expect in return.  We also need a range of voices that encourage each of us to assess all relevant information and make sound decisions for ourselves.  The fact is that both the Democrats nor the Republicans are threatened by free-thinking black people, and it might be time for all of us to get our butts off the plantation.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. For more information, please visit


14 Responses to “Cornel West & Tavis Smiley, King Barack Obama can do no wrong.”
  1. Julius Bailey says:

    Thank you Dr. Boyce Watkins… MUCH BETTER PIECE THAN WAS POSTED by another of your staff writers..

    At “Mack” you totally have your historical memory a bit blocked. Dr. West was vehemently opposed to the Welfare Bill, challenged him for being
    “a spineless jellyfish” ( I will NEVER FORGET THAT) and “peforming black while black people suffered” and, remember he was the campaign manager against him for Bill Bradley.

  2. hoodgirl says:

    I Ain’t Mad at Cha, knahmean. My protege has had access to k street since 18 she’s now 25. In my hood everyone knows a fast nickel is worth more than a slow dime any day of the week!

  3. Mack says:

    @ Natalie: Point well received.

    @ Hood chick: …

  4. hoodgirl says:

    In the words of the late great Tupac Shakur, How Do U Want It? Romney understands the CASH GAME that’s why ALL EYEZ on Romney! As for you, keep spreading Thug Life and watch how infants evolve.

  5. natalie says:

    Mr. Mack,

    I often agree with your post but i have be honest barak and hillary are both hostile to mens issues as both worldviews consist of interpreting the world through the theoretical lens of feminism. I love the president but his frequent pandering and active participation in perpetuating the myth of a “war on women” is disturbinng.

  6. Mack says:


    Your distaste for black males has obviously distorted the facts for you. Everyone from Bob Johnson to Magic Johnson came out in support of Hillary. Not to mention 98% of the Congressional Black Caucus. Hillary only got as far as she did because she rode the coattail of her HUSBAND’S name and fame. She played the female and race cards to the letter, but her snakish disposition is what ultimately lost her the DNC nomination.

    And whats wrong with Donna Brazile rolling with her conscious?

    Maybe you would be more comfortable having a white woman in office, even if she staffed her admin with a racist like Geraldin Ferraro, than with a black man. I can assure you: when Geraldine Ferraro made her racist comments about Obama in ’08 and Jesse Jackson back in ’88, she wasn’t feeling too warm and fuzzy about black women at the time either! She lumped us all in the same boat.

    BTW: did you condemn Hillary for having a racist on the team; or were you more fearful at the thought of having a black man as your leader…?

  7. hoodgirl says:

    MSM, CBC, NAACP, black pastors, civil rights leaders, etc, conspired to provided a shield to Obama as he peddled his message of hope and change way before the Iowa caucus. The slogan in political circles was Bros before Hos and these groups were screaming at Hillary to drop out of the race before January 2008. Everyone was on board including Donna Brazile for an Obama Presidency with the exception of Civil Rights Leader John Lewis who finally succumbed to pressure and said on February 27, 2008 he changed his supprt for Hillary to Obama because he wanted to be on the right side of history.

    These unconscionable acts of misogyny and race division occurred throughout the democratic primary where prominent African Americans were threatening to make it rain McCain if the superdelegates did not select Obama at the DNC. The American voters are now seeing that Obama is a snake oil salesman who can’t rub two nickels together to make a dime not an agent of change. If Obama gets four more years it will be at the hands of the elites not the American voters.

  8. Mack says:

    Where was all this fiery rhetoric from Tavis and Dr. West when Clinton was the President?! Why wait until another black man is finally in the Oval Office to start requiring ‘substantive evidence’ and unmitigated support for some black agenda? What President prior to has ever been required by black leaders to do so?

    Obama’s not loyal to the black community because he’s not financially beholden to the black community. Remember: in politics, access to power is real power. And people who want that access pay huge sums of money for it. Thats why he staffed his administration with Wall Street guys, like Bush staffed his with oil men. They paid to have that access.

    Contrast this with the way the black Boule leaders of America treated Obama when he first ran back in 2008. They snubbed him and put their full economic and political support behind Hillary Clinton. Why didn’t Tavis and Dr. West hold Hillary to the same line of questioning and expectations as they now do Obama?

    Black leaders only came out in support of Obama when he had secured the Democratic nomination. They basically snubbed him, therefore he now snubs them. Thats the way the game works.

    In the black community, the politics are controlled by our black Boule leaders. They are the guardians to the temple so to speak. Obama basically won the Dem nomination and the presidency without the help of the black gatekeepers. This includes Dr. West and Tavis Smiley. So what does he need them for now…?

  9. Patsy says:

    I forgot to add that it is an African-American journalist who made sure that the mainstream would know about Rev. Jeremiah Wright during Obama’s campaign. I wonder how much he was paid to do this. I called this kind of behavior self-hatred. Shame on us!

  10. Patsy says:

    I totally agree with Terrance Amen. I know what I am talking about. Before Obama became a senator and the president of the U.S. he sent letters to all the black leaders in the country and none answered him. Our people decided to support him after the White massas gave their agreement in Iowa. Shame on us! We don’t value our own first, we are always seeking the approval of people outside our community. We also believe the ice of White people is more cold so we don’t support our businesses, etc. Obama is not God and no other Black president could turn things around in just 4 years when our unemployment rate has been double for decades and you know it Lonnie Radcliffe. We have to stop to always look for a Messiah to save us and operate as a group like Asians and Jewish people. Asians have the lowest unemployment rate in the country compared to everybody. They are not expecting a Messiah to save them, they take control of their destiny as a group by building businesses, buying homes together…!!! As long as we will refuse to support our own, we will never be respected as a group!!!

  11. I’m voting for Obama as well. I hate to say this, but if Romney wins, this may be the catalyst that helps to unite us into the strong powerful people we are. Once we stop giving our money and genius to help other people become wealthy and happy, we’ll finally be able to solve the problems in our own community and take the place of those who put us in this situation in the first place.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  12. Lonnie Radcliffe says:

    I think sister Patsy needs to stop burying her head in the sand, stop the hero worship and look at the stark reality of what Obama’s first term in office has really meant for blacks.

    Again, I will vote for him on November 6 because there is nowhere else to go. But this not about supporting Obama for Obama’s sake. This is about Obama supporting us. Clearly, his loyalty is to his party’s elite… not us.

    Lonnie Radcliffe

  13. Lonnie Radcliffe says:

    First things first.

    We can’t allow the sociopathic, facist Romney and his minions to win the White House; otherwise, game over for black folks, and back to the plantation, for real. Having said that, there is no other option but to get Obama re-elected. There is nowhere else for us to go, which is obviously part of Obama’s political calculus. But the day after he wins re-election, we need to join and support progressives like Senator Sanders to make sure Obama doesn’t sell us out as he has in the past.

    Lonnie Radcliffe

  14. Patsy says:

    I think many Black men are jealous of Mr. President Obama and would like to be in his position!

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