What’s Motivating Some of Obama’s Black Critics?


Cornel West - Tavis

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com

CNN columnist L Z Granderson has written a “thought-piece” that may help some people understand why critics like Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West are so “over the top” in their criticism of President Obama and his remarks regarding the Trayvon Martin and the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial.

Granderson comes to many of the same conclusions that I have written about over the years as to why the self-serving Smiley rants against the President.  Both of us believe this may have started during the presidential campaign back in 2008 when then candidate Obama sent his wife to speak on his behalf at Smiley’s corporately sponsored “State of the Black Union” forum in New Orleans.

The man was running for President.  Here’s an excerpt of Barack Obama’s letter to Smiley explaining his situation: 

In the final stretch, I will be on the campaign trail everyday in states like Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin talking directly with voters about the causes that are at the heart of my campaign and the State of the Black Union forum such as affordable healthcare, housing, economic opportunity, civil rights and foreign policy. I am committed to touching every voter, and working to earn their vote.

That is why with regret, I am not able to attend the forum. I understand that you have declined the campaign’s request to have Michelle Obama speak on my behalf. I ask that you reconsider. Michelle is a powerful voice for the type of real change America is hungry for. No one knows my record or my passion for leading America in a new direction more than Michelle Obama.

Tavis turned down the offer of having Michelle Obama attend.  Michelle Obama is not “chopped liver.”  She is as smart, if not smarter than her husband and she’s a damn good public speaker.  Many observers, myself included feel this was the start of the rift that got Tavis’ panties all bunched up in a wad.  From that point on, Tavis has been whining and complaining like a baby.

Smiley and West remind me of the two Muppet characters Statler and Waldorf who sit in the balcony and complain about everything.

Statler&Waldorf tavis-smiley-cornel-west

Granderson does a great job of providing a timeline of events that led us to this point.  I doubt that anyone will ever be able to figure out the “logic” that is driving the behavior of Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, but Granderson does a damn good job.  His article is certainly worth the read.

Click here to read the entire article.

L.Z. Granderson LZ Granderson writes a weekly column for CNN.com.  He’s also a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com.

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