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Tavis Smiley: “The president owes Black folk. BIG time”

This past Sunday on “Meet the Press,” the presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said the following, “Latinos, women and young people — that is the new governing coalition.”


To be sure, there are Black folk in each of those categories. But since President Obama’s victory on Election Day, I have been troubled by the paltry attention paid to the record turnout amongst African Americans to make Mr. Obama only the fourth Democrat in a century to be re-elected to a second term.  I know Doris Kearns Goodwin, so I don’t think she intended to suggest that  Black votes don’t matter. But there is this creepy sense that in the midst of this historic moment in Black history, Black Americans are being pushed off stage.  And while Black Americans are being pushed off the stage, there is a growing debate on the internet and in the mainstream media about whether and how Black folk should push President Obama now that “he has nothing to lose.”

There’s a whole lot of pushing going on.

This is real simple for me. With all due respect to the formidable coalition of Latinos, women, and young voters, Barack Obama would not be sitting in the Oval Office right now had  Black folk stayed home in their “house slippers.”  African Americans are his most loyal constituency and everybody in the Obama re-election campaign and in the Obama White House knows it.  The president owes Black folk.  BIG time.

The poet Gwendolyn Brooks had this wonderful refrain, “the last of the loud.”   Respectfully, somebody has to remind the president day in and day out of the debt he owes Black America.  After four years of being sidelined and silenced, it’s time to get loud.  We have to be willing to engage even if we are “the last of the loud.”

Our Latino brothers and sisters immediately (as in the day after the election) jumped on a national media conference call to make it clear that they saved the president in some key battleground states. I ain’t mad at ‘em. That’s exactly what they should have done.  Black folk taught the disenfranchised masses how to make demands in the name of unarmed truth and unconditional love. Ready for the hard truth?  At the moment, our Latino brothers and sisters are better examples of the Black prophetic tradition than are Black folk.

Word now comes that many Black notables will join together at a national symposium later this week to discuss the state of Black America and the road ahead. We will see if Black leaders are finally ready to turn up the volume.  If we aren’t, well, we’re just going to get d*****d out over the next four years. There is a line of folk wrapped around the White House who intend to collect on the Obama promissory note they’ve been holding since 2008. Where are African Americans in that line? Are African Americans even in the line?

We celebrate this electoral victory today, but what about tomorrow?  How tragic would it be at the end of eight years to be confronted by economic data which suggests (as the data does now) that in the Obama era Black folk lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category?  I shudder at the very thought. So should you.

Are we going to be the last of the loud, or just the last?

-          Tavis Smiley

The post Tavis Smiley: The Last of the Loud appeared first on Black Like Moi.

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42 Responses to Tavis Smiley: “The president owes Black folk. BIG time”

  1. CEjOg Reply

    March 11, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    79129 583428I think one of your advertisements caused my browser to resize, you might want to put that on your blacklist. 238842

  2. jay Reply

    January 23, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Negros can’t handle the truth ! Wake up and smell whats really cooking in the US !! Truth will set you free..not denial. A d**d fish can swim down stream.. Awaken people ..sleep on sheeple..so sad.

  3. Peter D. Slaughter Reply

    December 17, 2012 at 11:22 am

    The real news,good word is this.
    This person does not owe black people anything overall.
    Black people on a very large scale owe it to themselves to make sure they rise above this slave type begging,plantation ddependent type paradigm once and for all.
    It need’s to be left in history and on the plantation where it came from.
    Once black’s on a large scale.
    All this begging massa and begging this other person can finally stop.
    With all the money that black people spend and waste on buying hair care products,trashy music,booze,weed,other drugs,gym shoes made in china,guns and ammo, & cigarettes.
    This is more than enough money to stop begging anybody for anything.

  4. toyia dunbar Reply

    December 15, 2012 at 9:54 am

    President Obama does not Owe the African Americans anything,get Right with the Lord thats,who you owe your Life Too you came into this World with Nothing,and you’re going out with Nothing Get a Grip on Life Tavis Smiley

  5. Ambassador Charles Linder Floyd Reply

    December 10, 2012 at 10:39 pm


    Dear Brother Earnest,

    You are right it was manipulated, but not by any manmade microwave! It was Yahshua_Jesus Christ-Yahweh_ GOD_is Salvation Plan WHO DID IT. My brother, man had displace this name out of the 2012 election: all we could hear was what Obama and Romney; SAID?

    The TORAH/BIBLE said, in Psalm 75: Psalm 75:5- “Lift not up your horn on high: speak [not with] a stiff neck. – Psalm 75:6- For promotion [cometh] neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.- Psalm 75:7- But God [is] the judge: he putteth down one, (Romney) and setteth up another (Obama).”

    Obama won nothing; it was GOD_ who selected him over Romney. To rule over this Fifth Revised Roman Gentile World Empire (Democracy/Clay): 1492-1619/20, 1712, 1776, 1781 and 1791 judged at 911 for this Republic/America. Red China (Communism/Iron- no-longer any need for a Deity). Is Babylon Kushite/Black King Nebuchadnezzar Dream as the Six and Final Gentile World Empire, (who will shake their fists in GOD’s_Face). For, which the stone hewed out of the mountain without hand will destroy in: World III First Battle of Armageddon at the end of Jacob’s times of troubles in the Tribulation Period.

