Real Clear Politics, September 15, 2011
Tavis Smiley says the President is ignoring blacks, the “most loyal” part of his base who “ought to be looked out for.” Smiley spoke to NBC’s Lester Holt. In April, Smiley said the 2012 elections will be “the most racist in the history of this Republic.
“It’s just not that black folks are hurting the most now. It’s that there’s no sign that it’s going to get any better. There really are two questions in black America, I think, Lester, have to wrestle with. At least two questions. Number one: what is the pain threshold in black America? What is our pain threshold, number one. And number two, what is the presidency really worth? Is it worth not saying anything? Is it worth being silent when you’re catching the most hell, when you’re suffering the most pain? Especially, when you’re the most loyal part of the President’s base,” Smiley said.
“That’s not hating on the President, it’s defending your own flanks. And whatever happened to that notion that to the victor goes the spoils? If anybody ought to be looked out for, it ought to be the persons who represent the most significant and the most loyal part of the base. That would be African-Americans.”
Smiley says he understands that President Obama is taking the “political risk” looking “tribal” if he were to look out for the concerns of his race. “What makes presidents great, makes them transformational is taking risks,” Mr. Smiley says.
At the conclusion of the interview, Mr. Smiley says America is “less racist” but not post-racial.
[Editor’s Note: View the original article to see the interview.]