Tavis Smiley lists all the things Obama is doing right

Eddie asks Tavis Smiley to answer the charges that he's been too critical of Obama.

Thanks to the Mo Kelly report for the footage.

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Comment by Eric L. Wattree on April 8, 2010 at 11:59am
I can fully understand both the comments of Enhager and Ernie. I used to have similar feelings about Tavis. But after the 2008 State of Black America broadcast I began to listen very carefully to both Tavis's criticisms of Obama, and his self-promotions, and it became clear, at least to me, that he's not the person that he tries to present himself to be.

First, criticsim of Obama stems from a sense of entitlement. He was clearly angry with Obama because he felt that Obama had a responsibility to appear on his broadcast to be anointed by Tavis as a rite of passage into the Black political establishment. I got the feeling that he thought of himself as some sort of gatekeeper to the Black community, and as a Black man I didn't appreciate that, because it's condescending to people. I choose who I want to represent me, not Tavis smiley.

And secondly, his criticism is not only shortsighted, but groundless. After all, if Tavis takes the position that President Obama is obligated to have a Black agenda, its corrollary is that tthe next White president is obligated to have a White agenda for poor White folks. Didn't we mount a civil rights movement to combat such thinking?

And here's why I say Tavis' criticism is groundless. Just take a look at President Obama's agenda:

Obama Initiatives


- Spur Job Creation: “In addition, to help those most affected by the recession, the Budget will extend emergency assistance to seniors and families with children, Unemployment Insurance benefits, COBRA tax credits, and relief to states and localities to prevent layoffs.”


- Reforming the Job Training System: “The Budget calls for reform of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which supports almost 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers nationwide and a range of other services. With $6 billion for WIA at DOL—and an additional $4 billion in the Department of Education—the Budget calls for reforms to improve WIA.” Strengthen Anti-Discrimination Enforcement: “To strengthen civil rights enforcement against racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, religious, and gender discrimination, the Budget includes an 11 percent increase in funding to the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. This investment will help the Division handle implementation of a historic new hate crimes law. The Budget also provides an $18 million, or 5 percent increase, for the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), which is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee. This increased investment will allow for more staff to reduce the backlog of private sector charges.”

- Support Historically Black Colleges and Universities: “The Budget proposes $642 million, an increase of $30 million over the 2010 level, to support Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In addition to this discretionary funding increase for MSIs, the Administration supports legislation passed by the House of Representatives and pending in the Senate that would provide $2.55 billion in mandatory funding to MSIs over 10 years.”

- Help Families Struggling with Child Care Costs: “The Budget will nearly double the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for middle-class families making under $85,000 a year by increasing their credit rate from 20 percent to 35 percent of child care expenses. Nearly all eligible families making under $115,000 a year would see a larger credit. The Budget also provides critical support for young children and their families by building on historic increases provided in ARRA. The Budget provides an additional $989 million for Head Start and Early Head Start to continue to serve 64,000 additional children and families funded in ARRA.”

- Reform Elementary and Secondary School Funding: “The Budget supports the Administration’s new vision for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) … The Budget provides a $3 billion increase in funding f
Comment by enhager on April 8, 2010 at 10:31am
I do shrink back at Tavis' criticism of Obama because in the mainstream media only repeats Tavis' negative comments. They like to pit him as anti-Obama.

Though Tavis' concern are legitimate and nuanced, I don't think Tavis appreciat that the established media latches on to his criticism because he is such a lone voice in the black community. They don't provide the depth or the accolades, that's why I gave him the opportunity.

As far as the sometimes cringe-inducing self promotion, I think people should consider Tavis a role model for using his pulpit to promote social change and highlight undercovered issues, and he's managed to benefit from his righteous efforts (just like Oprah or Bill Gates). He could have been a stock broker or a salesman and have been very successful.
Comment by Ernie Mixon on April 8, 2010 at 9:15am
I've always seen Tavis as a very smart intelligent articulate brother that has bee blessed with the ability to reach the masses of people in America. When he speaks with the technology tools he has mastered i.e. TV, Radio, and internet ... I see a very polished communicator who has something creditable to say. I also agree with Eric when I see this interview with you (Eddie - well done by the way)as an indicator that he does promote himself a lot... that's just who he is? like it or not it's Tavis. Overall, I got a little better insight into his critisism of Obama with this interview. I respect the brother greatly and wish him well in all his future projects... because bottom line is... I see him as a leader of black people's thoughts and ideas and I feel deep in his soul that he does want the best for us and all Americans. .... My little 0.002 worth. Again great job Eddie.
Comment by Eric L. Wattree on March 4, 2010 at 3:54am
Tavis managed to turn even that simple question into a commercial On Tavis smiley. You can always determine if a person is being self-serving by the number of times they refer to themselves in a discussion. Just count the times Tavis uses some derivative of the personal pronoun "I" - I, I, I, me, me, my book, my Time Magazine cover, I'm one of the 100 Most . . . It's a wonder the brother could get his head through the door to do the interview. Tavis is clearly underestimating the intelligence of the Black community. Do you ever hear Obama tootin' his own horn like that? I don't think so - and that's why people like him. He wasn't as self-promoting as Tavis when he was running for office.
Comment by Melanie on March 4, 2010 at 1:56am
And he's holding him accountable a year in? What if he accomplishes some of those things in the second, third and fourth years. Is another book coming? Just wonderig.....
Comment by Melanie on March 4, 2010 at 1:53am
I think Tavis doth protest too much......

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