    Please pray, that this Kushite President wake up to our true TORAH/BIBLE identity as Kushite, who gave birth to all Black Races, which was the builders of this world First Two Greatest World Empires-Babylon and Egypt. GOD_ left a special one of a kind; Kushite Blessing for this people in Psalm 68:31(b) Psalm 68:31- “Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.”

    Kushite Black Nubian Queen Beersheba King; Solomon mother gave a scathing-indictment for the “Black Plight In America” of us as a People; with a gross yearly income in our pockets:

    Proverbs 31:8,- “Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. – Proverbs 31:9- “Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”

    GOD_ is looking for a man or woman in 2012, to speak for this (dumb and poor and needy people): if Obama want, will you and Dell and myself be: that man chosen of GOD_ for this assignment in Ezekiel 22:30, “Ezekiel 22:30- “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”

    Reverend Brother Billy Graham has said, “That this is the saddest verse in all of the TORAH/BIBLE: 5+34=39+27=66 chapters, which make up the ONE VOLUME BOOK: Psalm 40:6 – Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. – Psalm 40:7- Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book [it is] written of me, – Psalm 40:8- I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart.”

    Ambassador Charles Linder Floyd

  6. Obed Norman Reply

    November 26, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    It’s nice to see Tavis celebrate President Obama’s re-election after campaigning so long against the President. What was the purpose of your poverty tour to Ohio and electoral battleground states? Ohio had an unemployment rate way below the national average. Well we had more sense than to listen to you Tavis but you are welcome to the celebration. And the President will continue to have our back as we continue to have his. And I welcome a fact-based exchange on anything I have stated here.

  7. moonhead Reply

    November 25, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I knew it. Just as soon as President Obama would win re-election, these gutter rats would come out of their holes, with their hands sticking out, looking for a handout. Tavis Smiley, Cornell West, Boyce Watkins, and Yvette Carnell are shameless miscreants, who will sell their own mothers to the devil for a buck. They are washed up trash, that not even the garbage man want to pick up. Now that Obama, has won, they think that he owes them something, and he does. He owes them a passport out of this country.

  8. Jacquie Reply

    November 24, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    to DAD:
    nurture your offspring instead of abandoning many of them. then keep them off the streets and in school . . . just like President Obama did. the end.

  9. DAD Reply

    November 18, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Memorandum to POTUS Re-Elect Barack H. Obama.

    TO: POTUS Barack H. Obama
    The White House – 1600 PA Avenue, N.W. – WDC

    FROM: Black Americans
    America Nationwide

    SUBJ: Black American Unemployment & Youth Violence

    Mr. Obama African American unemployment at 14.3% for black adults and over 40% for black youth is shameful, unacceptable, dangerous, and also undeniably the first major problem with the second being youth violence that Black America needs and expects you to urgently and effectively address.

    There is something else that must be mentioned to you in possible correlation to disproportionately high African American unemployment as a pertinent reminder and a fact that also can not and should not be ignored. The overwhelming vast majority of large employers and business owners in America are still White Americans.

    President Obama as you must or should well know already, extremely high and long term unemployment in the black community nationwide is not only devastating, but also fast breeds a host of other extremely serious and grave problems for many African American families, young adults, youth, and older citizens in every former income class across the board ranging from the formerly upper-income and middle-class to moderate and low-income. Herein we remind you of those problems.

    The serious and grave problems from extremely high and long term African American unemployment includes wiped out life savings and college tuition funds representative of rapid complete and irrevocable loss of years earned financial gains, home foreclosures, forced sale of other valuables to pay utility bills and purchase bare basic necessities, tremendous anger, depression, domestic violence, poverty, increased government spending for Food Stamp, Medicaid, and Homelessness social service programs, increases in divorce and broken families, a*****l and drug use, suicides, homicides, other crimes, re-occuring and first time jail and prison sentences, and absolutely quite full and unmitigated despair and hopelessness.

    President Obama with all due respect, Black America hereby trusts that you get the picture. We also know that a sincere congratulations to us and to you for your re-election is in order. Congratulations to you President Obama. Black America now for a second time again much hopes, looks forward to, and indeed very fully expects to see rapid emergency results of your new out-of-the-box-thinking to seriously address a powder keg of already 14.3% and steadily rising disproportionately high African American unemployment on both our and this nation’s behalf.

    Undeniably, African Americans nationwide faithfully, graciously, and overwhelmingly helped you to not only gain, but to also keep your job. Please do something bold to ensure that we are not repeatedly denied the same opportunity. Thank you.

    Black America

  10. truthbeliever Reply

    November 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I agree wholeheatedly that Smiley and Boyce Watkins are aimless and insignificant. you’re absolutely right that Black folk would be p****d off if President Obama had a special plan for white folk. Why can’t people see the whole picture? Please, Tavis, Boyce and the rest of you entitled people tell me exactly what it is you think the president should do to make only Black folk whole. Craziest bunch of bull I’ve heard in my life. Do you not have any critical-thinking skills? By the way, Black folk DO and DID vote in massive numbers. Had they not, Romney would have been president and then what would be your special request?

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