Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cornel West, Tavis Smiley, President Obama, Martin Luther King, Bible

Dr. Cornel West, Still Trying to be Relevant

By:  Mildred Robertson
So as many of us are still on a euphoric high over the second inauguration of the first African American President of the United States, Cornel West is making noise, trying to be relevant.
West, who joined commentator Tavis Smiley in castigating the President because he did not “kiss their ring” as he ascended to the position of most influential Black man in America (the world), now wants to say that the President is unworthy to lay his hand on Martin Luther King’s bible. Ironically, West would have probably called Dr. King an “Uncle Tom” if he was leading his nonviolent revolution today. West speaks out of both sides of his mouth as he says he is glad right wing politicians did not overtake the White House, but then calls its current occupant a “Republican in blackface.” He disrespects both the office and the man, neither of which deserve it.
The troubles this nation faces have been long in the making. No one, not even Barack Obama, who brought about an unprecedented shift in American politics, could easily dispatch them. West, just like the right wing politicians, has plenty to say about what is wrong, but offers no solutions. While President Obama did not achieve all that I had hoped for in his first term, I am hopeful and optimistic that he will make meaningful strides toward greater equality for all American citizens. And, no president has ever realized all my hopes and dreams, and it is doubtful that any would or could. But it is a fact that, under President Obama’s leadership, this country has moved forward.
What gets West’s goat, and that of his sidekick Tavis Smiley, is that the search for the “one voice” to replace that of Dr. King as the “leader” of this nation’s African American community has now become a moot one.  It was always a fool’s quest, but one upon which the media enthusiastically embarked upon numerous occasions. It was a journey that many times ended at the doorstep of Tavis or Cornel or Jessie or Al.
But it was Tavis and Cornel who could not adapt.  The fact is they never spoke for me. I sometimes agreed with them, and many times did not. The African American community is not of one monolithic mind. Our beliefs and convictions are represented across the full spectrum of ideologies and opinions.
The bottom line is; what is good for America is good for me, because I am an American. If President Obama’s policies serve America well, then he serves me well, because I am an American. If President Obama honors Doctor King by placing his hand on the bible that gave strength to this iconic American, then I am honored, because I am American.
Cornel West would better serve his country by putting his massive education to work trying to find  solutions to the many problems our country faces, rather than trying to be the number one go-to-Negro on all things Black!
If he wants to be relevant he needs to stop trying to be the chief African American spokesperson. We have one of those. He is the President of the United States.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Mildred for framing this debate in a positive way. My words were not as kind.

Anonymous said...

Well said Mildred. While I will defend West and Smiley's right to express their opinions, both of them, lost credibility long ago. They do not speak nor represent the aspirations of our people and have become somewhat akin to buffoons.

Both are well educated, articulate and talented but have allowed the "crab barrel" mentality to cloud their judgement.

So Sad.

Bruce in Carolina

Anonymous said...

West & Smiley are not exactly go to guys in the grand scheme of "how to help with things negatively affecting African Americans". A bus tour to tell the President that they're annoyed with him for not hiring a "thank you Tavis & Cornel" skywriter, really? Where was the bus tour when W promoted the "War on Terrorism" to tell him that they were sick of young men and women being sent to die? Did I miss their big fundraiser for the people in the Coney Island projects after Hurricane Sandy displaced hundreds of them? They're behaving like a couple of disgruntled deacons whose names were left off the Men's Day program. No, I wouldn't say they were relevant either.