A Question For Both Tavis Smiley And Cornel West. : ThyBlackMan

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Question For Both Tavis Smiley And Cornel West.

January 20, 2013 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

(ThyBlackMan.com) Mr. Smiley, do you intend to return the Millions of dollars that you reportedly made from herding poor Black people and Hispanics into the Wells Fargo “Ghetto Loan” scam to the people who lost their money and homes? And Dr. West, In your learned opinion, what is the appropriate course of action for your friend and associate to take, in accordance with the “prophetic tradition?”

A discrimination lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice, and several articles, including one seeded on Newsvine entitle, “Tavis Smiley – “Ghetto Loan” Peddler for Wells Fargo,” closely associates PBS talk show host, Tavis Smiley, with the Wells Fargo Bank scam targeting poor and middle-class Black and Hispanic borrowers. The article quotes Kelvin Boston and Keith Corbett, of the Center for Responsible Lending, as calling Tavis Smiley “the big draw” of the Wells Fargo scam. Specifically, the article states the  following:
“Smiley was the keynote speaker, and the big draw, according to [Kelvin] Boston [host of “Moneywise”] and Keith Corbett, executive vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending, who attended two of the seminars. Smiley would charge up the audience — and rattle the Wells Fargo executives in attendance — by launching into a story about how he hated banks, and how they used to refuse to lend him money for his real estate projects in Compton, Calif., and elsewhere… But what appeared on the surface as a way to help black borrowers build wealth was actually just the opposite, according to a little-noticed explanation of the “Wealth Building” seminar strategy, contained in a lawsuit recently filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
“Wells’ plan for the seminars all along was to target black borrowers for higher-cost subprime mortgages, not for wealth-building, the suit charged. And the seminars were a part of the bank’s overall illegal and discriminatory practice of steering black and Hispanic borrowers into riskier and more expensive loans, the suit said.”
Subsequent to the law suit, Richard Prince reported in The Washington Independent  that Tavis Smiley issued a statement indicating that he would sever all ties with Wells Fargo until charges that the company steeredCornelWest-TavisSmiley minorities into higher-rate loans are resolved. The article went on to say,
“Wells Fargo sponsored Smiley’s radio show on Public Radio International, and underwrote the annual C-Span-televised “State of the Black Union” conference that Smiley organizes. Smiley’s foundation also distributed Wells Fargo materials to young people at foundation events, he told Journal-isms.
‘“I cut everything off with Wells Fargo,’ Smiley declared. He said the move cost ‘a lot of money’; he said he did not know how much.”
On July 12, 2012 Charlie Savage reported in the New York Times that Wells Fargo Bank agreed to pay $175 million to settle the discrimination suit which, according to  the Department of Justice, targeted over 30,000 Black and Hispanic borrowers for subprime loans with a higher interest rate than for similarly situated White borrowers between 2004 and 2009.
What makes it particularly ironic that Tavis Smiley would be associated with this scheme to target poor and middle-class minorities is that Smiley is the primary promoter of what he calls “The Poverty Tour,” along with his friend and associate, former Princeton professor, Cornel West. During the tour, on their joint radio talk show, and on numerous media appearances, Smiley and West have gained a reputation for being President Obama’s harshest critics, indicating that the president is not sufficiently focused, and “accountable,” to the nation’s poor and minority community.
In a statement by Wells Fargo put out after the bank agreed to a settlement of $175 Million, they said that while not admitting to any wrong doing, the Wells Fargo agreed to a settlement of the law suit because the bank felt that it was the right thing to do. 
CNNMONEY quoted Mike Held, president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, as saying, “Wells Fargo is settling this matter because we believe it is in the best interest of our team members, customers, communities and investors to avoid a long and costly legal fight, and to instead devote our resources to continuing to contribute to the country’s housing recovery.”
The settlement includes Wells Fargo paying the Black and Hispanic victims of discrimination $125 million in compensation, and an additional $50 million in down-payment assistance to borrowers in the affected communities. 
So the question that remains is, if Wells Fargo Bank feels that paying compensating to the poor and middle-class victims of this scam is the right thing to do, shouldn’t Tavis Smiley, the most strident  advocate of “accountability” and fervent crusader for the interest of the poor, feel obliged to do the same?
We’d like to put that question to Smiley’s friend and associate, Dr. Cornel West. What do you think your good friend and associate should do, Dr. West?  What does the “prophetic tradition” dictate is the proper course of action?
We’ll be anxiously awaiting your response.
Staff Writer; Eric L. Wattree
More thought provoking articles feel free to visit; The Wattree Chronicle.




