Tavis Smiley to Obama: Blacks “Ought to be Looked Out for”

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.]

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  • sbuffalonative

    “And whatever happened to that notion that to the victor goes the spoils?”

    This is what the election was all about. Blacks were going to vote President Obama into office and in return, he would shower them with money.

    Only, we’re not yet at that point in America. As the minorities become the majority, it will become a racial spoils system of elections and government.

  • Madison Grant

    A few years back Smiley said that when a new law is being proposed he tries to see if it will be good or bad for blacks and decides whether to support it on that alone.

  • Question Diversity

    When stories like these appear, my stock response is that I don’t believe that it’s for real, that it’s part of a phony baloney head fake to make Obama appear “moderate” by having some radical or militant or obsessive black talking head come out against him. But this dog doesn’t hunt with Tavis Smiley, because he has a personal axe to grind against Obama. I think he was expecting a lot more personal benefit from Obama than he actually received.

    However, the part of my stock response that is still applicable is that I don’t buy the bromide that Obama isn’t doing anything for blacks. A good chunk of his roof-blowing spending levels has been to maintain what SBPDL calls the B.R.A. system. A lot of his non-fiscal actions also accrue to the benefit of blacks.

    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.

    You just answered your own question, genius. Obama has done a lot for blacks, but he didn’t need to do one thing for them precisely because they’re so loyal. He can do nothing to lose them. He can take them for granted because they are granted. Obama has to worry more about other Democrat constituencies, such as Hispanics, who will still vote majority for him, but the delta between 2012 and 2008 might swing several states from blue to red.

  • BO_Bill

    NPR provides a valuable service to Americans by providing an outlet for black voices like those of Mr. Smiley to reach a wide audience. Mr. Smiley has risen to the top of his profession through his relative mastery of situational awareness, his reflections upon what social justice means to him and the larger black community, and his dedication to working within the system to bring change.

    And, just like an inner city youth with a can of spray paint, he just can’t help himself.

  • white raven

    What concerns this black is the same that concerns all of them who are “leaders” of one type or another and that is they’re embarrased and feel put down, because they’re associated with a people who are utter failures in societies arounds the globe, including Africa. By elevating blacks by any means possible, they’re elevating themselves….they think.

    The whole world is aware that blacks just can’t succeed as other groups of the world can, and Tavis Smiley wants to change that, because nobody, he feels, gives him his just dues, simply because he’s black.

  • BannerRWB

    “Mr. Smiley says America is “less racist” but not post-racial.”: I would say societies are never “post-racial”, but go from being ethnically pure and non-racial in the beginning, to being ethnically mixed and racial… followed then by either ethnic separation of the given nation or ethnic cleansing by one group over the other. I know of no nation that can truly claim to be post-racial, although I could site examples of nations that have gone from high levels of ethnic purity only to become racially mixed and move into conflict and dissolution. What we are living now in the Western nations is the intermediate period, having moved from 90%+ racially pure, to having greater levels of ethnic mixing and thus seeing the increasing move towards greater internal conflict.

  • ice

    Blacks like this one will NEVER stop screaming racism and oppression, because they have to do so in order to save face by having an excuse for their lack of accomplishment.

    Blacks can’t compete. Are those like Tavis Smiley going to admit that? Of course not. It’s too embarrassing for them.

    It’s much easier to blame whitey.

  • NBJ

    I saw Smiley do an interview with another black guy once (can’t think of his name) and the subject was racial violence. The guest was explaining about the high number of black on white crime and lemme tell ya… Smiley was having NONE of it. He argued and questioned and made such excuses, and would NOT concede this guys research was factual with very crediable sources. Smiley might even be worse than ole Al or Jesse.

  • Anonymous

    Obama is very biased in favor of blacks. His attorney general is almost rabid about favoring blacks. Money to black farmers, mortgages to minorities, affirmative action to blacks, etc.

    The black caucus, the naacp, the urban league, black colleges, black unions, black organizations, it goes on and on.

