Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Obama's Critics of Color ~ Smiley, West and Malco

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Previous Posts:
The President's Amazing Impromptu Speech About Race and Trayvon Martin
Obama Speech Brings Out Haters, Concern Trolls and Emotopians


AMY GOODMAN: But President Obama, speaking about his own life experience, going from saying, "Trayvon Martin could have been my child," to "Trayvon Martin could have been me"?

CORNEL WEST: Well, no, that’s beautiful. That’s an identification. The question is: Will that identification hide and conceal the fact there’s a criminal justice system in place that has nearly destroyed two generations of very precious, poor black and brown brothers? He hasn’t said a mumbling word until now. Five years in office and can’t say a word about the new Jim Crow.
And at the same time, I think we have to recognize that he has been able to hide and conceal that criminalizing of the black poor as what I call the re-niggerizing of the black professional class. You’ve got these black leaders on the Obama plantation, won’t say a criminal word about the master in the big house, will only try to tame the field folk so that they’re not critical of the master in the big house. That’s why I think even Brother Sharpton is going to be in trouble. Why? Because he has unleashed—and I agree with him—the rage. And the rage is always on the road to self-determination. But the rage is going to hit up against a stone wall. Why? Because Obama and Holder, will they come through at the federal level for Trayvon Martin? We hope so. Don’t hold your breath. And when they don’t, they’re going to have to somehow contain that rage. And in containing that rage, there’s going to be many people who say, "No, we see, this president is not serious about the criminalizing of poor people."
We’ve got a black leadership that is deferential to Obama, that is subservient to Obama, and that’s what niggerizing is. You keep folks so scared. You keep folks so intimidated. You can give them money, access, but they’re still scared. And as long as you’re scared, you’re on the plantation.
~ Dr. Cornel West in an interview with Democracy Now

. . . we must never kill innocent people in the name of self-defense. But then I thought about our drone policy, which makes us the George Zimmerman of the world in terms of killing innocent folk in the name of self-defense.
. . . I applaud his words, but I'm still waiting for action.
~ Cornel West on CNN

TAVIS SMILEY (21 July 2013): What's your sense of how the media and not just Fox News, but beyond that your read as you've been watching this, how the media handled this case?

CORNEL WEST: I think that it's been decrepit though brother. You get a focus on some of the upper middle class folks or what I call the Rent-a-Negro phenomenon on MSNBC.

TAVIS SMILEY: Ha ha ha ha ha!

CORNEL WEST: And how this affects them personally and what they can say to their kids and they feeling distant and alienated from the state. Well many of us have been feeling alienated an over against the state for forty something years.

TAVIS SMILEY: I appreciate and applaud the fact that the president did finally show up. But this town has been spinning a story that's not altogether true. He did not walk to the podium for an impromptu address to the nation; he was pushed to that podium. A week of protest outside the White House, pressure building on him inside the White House pushed him to that podium. So I'm glad he finally arrived.
But when he left the podium, he still had not answered the most important question, that Keynesian question, where do we go from here? That question this morning remains unanswered, at least from the perspective of the president. And the bottom line is this is not Libya, this is America. On this issue, you cannot lead from behind.
What's lacking in this moment is moral leadership. The country is begging for it, they are craving it. And I disagree with the president respectfully that politicians, elected officials, can't occupy this space on race. Lincoln did, Truman did, Johnson did; President Obama did. He's the right person in the right place, at the right time. But he has to step into his moment. I don't want him to be like Bill Clinton, when he's out of office, regretting that he didn't move on Rwanda. I don't the president to look back, David, and realize that he didn't do as much as he could have in this critical moment.
~ Tavis Smiley on Meet the Press, July 21, 2013

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To be brutally honest, the only reason people are even aware of Trayvon Martin is because it became a topic within mainstream news and pop culture. Meaning: News directors saw it as a profitable, sensational story. Hundreds of blacks die annually in South Side Chicago without even a blurb. Trayvon isn't in the mainstream news for any reason other than ratings and profit. The news coverage on the Zimmerman case almost implies that the killing of this young black man is somehow an anomaly and I resent that.
In this country, if it isn't streamlined through mainstream media and pop culture, it doesn't seem to warrant national debate. Our "government" continues to wreak havoc on our civil liberties and there is little to no protest from the black community because of media diversion tactics that keep such pertinent issues out of mainstream media. But if Jay-Z or Rihanna were to make mention of it, we'd suddenly be jolted out of our sugar comas and protesting on freeways.
. . . If we really wanted to ensure Trayvon Martin's killing was not in vain, we'd stop perpetuating negative images that are now synonymous with black men in America. We'd stop rapping about selling drugs and killing niggas.
. . . So before going back to popping molly and getting Turnt Up, I urge you to consider the implications of your actions. Your child's life may depend on it.
~ Romany Malco on Huffington Post

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