31 Responses to “A Question For Both Tavis Smiley And Cornel West.”
  1. Eric L. Wattree says:

    WorldGirl, you said,

    “Really? You want to discredit them now because of your God Obama? Funny how anybody who’s against Obama gets their dirt thrown at them but if you’re like Al Sharpton, who also has alleged dirt in the past, its overlooked. In short, please stop deifying this man. He’s an elected official, not God.”
    It’s no wonder you’re supporting Tavis Smiley and Cornel West. They depend on unthinking people like yourself for their very existence. How do I know you’re unthinking? Because you’re not only shooting from the hip, but you’re clearly demonstrating that you tend to base your opinions on unwarranted assumptions, and project your own shortcomings on the thinking of others. For example, what evidence do you have that I deify Obama? Absolutely none. So that’s clear evidence that you’re basing your thinking on vapors.
    The fact is, I don’t deify anyone, and I’m just as likely to be on Obama’s case in my next article as I am on Tavis and West here(http://wattree.blogspot.com/2011/04/beneath-spin-eric-l.html). My opinions are not based on the support of superheroes, because first, I’m my only hero. While I admire President Obama’s accomplishments, I don’t view him as nearly as important as I am – and that also goes for Martin, Malcolm, John Coletrane, and Albert Einstein. None of them are important enough for me to feel obliged to have to get out and defend them. Besides, any man who’s worth defending, doesn’t need defending. Secondly, I only defend truth, not men. I understand the importance of following truth wherever it leads, and regardless to whose ox it gores. So I focus on truth, and allow men to land wherever truth flings them.
    But on the other hand, you’re obviously trying to use Barack Obama as a human shield to coverup the disgusting behavior of Tavis and West. Thus, I guess you do have heroes, and you’ve decided that your heroes do need defending. This article has absolutely nothing to do with Barack Obama. It discusses Tavis Smiley’s involvement in herding 30,000 poor and minority people into a scam that caused many of them to lose their homes and what little money did have. But you want to ignore that fact completely.
    The fact that Tavis Smiley prospered off the misery of poor and minorities seems to be of little consequence to you. You’d rather play “let’s dog the first Black president.” Why is that? I’d reflect upon that if I were you, because even if you’re Black, that doesn’t mean that you’re not a bigot. After all, Black people are a product of the very same racist environment as White people.
    (http://wattree.blogspot.com/2013/01/beneath-spineric l.html).

  2. worldgirl says:

    Really? You want to discredit them now because of your God Obama?
    Funny how anybody who’s against Obama gets their dirt thrown at them but if you’re like Al Sharpton, who also has alleged dirt in the past, its overlooked. In short, please stop deifying this man. He’s an elected official, not God.

  3. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Marcus, you said,

    “However, you couldn’t debate your way out of a paper bag, and 99% of your writing has no foundation in rationality.”

    I’m really sorry to hear that you feel that way, Marcus. But since you do, and you did say that you support the site, you should take a moment to educate the people by pointing out where and how they’re being misled. In addition,I’m always seeking growth. So I would really appreciate it if you’d take the time to educate me as well. I’d rather walk away from a debate more knowledgeable than simply having bragging rights, any day.

    So if you’d be kind enough to take a few minutes out of your day to lay a little knowledge and rational thought on me, you’d not only be performing a public service, but you just might make me a better, and more “rational,” writer, and I want to assure you, I’d really appreciate that.

    So I’d like to thank you in advance for your dedication to not only this site, but knowledge and rational thought. I’ll be waiting anxiously to hear from you. I’ll check back tomorrow.

    Thanks again,


  4. natalie says:

    @ MV..ITA (totally)

  5. Marcus Vessey says:

    Eric, even a broke clock is right twice a day, which is why I gave you kudos on the point you raised in this article.

    In regard to reading your stuff, I make it a point to support all the authors that are regulars on TBM because I support the site, regardless of my personal opinion on their writing skills, ability to engage in logical discourse, and topic content.

    So since you participate on the site, I support you on the site.

    However, you couldn’t debate your way out of a paper bag, and 99% of your writing has no foundation in rationality.

    But like I said bro. Even a broke clock is right twice a day, so good job on this piece.

  6. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Marcus,You said,

    “Eric most of your work is pure garbage, uncritical, illogical drivel.”