  • Nick

    A suitably tribal and African point of view. And of course, if the recent round of judicial appointments are any indication then it would seem that Obama is very much offering blacks “the spoils,” and doing so in a way that will undermine the entire country for decades.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with one thing that fool Smiley said. The next Republican president should look out for Americans of European blood, their most loyal constituency. Does Smiley think that the faster he talks the more intelligent he will sound?

  • Mr.white

    And yet another example of a racial minority (this time it happens to be a black minority) advocating a position based upon what’s best for his particular minority group and making no apologies for it. Nobody in the MSM seems to think anything wrong with this position.

    Yet, if a white person ( a public figure for that matter) were to publically express a view favorable to his own white race, he would be demonized as a “racist” and run out of town, never to be heard from again. Whites simply are not allowed to express an opinion or position which places white interests first.

  • Anonymous

    And whatever happened to that notion that to the victor goes the spoils?

    ???Did Obama win a war?

  • SKIP

    I guess those, probably, half million government jobs for blacks don’t count. EVERY government office or bureau of any sort, function, purpose at ANY level, city, county, state or federal is packed with incompetent blacks and we all know it.

  • Tim in Indiana

    In April, Smiley said the 2012 elections will be “the most racist in the history of this Republic

    I would say that Mr. Smiley is the most racist black commentator in the media, but I’m afraid he’s just typical.

    And whatever happened to that notion that to the victor goes the spoils?

    What did he think about this notion when whites were “the victor?”

    This just points to the black inability to reason coherently.

  • Ben

    For someone so anti racist he sure like to use the word “black” to describe a certain group of Americans.

    I’ll count…2 before the word “America”…more as well…but who is counting?

    Let see if I can’t switch up the words a bit…

    “‘It’s just not that WHITE 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 WHITE America, I think, Lester, have to wrestle with. At least two questions. Number one: what is the pain threshold in WHITE 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.”

    “the ‘most loyal’ part of his base who ‘ought to be looked out for.’…’most loyal part of the President’s base’

    In April, Smiley said the 2012 elections will be “the most racist in the history of this Republic.”

    You don’t say? Gee thanks for pointing that out for us…you must have been the top of your class.

  • MAJ

    Listening to Tavis (what a name) for about 10 minutes gives one the notion that his IQ can’t be above 90.

    As evidenced by these moronic comments he is no more than a dope in a suit with a thesaurus in his pocket.

    He really is a tiny-brained racist – he just further embarrasses all blacks by ridiculous comments forged without logic or insight. He’ll still be jabbering away when welfare is finally cut and blacks are forced to work, behave, or go to prison.

    As the white reckoning approaches I suspect he’ll be Tavis Unsmiley.

  • Rhialto

    Smiley represents the attitude of many blacks, so his opinions are of some interest. While most blacks will not vote against Obama, if annoyed at Obama, a significant number may not vote at all.

    Perhaps what’s happening is that the quasi-omnipotent fedgov has done as much for blacks as it will ever do. The fedgov’s income is not increasing, and there are more and more special groups that need costly benefits. If blacks are very lucky, they may keep what they have, but any increase in largesse is highly unlikely. Or so it seems to me.

  • Uncle Bob

    I have to wonder: Even when the white population dwindles down to 15-20%, will it still be blamed for everything? …even at 10%? …5%???

    And as the race that creates and produces the wealth dwindles down, who do the race that only knows how to put their hands out expect to put their hands out to?

  • olewhitelady

    Americans blacks used to admonish one another with the cautionary proposition that “white America” might be listening to what they say. It wasn’t an expression of just fear, but one also of ethnic pride. Blacks worried about whites’ impression of them.

    Smiley apparently isn’t worried about what white America thinks. And he isn’t worried about Obama’s reelection. He’s worried about his own pocketbook.

    Obama himself had better be worried about racial statements of victors and spoils.

  • sbuffalonative

    “Perhaps what’s happening is that the quasi-omnipotent fedgov has done as much for blacks as it will ever do.”

