May 31, 2011

Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Stroke Themselves While Discussing Backlash on Obama Critique [VIDEO]

Soulclap to RiPPa for pointing us to this video. This video follows the Truthdig diatribe in which Dr. Cornel West called President Obama a 'Black puppet' and a 'Black mascot'. West also claimed that President Obama as a 'certain fear of free Black men'.  Tavis Smiley decided to use his PBS show to give Dr. Cornel West a chance to dig out from the hole that he dug for himself in the earlier interview with Chris Hedges.

Watch the full episode. See more Tavis Smiley.

Personally, I feel that West and Smiley are still suffering from bad feelings because they aren't in Obama's inner circle. I truly feel that West harbors a grudge because he didn't get an invitation to the 2008 inauguration. The Boston Globe agrees that West went too far. What is your take on Cornell West and Tavis Smiley?


msladydeborah said...

What has this whole situation really produced? That is my question. Is it moving anyone to start a local, regional or national organizing effort on behalf of poor or working people?

When West had the opportunity to provide some meat into the discussion on the Black Agenda, instead he started a silly and very personal fight with Sharpton. While that was news-where's the agenda at?

Barack can be critized on some of the policies that he has enacted and some that have not been raised.
Is he solely responsible for the situation of Black America? Hell No! But then neither is West or Smiley at this point. I listen to them every Friday evening on NPR. There's a whole lot of talking going on-but what's the plan to turn things around? That has yet to emerge off of either of their lips.

Let's keep it real Villager-there are some of our folks who will sit on their behinds and wait to be saved instead of doing whatever they can to help turn things around. Some of our folks are not going to get a good job because they do not have the skills to do so. Others have had so much trouble in their time-they carry that monkey of problems on their back forever.

People who believe that Obama was our Moses need to get a clue-he's not. If there is so much sincere concern for our people-why isn't there a movement in the making.

We need some leaders who are about the business of doing just that-leading. I've had enough of the nonsense-ego-and explinations that really don't cover over the personal hang-ups of other adults.

Gunfighter said...

Dr. West needs to get over himself.

Villager said...

Gunfighter - Amen!

Lady D - Wow. I appreciate you for your comments and for your willingness to 'keep it real'. I suspect that there are many in our community who are doing the grassroots organizing to make things better. They simply don't get the exposure that they need. Your post reminds me that I need to do a better job of supporting these unsung heroes with the weekly 'Good News Tuesday' meme here on my blog.

re: Tavis and Cornel. If you think that they are simply smacking their lips without making a difference in our community ... why do you listen to them every Friday?

Ameritemple said...

An Open Letter To Cornel West & His BFF, Tavis Smiley:

Brother West, you have allowed rational thought to become eclipsed by personal bias simply because you were denied access to the president’s “inner circle”. Even more irrational is your inane notion that somehow, despite all the difficult issues and the morass this president inherited, he should have addressed long-standing socio-economic ills in the ‘hood by now. And, that by failing to do so, he is an abject failure beholden to the oligarchs and plutocrats. Your vitriolic, personal rant starkly illustrates the typical behavior exhibited by proverbial crabs in a barrel. But in this case I’d go even further and suggest that your revenge campaign launched under the guise of “disappointing philosophical differences” and your obvious desire to thwart the president’s success, also reminds us African Americans of the age-old arguments between the delusional field negro, such that you are in this scenario, and his more successful house variant!

Your diatribe is more fitting for a Princeton/Harvard freshman debate exercise on the quad and is hardly worthy of serious consideration. Nevertheless, whether it’s your failure to grasp the full reality of the President’s role, the myopic effect of your self-anointed intelligence, or the self-inflicted confusion created by your annoying penchant for extreme verbosity or your cranial synapses becoming dulled by the pain of picking that unkempt ‘fro, one thing is clear: neither you, Smiley nor any of your like-minded ilk possessed of the “pure blackness gene” have the strength, fortitude or backbone to deliver on the Herculean social task you have unilaterally ordered up for this president.

Many of us in the African American community have long disputed the Tea Baggers’ claim of racial diversity in their ranks. We derided those claims in part because we dismissed the notion that any representative sample of our brothers and sisters (particularly the educated ones) could hold those views let alone espouse them in a public forum. The word “Bagga” has now become synonymous with those who harbor unrealistic notions or possess an aversion to things factual or one predisposed to conspiratorial thinking, wild political notions and delusions, loathsome. You, Cornel, represent a turning point in that debate, an anomaly, if you will—i.e., a Bagga in Black, aka, a BIB!

Last I checked President Obama was not the Messiah. He never touted his Oracle credentials. He never promised every man or woman a job or that he’d make them immune from Wall Street. Indeed, he never campaigned on or professed to being the second coming of Martin. Or that he’d focus on African American issues to the exclusion of everything else. He merely promised to work hard for the American people (all of them) and to be honest with us at all times. I say he has done extremely well in that regard despite rabid opposition from the GOP and from some within his ranks, including detractors like yourself and Smiley. So, if you believe you can do better brother West, then I suggest you start a freakin’ PAC, throw your hat in the ring and hit the campaign trail. Otherwise, (and here, like you, I deliberately resort to the ad hominem) shut your gap-toothed pie hole, put away the Afro Sheen, pick and black power paraphernalia, get a haircut and realize that on his worst day, when honest, harsh criticism is warranted, this president still has more smarts, leadership skills, empathy and good will in his pinky toe than anything that the GOP or some lame, third-party West/Smiley candidate can muster…brother!

Anonymous said...

I have to say I agree with everything Cornel West said. CW has worked with grassroots organisations across the country and continues to do very important work in prisons - so whats his agenda? To bring the discussion around to black people, working class people, queer people, those in prisons; to be informative and to present an alternative progressive voice in the media. To wake people up to the reality of the majority lives in this country.

Villager said...

Sokari - No doubt that Cornel West has done good works. I even enjoyed his cameo in the Matrix trilogy! I just question his rationale for denigrating President Obama in such a petty manner. Can't the good works and the passions of Cornel West stand on their own? Do they require him to question the manhood of our president?

Ameritemple - Powerful words. Thank you for taking time to share them. I appreciate your open letter ... however, I think that your points are powerful enough without the final paragraph in which you get personal with Cornel West's appearance.

Mitch said...

I've always been a Dr. Cornel West fan, but I have to go against him here. You know, one can use certain words that have different meanings and then say that everyone else misinterpreted them.

In this case Dr. West would be disingenuous; he's an intelligent man, and he knew exactly how his words were going to be interpreted. Anyone making the statement "President Obama is a white man with brown skin", white or black, knows what they're stirring up.

It's things like this that take away from the important things that Dr. West says he cares about. It's definitely about him, even if he said it wasn't. Sorry Doctor, but there was absolutely no love here.

Villager said...

Mitch - I agree with you totally...