    Marcus, the only thing I love more than rave reviews is passionate, distaste for my work. You see, whenever you a writer stimulates an emotional response, he’s done his job.

    But what I find very curious is you said, “most of your work.” If you found my work to be “pure garbage, uncritical, illogical drivel,” it seems curious to me that you’ve read more than one piece. I know I wouldn’t waste my time reading garbage – but then, maybe you have more time on your hands than I do. But thank you for the bone you threw me. The fact that you hate my writing makes me appreciate it all the more.

  7. Marcus Vessey says:

    Eric most of your work is pure garbage, uncritical, illogical drivel. But I will give you this on this piece. I think you ask a very, very important question. If they want to hold the President accountable, I think they need to be transparent and hold themselves accountable as well.

  8. Papacool says:

    As I watched the video attachment to this story, it seems that I also heard Teddy P singing “Wake Up Everybody”. The old system of bait and switch is alive and well not only in real estate, but nearly every facet of occupation that one can think of. The sad part of all of this is that we keep abetting the system in promoting self-hatred among ourselves. Money is the chief motivator and what hurts the most is that our leaders do not mind being the “gun for hire”. You asked the question about Tavis repaying those that followed his advice. Please do not ever go that route again, as it, the question, should have never been asked to begin with if the level of integrity within a person was at the level it should be at. Slavery could not have happened without insider assistance, as the Black chiefs sold off other tribal members to the white captains of the luxury slave cruise ships back in the day. The bottom line is that we make the mistake of thinking that we have actually made progress, when in reality we are back at square one. We need to take a deep breath, ask for the Lord’s guidance through the valley of the shadow of death, and realign ourselves to understanding that we can help each other ourselves and do not need to be told how to do what is right by any other entity. As Bob Marley stated in the song WAR, until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance that the color of his eyes, there’s got to be war yeah. To the sister Rev. who lost her home, my thoughts, love, and prayers go out to you, but you need to seek legal redress on this issue. Being in Texas, I see that same old BS going on, especially on the East side of Austin, where people have come in and swooped up the property of Black families for back taxes or the fact that flight took place when it was time to move on up to bigger and what was portrayed as better migratory moves to the Burbs. As a people we have got to get a grip on the situation. While I can not speak for everyone, I can help by starting with myself. So in closing Rev, if you need a place to stay, Texas is calling out to you, with no hidden agenda, only to help you get back on your feet. Peace out, Papacool.

  9. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Get a Grip, Get a Grip.

    I’m an adult, so I have no intention of getting into a spitball fight with you. But I just had to say this: I just love to hear people like you (and I’m sure you’re a racist White boy) get hostile like you are, because it let’s me know that you’re miserable – just like I like you.

  10. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Jubilee To Showcase The Art Of Claiborne Parish
    BY SUSAN T. HERRING, Editor, The Guardian-Journal

    African American artist, Alma Lennear of Minden, will be exhibiting her works as well as selling her paintings Saturday at the Claiborne Jubilee. She comes from a long line of educators who have lived in and around Claiborne Parish since the days her great-grandfather, Richard Wattree, founded the Wattree School using the Bible as the reading book. A self taught artist, Ms. Lennear’s work features both portraits of historic figures as well as Biblical scenes. Come to the Jubilee and visit with a most interesting woman!

  11. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Kunta Kinte,

    There is only one Wattree family in the United States. My family immigrated to the U.S. from France in the early 1800s. My great, great, Uncle, Richard Wattree established the Wattree School back in the day to teach Black people to read and write. My uncle, and the school, is mentioned in an article in a Louisiana newspaper covering another one of my relatives who paints portraits of historic Black figures. Many people in the Wattree family are educators to this day. I used to trip off of my grandfather, who could say his ABCs backwards faster than I could forward. My grandmother, Lealer, was the first Black salesperson hired at Mayco (now, Macy’s), and later, the first Black woman hire by North American Rockwell during WWII.

  12. get a grip says:

    Too bad U can’t even THINK! That’s why u and your offspring will always be 2nd class citizens! U guys can’t even fight your way out of a paper bag. Not a one of U have done anything with your miserable lives but led youth down the wrong path. Now chew on that while you spread your propaganda!

  13. Kunta Kinte says:

    Brother WATTREE what is the orgin of your name?

    1.The beginning of something’s existence.
    2.A person’s social background or ancestry.

    source – genesis – beginning – provenance – derivation

  14. @ Brother Kunta Kinte and Brother Wattree

    You are absolutely right about the names, but it goes further than that because we lost our language, history and culture. This is why it is so hard for us to work together. We have totally lost our identity and taken on another’s. This is also the reason why we rely so much on the government, rather than ourselves to solve our problems.

