Rev Sharpton responds to Tavis Smiley about Obama’s Black Agenda

Smiley, Sharpton Spar Over Black Agenda, Obama • A debate ignited yesterday over America’s black agenda between Rev. Sharpton and Tavis Smiley.
• In a commentary on "The Tom Joyner Morning Show," Tavis Smiley, host of "Tavis Smiley" on PBS, announced plans for a discussion in Chicago on March 20 entitled "We Count: The Black Agenda is the American Agenda."
• As part of his comments on the TJMS, he said:
“Over the past few weeks a chorus of Black leaders have started singing a new song. I must have missed that choir rehearsal, because I don’t know the words to this new hymn. The President doesn’t need a Black agenda, they sing. He’s not the president of Black America, he’s the president of all America, and he need not focus specifically on the unique challenges Black America is facing, they sing... I know “What’s going on.” I know “We shall overcome,” but I don’t know this new tune, the president doesn’t need a Black agenda…We have asked some of these lyricists to show up who apparently wrote this new song to explain why they penned these words. It’s time for a choir rehearsal so that we all are singing from the same page...Do we think we can give President Obama a pass on black issues and somehow, when he is no longer in office, resurrect the moral authority to hold future presidents accountable to our concerns?”
• Smiley’s concerns were based on comments published in an article and a recent meeting between Pres. Obama, Sharpton, NAACP Pres. Ben Jealous and National Urban League Pres. Marc Morial to discuss the jobs bill.
• In the afternoon, Smiley called in to Sharpton’s radio talk show; Sharpton said while he, Morial and Jealous talked with Obama, the focus was on getting aid to the communities with the greatest need, and many of those communities have a majority black population with high unemployment.

“We didn’t ask for a race bill because we didn’t think it would pass. We asked for a grace bill, where jobs would go to where people are impacted.”

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Comment by Don Brandon on February 26, 2010 at 2:20pm
WARNING!!! Beware of FLYING BABIES. Of course we know that babies don’t really fly so here’s what I mean. My wife and I went to Italy some years ago and before we left on a planned excursion we were given that warning. IT seems that Gypsies are very active in Italy and one of the tactics they used was to toss a doll that looked very much like a live baby into the air. Compassionate people are naturally concerned about the child’s welfare so they would attempt to catch the baby. While everyone’s hands were extended in an effort to catch the baby one of the Gypsies would PICK YOUR POCKET. This so called Black Agenda, in my opinion is a FLYING BABY designed to draw our attention away from the real issues that affect us.

Here’s a larger point that many seemed to have grasped. We need to cultivate business ownership in the black community. We seem to have no voice because we have no Economic Clout. Many of us teach our children to get a good education so they can get a good job. How many of us teach our children to get a good education, get a good job then take what you learn on that job to start your own business?

Galileo Galilei, an Italian philosopher states the following “YOU CANNOT TEACH A MAN ANYTHING; YOU CAN ONLY HELP HIM DISCOVER IT IN HIMSELF”. Is it in you to help your child our someone else’s child to find their inner entrepreneur?

Keep Growing Toward the Sun!!
Comment by Smiling_Eyzes on February 26, 2010 at 11:12am
President Obama's 1st Year "Black Agenda" Accomplishments:

Since 40,000 Americans die prematurely and unnecessarily each year due to lack of health insurance and Blacks are disproportionately represented in that number, advocating for health care reform advances the "Black Agenda."

President Obama managed the Bush Recession and averted a full scale Depression by signing the stimulus bill into law. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office "in the third quarter of 2009, an additional 600,000 to 1.6 million people were employed in the United States" due to that legislation. The White House Council of Economic Advisers, CBO has increased its estimate to 800,000 to 2.4 million additional employed through the fourth quarter of 2009. The New York Times reported that the "consensus" among "dispassionate analysts" is that "the stimulus package, messy as it is, is working," citing nonpartisan analyses of gross domestic product and total employment figures by several companies specializing in economic forecasting. Saving and/or creating jobs advances the "Black Agenda" since unemployment is always higher in our communities.

President Obama signed legislation continuing unemployment benefits for the unemployed who are disproportionately Black and other minority.

President Obama lowered taxes for 85% of Americans. Contrary to popular opinion, Blacks pay taxes, so this act advances the "Black Agenda."

President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay of Act 2009 into law. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act expands the rights of workers to sue employers over wage discrimination claims. Since Black people are disproportionately subjected to unequal pay and discrimination, this act advances the "Black Agenda."

President Obama signed a bill expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover 4 million more lower-income uninsured (disproportionately poor and minority) children.

President Obama signed Credit Card Reform into law providing the "most sweeping changes to the credit card industry in 40 years," adding restrictions on interest rate increases and fees and restricting the marketing of credit cards to college students. -USA Today- Since Blacks have historically been disproportionately subjected to higher interest and sub prime credit credit lending practices, this act advances the "Black Agenda."

President Obama reversed a Bush policy which had limited funding of embryonic stem cell research. Since Blacks contract cancer, incurable diseases and every other anomaly at disproportionate rates, this act advances the Black agenda.

