The Last of the Loud, Black Folks. : ThyBlackMan

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Last of the Loud, Black Folks.

November 14, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

( This past Sunday on Meet the Press, the presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said the following, “Latinos, women and young people — that is the new governing coalition.”


To be sure, there are Black folk in each of those categories. But since President Obama’s victory on Election Day, I have been troubled by the paltry attention paid to the record turnout amongst African Americans to make Mr. Obama only the fourth Democrat in a century to be reelected to a second term. I know Doris Kearns Goodwin, so I don’t think she intended to suggest that Black votes don’t matter. But there is this creepy sense that in the midst of  this historic moment in Black history, Black Americans are being pushed off stage. And while Black Americans are being pushed off the stage, there is a growing debate on the internet and in the mainstream media about whether and how Black folk should push President Obama now that “he has nothing to lose.”

There’s a whole lot of pushing going on.

This is real simple for me. With all due respect to the formidable coalition of Latinos, women, and young voters, Barack Obama would not be sitting in the Oval Office right now had Black folk stayed home in their “house slippers.” African Americans are his most loyal constituency and everybody in the Obama reelection campaign and in the Obama White House knows it. The president owes Black folk. BIG time.

The poet Gwendolyn Brooks had this wonderful refrain, “the last of the loud.” Respectfully, somebody has to remind the president day in and day out of the debt he owes Black America. After four years of being sidelined and silenced, it’s time to get loud. We have to be willing to engage even if we are “the last of the loud.”

Our Latino brothers and sisters immediately (as in the day after the election) jumped on a national media conference call to make it clear that they saved the president in some key battleground states. I ain’t mad at ’em. That’s exactly what they should have done. Black folk taught the disenfranchised masses how to make demands in the name of unarmed truth and unconditional love. Ready for the hard truth? At the moment, our Latino brothers and sisters are better examples of the Black prophetic tradition than are Black folk.

Word now comes that many Black notables will join together at a national symposium later this week to discuss the state of Black America and the road ahead. We will see if Black leaders are finally ready to turn up the volume. If we aren’t, well, we’re just going to get drowned out over the next four years. There is a line of folk wrapped around the White House who intend to collect on the Obama promissory note they’ve been holding since 2008. Where are African Americans in that line? Are African Americans even in the line?

We celebrate this electoral victory today, but what about tomorrow? How tragic would it be at the end of eight years to be confronted by economic data which suggests (as the data does now) that in the Obama era Black folk lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category? I shudder at the very thought. So should you.

Are we going to be the last of the loud, or just the last?

Written By Tavis Smiley



5 Responses to “The Last of the Loud, Black Folks.”
  1. James Davis says:

    Mr. Smiley, If you mean us any good, step up and support a plan of job creation!

    Otherwise sir, how are you different from Mr. Obama? He’s talking. You are talking, while our unemployment rate goes through the roof. We are tired sir, and we need more than talk – we need you to take the next step and rally around a plan to create job, and say what wrong with pursuing this plan? Thank you.

  2. Ford says:

    ….I have seen it here and there too. Blacks don’t know it yet but they are taking a back seat to latinos. What I personally see is this…blacks and whites get along pretty well where I live. Hispanics, with few exceptions, are distant and seemingly unfriendly.

  3. I don’t think you can blame the President for the lack of jobs in the Black community. This problem existed long before the President took office and got worse during the Bush administration. I believe the President put a lot of emphasis on education, labor, and health. These are areas that helped us. I do believe the President could have done more for us and talked to us with more respect. But this was the first Black President in the history of this country. How big is this, considering this is still a very racist country.

    But about the jobs problem in the Black community, we have to blame ourselves for this problem. When you spend a trillion dollars in every community but your own, knowing there are economic problems in your community, there’s something wrong with that picture. We can’t blame the President for not doing something we don’t do ourselves. Until we build a strong economic base, we will continue to be taken advantage of, whomever the democrat we vote for, because we still have to choose the lesser of the evils. Do you think Hillary Clinton would have done better for us?

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  4. Mr. Smiley, I THOUGHT that sounded like your writing, and then I saw your name!

    Here’s my thing: I know that President Obama needed all the help from Black folks that he could get. But in addition to us waiting in that imaginary goodie line, I wish we would get just as loud about doing for ourselves. There are legal changes coming up in the field of copyright law alone — thus regarding Black people and their music — that would allow us, this coming January, to begin bringing billions of dollars back to our community if we only started working together. Lots and lots of opportunities exist for Black folks to get the proverbial goodies without even waiting on this president or any other… but we just keep getting in that line for things we don’t ever seem to get!

    Let me put this to you another way: you’ve been pointing out what you feel are the president’s points of neglect of the Black community for some time. You are loud, Mr. Smiley, louder than many of us will ever be. Have you seen much practical movement on his part? I’m not saying the president doesn’t care about Black folks, or that you have been ineffective; I am saying that there are forces far, far louder that are not likely to stop monopolizing his ear. Meanwhile, there are plenty of things that Black people are doing all over this country that we ought to get and stay behind with a mighty shout — and we would probably be more effective in the long term. Presidents are for four to eight years; community and wealth building takes a lot longer. I would love to see you take the same energy with which you have pursued the president for things he may or may not drop on us and focus a goodly portion of it on what Black people CAN and need to do for themselves in this next four years. If we are the last of the loud, we may as well spend much of that loudness on things more permanent than a particular president…

  5. Satchel says:

    Tavis…You evidently watch and listen to the right-wing media like I do. What you are saying is the same thing I hear coming from the Republican cheerleaders on Fox News. They claim the president won the election because he bought votes by giving gifts to Latinos, Woman, older citizens and Young people. I case you didn’t notice Black people are part of the very groups you complain about. The only groups left out are black adult men and black men in prison. What exactly can the president do that would satisfy you? If you know, you can be specific.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!