Jul 21, 2008

Recently, Tavis Smiley had some interesting things to say about Obama and race. Although Tavis is no longer a commentator on the Tom Joyner Morning Show (he did his last commentary on June 26), he still has his talk show and radio show in which to share his ideas.

Anyone who knows me know that I have really been disappointed with Mr. Tavis Smiley. I wasn't disappointed in the fact that he criticized Barack Obama moreso in the way in which he went about it. To me, it appeared that his criticisms of Obama were very one-sided. He didn't hold Hillary Clinton to the same level of accountability that he held Obama and I found that to be very disappointing. I believe this is the reason that many in Black America were disappointed in Mr. Smiley. I believe that we must hold Obama accountable to issues that are important to Black America, but we must hold all elected officials accountable to issues that are important to us. We can't just single out the ones that look like us to be accountable to us.

Continue reading to see what he said about Obama, race, and people's perception of him.
On Obama transcending race:
"There is no such thing in America as race transcendence, and Obama's going to find that out real soon," says Smiley, leaning into his words. As he sermonizes, he sheds suit jacket, tie and belt in succession, getting comfy in his spacious suite at KCET in Los Angeles after taping two installments of "Tavis Smiley"

On holding Obama accountable to issues that are important to Black America:
"Just because Barack Obama is black, doesn't mean he gets a pass on being held accountable on issues that matter to black people," Smiley says. "I'm not an Obama critic or a McCain critic. The term itself is dismissive and insulting."

On how black bloggers and others have perceived him in recent months:
"This is what I do — asking critical questions," Smiley says. "Now some of you regard it as keeping a brother down, holding a brother back. Because you regard it that way, you don't understand that this is the role that I've always played."



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