    Yes, this is true, Also, the fedgov HAS done ALL IT CAN DO but blacks don’t have the capacity to take advantage of the opportunities they have been offered. This is why Whites are increasingly frustrated with blacks. Whites keep asking, “We’ve given you everything you asked for, what more do you want???” The only thing left is direct money transfer which they have asked for in the form of reparations. But that won’t help blacks build wealth. They will spend their windfall in a week and then demand they weren’t given enough. There is no end to what blacks expect and want.

    ”And as the race that creates and produces the wealth dwindles down, who do the race that only knows how to put their hands out expect to put their hands out to?”

    I read and hear blacks complain about the ongoing problems in South Africa. The reason they give for the ongoing plight is that Whites still own the majority of the businesses and the money.

    Even if Whites are reduced to 1%, whites will still be blamed for black indolence. If whites were to die out, blacks would believe they took the money to their graves at which point, there would be a brisk business in digging up White graves looking for their wealth.

    Blacks have no idea how to do for themselves which is why they keep making demands from Whites.

  • Clover

    Plenty of liberal whites have been perfectly loyal to Obama, so don’t they deserve just as much as the blacks?

    I suppose folks like Smiley will consider America post-racial when it’s 100% non-white.

  • Femme Fatale

    It’s interesting that Smiley says that Blacks “ought to be looked out for,” as that implies on some level that they are incapable of looking after themselves and that, again, they are waiting for someone to come “rescue” them from the numerous sufferings that they still apparently endure (per Smiley and other blacks). Apparently, blacks have to be “looked out for” by the government because they can’t, or won’t, take care of themselves.

    Smiley wastes no time pulling the victim card out of his proverbial deck when he says that “black folks are hurting the most now…and suffering the most pain”. Again, an attempt to elicit sympathy from his audience. I’m sure that when Smiley said that the 2012 elections will be “the most racist in the history of this Republic” he wasn’t referring to the 95+% of blacks who will still vote for Obama despite his performance.

  • LOUDMOUTH57

    Thank you Mr.Smiley for helping to show white America what the Obama victory was supposed to mean for blacks. I guess the next time a white president is elected it will be A OK for him to look out for whites and you won’t even be able to call it racist when he does because you’ll understand “the notion that to the victor goes the spoils”

  • (AWG) Average White Guy

    I agree with Travis (and some of the comments above) to this extent:

    The black community can’t take care of itself.

    Someone has to look after it.

    The reason Western nations send aid to Africa (and not visa versa) is because blacks need to be ‘looked out for.’

    The reason we have so-called ‘affirmative action’ programs is because blacks need to be ‘looked out for.’

    The reason the world was burdened with aid post-earthquake Haiti but not post tsunami Japan is because blacks need to be ‘looked out for.’

    The reason black communities require additional police patrols is because blacks need to be ‘looked out for.’

    The reason blacks comprise a disproportionate share of welfare in America and Europe is because blacks need to be ‘looked out for.’

    The reason hiring tests need to be ‘dumbed’ down to accommodate the ‘disadvantaged’ and ‘disenfranchised’ is because blacks need to be ‘looked out for.’

    The reason Travis works for NPR and not a free market media outlet is because blacks need to be ‘looked out for.’

  • Anonymous

    Blacks are up set because they think BHO has not helped them out. What they mean is, cash has not fallen out of the sky like rain. Reality is, liberals can not be overt in “looking after blacks” because Whites won’t go for it. Instead liberals have to be covert and blacks are not smart enough to catch on. For ex, BHO new jobs bill would give tax breaks to companies who hire the long term unemployed. Blacks spend longer on unemployment then Whites so this would give blacks a slight edge. BHO has “looked after blacks” in stealth mode but blacks don’t pick up on the fact ( & neither do racialy unaware Whites)

  • Cid Campeador

    ““That’s not hating on the President, it’s defending your own flanks .

    What is the thing with Blacks using “on” after verbs?

    He be lyin’ on me.

    She be lovin’ on him.

    I be hatin’ on crackuhs.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    @19 Uncle Bob:

    I have to wonder: Even when the white population dwindles down to 15-20%, will it still be blamed for everything? …even at 10%? …5%???