President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention Tobacco Control Act, which, for the first time, gave the U.S. Food & Drug Administration the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco. Black people continue to smoke disproportionately and develop preventable diseases as a result, so this act advances the "Black Agenda."

President Obama signed the Edward Kennedy Serve America Act, which expands the scope of AmeriCorps and provides opportunities for young people and senior citizens to join in service programs.

-nonexhaustive list-
Comment by Smiling_Eyzes on February 26, 2010 at 10:51am
Perhaps the "Black Agenda" should include educating and preparing ourselves to create or take advantage of opportunities. Does Tavis think this is President Obama's responsibility too?

This is mere speculation, but perhaps there's an agenda to keep us ignorant, uninformed, angry and unprepared. "Black" personalities get to rail against the President, legitimately or not, maintain their high profile personality statuses, attract sponsors and sell books. In the meantime, back in the hood ... .
Comment by Maeistro Apollonian on February 26, 2010 at 10:04am
I’m confused as to the beef between Tavis Smiley and Rev. Al Sharpton over a ‘black agenda’ by our current president. When has any American president (and American society) NOT had a ‘black’ agenda specifically targeting African Americans? Slavery laws, Emancipation Proclamation, 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments, Black Codes, Jim Crow, Civil Rights laws, Racial Profiling, Police Brutality, Criminal (in)justice system, Prison Industrial Complex, etc. That’s called ‘business as usual in America. Where’s the Beef???
Comment by Alisonty03 on February 26, 2010 at 8:39am Check out this movie!!!! I saw it a few years ago, there were many interesting angles to our so called war on drugs not known. This movie outlined how during the Clinton administration he had a drug czar naned Mahaffey(sic) during this man's reign crack use among the professionals making good money was down and high end marijuana became the drug of choice to this group suddendly weed laws became dragonian (jail time for having an certain amount and deeming you a distributor [felony] as opposed to a causual user[misdomer]) in essence rendered a large group of individuals unable to vote in elections and we all know the damage that wrecked duriing the 2000 elections!!!!! My point is Clinton ultimately was not the black man's friend as we assume he was!!!! Yeah, times were better,my money was good and I'm not a drug user, but some individuals were criminalized when previously rehabilitation was an option. Consider how our prison population boomed during that period!!!!!
Comment by Ann Jones on February 26, 2010 at 2:34am
Tavis has been hosting town hall meeting to create black this and that, but never seems to come up with anything but book sale or another small time tv show or documentary. It is time for Tavis to go get a real job and quit riding the coat tails of people who are trying to achieve rights for all people.... If you have lived in the U.S. for the past 11 years, everyone but the truly rich was taken advantage of and have watch their "american dream" stall !!!!!!!
Comment by Alisonty03 on February 25, 2010 at 1:27pm
Hell, I;m trying to recall if he held Bill Clinton to the same accountability he's holding Pres. Obama to!!!!!
Comment by Trebrehu on February 25, 2010 at 1:01pm
Tavis Smiley has led the charge on holding President Barack Obama accountable... And this is true, we the people should hold our elected officials accountable for their deeds... Yet the question remains..... What other President has Mr. Smiley led the accountability charge on????!!!!!! He sure didn't make this much noise with Mr. Bush!!!!!!
Comment by Smiling_Eyzes on February 25, 2010 at 12:39pm
Ignorance in our community is mind boggling! Is President Obama required to have a Black agenda or should we [Black People] have a Black Agenda? When the Jobs Bill passes will we meet the requisite qualifications to compete for the positions? We b**** and moan about all white juries; yet we refuse to serve or say stupid s*** to get kicked off the jury pool. E.g., "I would never listen to the PoPo's testimony cause of how they treated Pookie" [who is a triple murderer]. Isn't that precisely the reason that we should serve, our ability to listen to and evaluate the truth on both sides? Shouldn't our "Black Agenda" involve civic responsibility including registering to vote and voting in EVERY election and jury service?

What about our responsibility to educate ourselves in the issues, understand the political process and hold our elected officials accountable on every level? Should that be part of our Black Agenda? What about making a commitment to meet with our childrens' educators on a regular basis and to volunteer in schools and community organizations? We aint got no jobs so we're free, correct? Part of our Black agenda? Shouldn't zero tolerance for criminality and violence in our communities be part of our Black agenda? How about making our children get into the habit of reading FREE library books on a regular basis as part of our Black agenda?

Why do we wait on others to develop a Black agenda or respond to ours? Why should any elected official, other person or entity do for us what we refuse to do for ourselves?

Did Tavis demand that Bush have or respond to the Black agenda? Bush's response? Tavis and all the rest of us could kiss the Bush Administrations' collective a****. Please!
Comment by mercedes darby on February 25, 2010 at 10:23am
I have said it many of times everyone no matter the color or the race needs to take responsibility for themselves. People arent getting jobs look at the reason not what colore they are everyone is having problems in this economy. Re educate or educate yourselfs find a way there is if we look. Instead of looking for some one to fix it for you why dont you get up and fix it yourself. The president can only do so much along with sharpton and travis but unless we pick up the ball and go with it it is just that an idea that went no where. Rember it is always easier to blame anyone but yourself.


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