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Leave Tavis alone

Black people on the Internets generally can’t stand me, but then what have I ever done for the black community, other than provide some evidence that there’s at least one of us who reads, writes, and thinks on a regular basis?

(To think, I though I was doing you assholes a service.)

Tavis Smiley, on the other hand, has put ridonkulous amounts of time and effort over the years into trying to uplift the black community – hosting some of the few radio and TV programs that have featured intelligent discourse on the issues that we face, writing books, hosting conferences and what have you.

But all he had to do was run afoul of the black community’s new golden boy, Barack Obama, and now look at his standing in the black community. The supposedly intellectual jigs over on The Root are going off on him as if he was the one who canceled Girlfriends. Just because he had the sheer balls to ask Barack Obama to show up to one of his conferences.

Obama said he couldn’t go, supposedly because he was down in Texas trying to convince Mexicans to vote their emotions and not their race. (Let that one sink in for a bit.) But I think it’s obvious the real reason he didn’t want to go is because he doesn’t want to associate with black people. Lest the Mexicans get the wrong idea about him.

The other day, there was a story in the New York Times called “Seeking Unity, Obama Feels Pull of Racial Divide,” which suggested that Obama was trying to unify the country by not associating with other black leaders; but I think it’s obvious to anyone with the sense god gave geese that his strategy all along has been to prove to white people that he’s not too black by throwing other black leaders under the bus.

Which is why, a year or so ago, he scheduled the event to announce that he was running for president on the same day as another one of Tavis Smiley’s conferences. Then he tried to play the shit off like, “How was I supposed to be there, when I was in Illinois kicking off my campaign for the presidency?” But you wonder if there ever would have been a time that he was free, especially now that he’s pulled this shit again.

The Times story also goes into how, back when there were some issues in the black community with regard to whether or not he was black, Obama would send his South Side of Chicago-bred, occasionally tactless wife to give speeches to black audiences, rather than actually showing up himself. Which is the same shit he tried to pull this time.

But Tavis Smiley wasn’t going for it. He was like, fuck that shit. If you feel it’s important enough to be here, bring your black (-ish) ass down here. But don’t be trying to send your wife in your place, like you’ve been doing all along. In fact, she can’t even come. She’s not invited. (Of course I’m paraphrasing, but he did say his wife couldn’t come.)

And I don’t blame him. People have tried to make it seem as if this was some sort of dick-measuring contest between Barack and Tavis (no homo), but this is the second time Obama has done this. And yet, the Senator managed to find time this year to kick it with seemingly every third cracka-ass cracka in Iowa.

In a blog post over at – again – The Root the other day, my boy jimi izrael suggested that Obama was in the right, in that black community should be beyond looking towards Civil Rights-style leaders at this point. But this issue doesn’t strike me as a matter of Tavis Smiley trying to play the Rebb’n Al n’ Jesse role.

To me, it seems like Tavis Smiley has got some concerns about the extent to which Barack Obama will be willing to advocate on behalf on the black community. And based on the way he keeps giving Tavis and other black leaders the shaft (nullus), I’d say he might be onto something. I know Barack Obama has made it a point in his campaign to note that he’s running for president of the entire country, not just the black community, but I wonder if that’s what the black community really needs at this point.

Back in the 1990s, when which ever one of these black authors called Bill Clinton the first black president, she was derided for suggesting that he was black just because he seemed black, when all he was doing was cutting off welfare, throwing black kids in jail in record numbers, and blowing the shit out of Africa. My fear is that an Obama presidency is just gonna be like another Clinton presidency. We’re gonna feel all warm inside, because he’s “black,” but what are we really gonna get from it? Nullus?

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