    So in a round about way Brother Wattree this does fit into what you’re saying because if we had our own banks, I’d like to think we wouldn’t do what Wells Fargo did to our people and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. At least I hope not. For the solutions to this problem and others, click on my name.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  15. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Kunta Kinte,

    Remain focused. That’s not the issue we’re addressing here.

  16. Eric L. Wattree says:


    That’s the bottom line. Tavis has to be one of two things – either he colluded with Wells Fargo to defraud the Black community, or he’s too dumb be trying to advise Black people on anything – and especially, what’s in our best interest.

  17. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Get A Grip,

    By declaring everyone who disagrees with you clowns, you’ve betrayed the very kind of narrow-minded, counterproductive, and divisive mentality that led to the creation of the Klan. So if you were White, you’d probably be a racist Republican marching around shouting that you want your country back from those tree swinging, urban monkeys. Thus,you true intellectual brother, wears a sheet. Think about that.

  18. Deeann D. Mathews says:

    I attended one of Wells Fargo’s so-called “Wealth Building” seminars, and I made a test of the Wells representatives afterwards to see just how far they would go with my profile. If I had let them, they would have saddled me with a mortgage for a house in San Francisco based merely on my credit score, a house which cost more than 30 TIMES as much as my entire yearly salary had been BEFORE MY LAYOFF. “Oh, you’ll get another job,” the rep glibly said… and at that point I knew the economy was headed for a collapse, and Black people would suffer the most. It was years before I could even hear Tavis Smiley’s name without fury, for he helped Wells lure in a lot of Black people who could not afford those mortgages. I certainly would feel better about him and his work on poverty today if he would return that money he made off the misery of Black people.

  19. Kunta Kinte says:


    Sorry about the previous link

  20. Kunta Kinte says:

    In a country where 535 people control a population of 311,914,040 people and 1% of that population controls over 50% of the wealth one would think of an apartheid system. Also, estimate GDP around $15.3 trillion / 311,914,040 = 49.051 PPP. One should compare GDP and the Deficit and wonder why there is no equilibrium. I once heard Dick Gregory say “A bird has to have two wings to fly”. It seems to me that the left wing and the right wing are moving in perfect harmony and the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. I agree with Dr West, we need to get this bird to fly in our direction. I wonder, and I HOPE someone can answer the following question:


    P.S. When are we going to get rid of these Government Names (slave names) and discover our real ID. What would happen if this country witnessed all Black Americans seperating from White Americans by name. No longer will Jefferson (white) and Jefferson (black) share the same last name. Same as Jackson, Williams, Johnson etc. Black Americans are the only race in this country not branded by their own indentity. What would the Whites think? Most Blacks would be afraid of losing their jobs, cars, houses and education. They will say “whats in a name”. What would happen. Out


  21. ladyday61 says:

    Cornell and Tavis need to just come out and they can stop the hate.

  22. get a grip says:

    While u clowns debate this nonsense Obama has declared war on the poor and small business. IRS has descended on the Poor’s earned income credit in the name of revenue collection which Obama signed into law. Guess what, u zombies r stuck on black/white, democrat/republican have seen your social security tax increase from 4.2 to 6.2 percent again with law signed by Obama. Topping it all off, Eric Wattree and Cornel West were aware of Obama’s misdeeds to the poor but went all out on promoting this fraud and placing hate in the minds of our youth. Now is the time for sane minded adults to focus on the well being of their families and dismount from all these clowns that are paid to keep the black community spiraling out of control.