    Yes. Ask South African Whites about that. They must face massive anti-White discrimination as well in the form of Affirmative Action (BEE in SA).

    And as the race that creates and produces the wealth dwindles down, who do the race that only knows how to put their hands out expect to put their hands out to?

    You, the taxpayer of the United States of America, that’s who.

    That, and they’ll demand to enter the US as “refugees” as well (with FULL rights to YOUR money and living space).

    Bon

  • Is America ready for a White President?

    I agree that blacks “ought to be looked out for.” I look out for blacks every time I have to leave home after dark. I look out for them because I know they’re the most likely to subject me to some sort of street crime.

    Oh, and Tavis Smiley must be the dumbest “intellectual” on TV. Race entirely aside, he’s just not a smart man; constantly making arguments so weak (and racially self-serving) as to be laughable.

  • Anonymous

    It gets tiresome to hear about blacks wanting special privileges, presumably because of slavery. African Americans are not slaves now and they have MUCH better lives, on average, than Africans in Africa.

    Suppose there was some way to rewind history and make it so slaves had never been brought to America, and all the African Americans could be magically be transported back to their native Africa, and it would be as if their ancestors were never slaves. I guarantee Most African Americans would be horrified at the idea of this happening.

  • SKIP

    Has anyone besides me ever read a book titled “Farnhams’Freehold”

    THe premise is that in the future, blacks have finally taken over everything and, as expected, EVERYTHING has fallen apart and the blacks are reduced to EATING the few whites that are left. Perhaps it was a prophetic book instead of science fiction.

  • Anonymous

    They need to be looked after, because if they aren’t under the supervision of whites they will wreak havoc. But they don’t need to be looked out for in the sense that Smiley is saying. Blacks seem to have a tendency to support any black leader, no matter what his policies are. Just look at Obama, Mugabe and so on.

  • GetBackJack

    The vast majority of people who vote for the best interests of the United States are white. All the others vote for the best interests of themselves and government.

    We’ve been betrayed. We have to stop betraying ourselves and our kind! No one will look out for us but us.

  • Ben

    @ 30

    Why would they be horrified?

    They always tell us all cultures are “equal.”

    Yet even after the blame of “The Man” I don’t see African Americans going back to their roots and living in Africa in which they are the majority and investing in “equal cultures.”

  • Anonymous

    Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don’t. Why should we? They talk about the people and the proletariat, I talk about the suckers and the mugs––it’s the same thing. They have their five-year plans, and so have I. – Harry Lime

  • Anonymous

    Barack Obama is at least reasonably intelligent. Tavis Smiley is not. What the former understands that escapes the latter is he cannot pull out all the stops and become the black messiah while he has to look forward to another election.

    I’ve always feared that, as bad as it’s been, we haven’t seen anything yet and won’t until we see a second Obama term. A re-election does away with the need to appear moderate.

  • Anonymous

    36 — Anonymous wrote at 12:01 AM on September 20:

    Barack Obama is at least reasonably intelligent.

    ———————————–

    Where did you come up with that gem? The man cannot even speak normally without the uh’s, etc. He makes NO sense because he has none.

  • WR the elder

    Uncle Bob #19: I have to wonder: Even when the white population dwindles down to 15-20%, will it still be blamed for everything? …even at 10%? …5%???

    The answer is, “Yes, when whites are 5% of the population they will still be blamed for the failings of blacks and Hispanics.”

    Look at South Africa today.

  • Fritz

    The words “victor” and “spoils” tell us all we need to know about the Black agenda in this country. Whites better wake up to the reality that they are destined to become victims or victors. There are no other options here. In the 60s we responded to Black agression by building them new housing, giving them handouts, and passing laws that gaureneed them “spoils” they never had to earn and never deserved. When their president is voted out in 2012 the riots will begin again. These little flash mobs are just the early muscle flexing of the next generation of rioters. We better get a strong leader in the White house who will have the guts to deal with this stuff in a no-nonsense manner, not another LBJ or RMN. What we’re gonna need is another George Wallace, the way he was before he was shot.