  23. Eric L. Wattree says:

    A Comment on “A Question For Both Tavis Smiley and Cornel West”
    In the attached article, I’ve tried to demonstrate, without a doubt, that Cornel West is extremely selective in his disgust. After what has been pointed out above about the disgusting behavior of his sidekick, Tavis Smiley, instead of addressing that issue, he found the time to try to throw ice water on this auspicious moment in Black and American history by complaining about Barack Obama using Martin Luther King’s Bible to take the oath of office.
    It is also curious that his supporters, the very people who are most critical of what they call President Obama’s “failure to do enough for Black people,” are extremely defensive about what Tavis Smiley has done TO BLACK PEOPLE. Consistency dictates that if they’re angry with Obama, they should be furious with Tavis Smiley, but instead, they look for excuses to defend Smiley. Why is that? It sorta makes one wonder what is the TRUE source of their hostility towards the president.
    Could it possibly be BLIGOTRY – Black-on-Black racism? It does exist, you know – Black people are the product of the very same racist environment as White people – so we’ve got to see it for what it is. Tavis Smiley and Cornel West weren’t nearly as hostile towards Bush as they are President Obama – so much so, in fact, that they’re being FEATURED on Republican websites.
    If you question the concept of bligotry, think about Clarence Thomas, and Herman Cain. Either one of them would support sending all of us Back to Africa. And further, while Cornel West pays lip service to “loving his people,” he’s never taught at a Black school in his ENTIRE CAREER! That in itself clearly demonstrates that he’s devoted his life to promoting Cornel West, not the Black community. He’s just used us as a prop to gain publicity – just like many other “Public Scholars” are currently doing.
    Four hundred years of this twisted mentality is more than enough. It’s time to bring that to an end – AND NOW!

  24. ulo media says:

    Even a dinosaur knows our condition.

  25. ulo media says:

    The big reason black folks are in the condition is our wealthy black people don’t build foundations for their communities. Everybody pimps the Poor from churches to politicians to entertainers. We as a group will continue in this quagmire for many more decades.

  26. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Soul Man,
    That’s a very passionate statement, but I’ve been around for awhile, so I’ve heard statements of similar passion during Cointelpro, which brought down the civil rights movement.
    You know, it’s funny. Every since I published this article, it seems that the same people who are most critical of Barack Obama, are most defensive of Tavis Smiley. That’s curious, because one would think that the people who are most critical of Obama for “not doing enough for Black people” would be the most outraged over what Tavis has done TO Black people. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. That causes me to wonder whether their hatred of Obama is actually about what he’s allegedly not doing for Black people, or could it really be that they have the same problem with a Black man in the White House as the White bigots? It’s called “bligotry” – Black-on-Black bigotry: “Who that nigga think he is?”
    Black people are the product of the very same racist environment as White folks, so some of us are just as racist towards other Blacks as any racist Hillbilly. If you need evidence of that, just ask yourself one question – when was the last time you heard of anybody doing a drive-by in a sheet? You could also ask yourself, how many dark-skinned sisters do you see in hip hop videos? There’s not many, are there?
    Now, think about people like Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain, do you really think they love Black people? I don’t think so. So we need to come to terms with the concept of bligotry. Our refusal to believe it exists is what allows it to exist.
    How many of us know Black bosses on our jobs who treat White employees better than they do Black employees? The corporate structure is full of them. In fact, many businesses and corporations have built bligotry into their business plan. They’ve placed appropriately bigoted Blacks in middle management to do their dirty work for them. You see, they know that it is next to impossible for one Black person to bring a successful EEO discrimination case against another Black person. So they select foolishly brainwashed Black people to carryout their discriminatory policies.
    So we’ve got to wake up. This madness has been having a negative impact on the Black community for over 400 years. So, Soul Man, maybe you should ask yourself why you’re so mad at Black people, but you haven’t said a word about Tavis, who herded Black people to the slaughter.
    White folks don’t put up with such mentality, because they have sense enough to know that it threatens their survival. They call it treason.

  27. The Soul Man says:

    Man ya’ll Reverend Herman Cain and Abelites are crazy, The slave boat left you on the banks of freedom and you swam to get on board!!! But this is America and it is your God given free agency to be a dumb a_s to carry water in a basket

  28. DaTruth says:

    Most of these self appointed black spokes men are nothing but opportunistic con men, same goes for many black preachers. Just plain sad.

  29. Jane says:

    Another question: When Django Unchained came out Tavis loudly complained on the Daily Beast that Tarintino would not have made a similar movie about the Holocaust (although he has) and Hollywood would not allow a lighthearted movie about the Holocaust to be made (although they’ve made six). But since Tavis is so concerned about black-Jewish double standards why isn’t he pointing out that he, Cornel West, Jesse Jackson, Russell Simmons, and the NAACP openly promote the black anti-semetic group Nation of Islam? Tavis is on NPR and PBS. Would these organizations allow a white man who promoted David Duke on the air? I don’t think so. Why do the same black people who whine about Emett Till and Trayvon Martin never give a rat’s ass about Yankel Rosenbaum? Yeah, Tavis, I’m very aware of the double standards between blacks and Jews and 99% of them go in your favor. How about addressing that?

  30. Kevin says:

    Interesting article.

  31. Richard Coleman says:

    Thank you

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!