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Host Who Received “Cease and Desist” Order from Tavis Smiley speaks with Roland Martin, Tom Joyner

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins

This week, Roland Martin conducted an interesting interview with radio host Morris O’Kelly about the cease and desist order that was sent to him by Tavis Smiley.  I’m not sure what the situation is all about, but it sounds unfortunate.

I was shocked to see that Tavis took it to the courtroom, since I’d not heard O’Kelly say anything that appeared to be all that defamatory.  When I read that O’Kelly once worked for Tavis, that’s when my ears perked up.  Typically, people get into nastier fights when they have a history of bad blood with one another, so my assessment is that at least 75% of this is personal.

With that being said, I must confess that I agree with O’Kelly that it’s ironic that Tavis has made a career out of critiquing public officials, and then files a legal document against O’Kelly for attacking him.  That’s like Jay-Z suing Nas for dissing him in a song, and it kind of breaks the rules of public discourse.   I’d love to hear Tavis Smiley’s side of the story and I’ll share it if we speak and he gives me the right to do so.

At the same time, this back-and-forth is an easy battle for O’Kelly, since so many black people are already angry at Tavis for not being a cheerleader for President Barack Obama.   The unconditional disdain that many people have for Tavis is problematic because talking about Tavis gives people an excuse to not talk about poverty.  But the data proves that both Tavis and Cornel West are right:  Poverty and wealth inequality have risen to an excruciating level, and our community continues to be harmed because our politicians are feeding us mind-numbing Kool-Aid instead of substantive economic policy.

It appears that the gist of what O’Kelly is saying about Tavis and Cornel’s poverty tour is that the tour comes off as a complaining exercise that is not accompanied by any real policy recommendations.  While I can’t speak to whether or not this is the case, I can say that Tavis can easily dismantle this critique by pointing to a set of policy recommendations that he would like for President Obama to consider.  O’Kelly also had something to say about Tavis’ decision to sign R. Kelly to a book deal even though Kelly has a shady reputation of harming young women.  I don’t have much to say about that…you know how I feel about R. Kelly.

I sincerely doubt that Tavis has spoken about poverty in this many venues, to this many people, and never mentioned a set of policies that could accompany his critique.   Also, even if he has no policies to recommend, Tavis and Cornel are doing important work by at least increasing awareness of the severity of the poverty problem and reminding us to push our politicians to address it.  Unfortunately, most of our alleged civil rights leadership has little interest in speaking to any issue that hasn’t been approved by Valerie Jarrett.

The point here is that everyone has a role, and no one is expected to do everything.  On a football team, the lineman doesn’t throw the ball and the running back doesn’t play defense. So, even if Tavis isn’t doing everything for everyone, we must give him some credit for at least trying to do something.  Most of those who attack Tavis haven’t done anything except sit back and engage in the simple task of referring to him as a “hater.”

Simultaneously, O’Kelly’s critique may actually help the poverty problem, even if it doesn’t help Tavis himself.  By laying out his concerns in a public forum, O’Kelly reminds us all that presenting an agenda to President Obama is a better strategy than simply cheering when he gets elected, signing off on every human rights violating foreign policy and marveling over how cute his daughters are.  Sometimes, criticizing someone makes them defensive, which in turn makes them believe they have to prove you wrong.  So, court order or not, O’Kelly has already made an impression on the actions of Tavis Smiley.

But for those who don’t think that there is a black agenda or that one was miraculously created last month by Rev. Al Sharpton, the fact is that there has always been an agenda for black America.  Since 2008, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Cornel West, Father Michael Pfleger and even I have clearly stated that the president and Congress must address the following issues:  Violence, mass incarceration, black unemployment, poverty and unequal educational systems.  Not only have these recommendations been made on a consistent basis, they were accompanied by specific policy avenues through which these matters could be addressed.

This begs the question:   If a black agenda and policy recommendations have always been in existence, why do so many people think that African Americans don’t know what they want?  It’s because certain people in the White House (not all of them white) made a conscious effort to only invite those individuals who would not ask the president to do anything meaningful for the black community.  That’s why Jesse Jackson was never invited to sit with the president, even as Obama has co-opted Al Sharpton and turned him into a defacto employee.  The interests of you and your family have rarely made it onto the table of discussion at celebrity White House social gatherings, since nearly every black public figure remains intoxicated by the glam of being “down with Mr and Mrs. Obama.”  In fact, I dare say that if the Sandy Hook massacre had occurred on the south side of Chicago, not a single gun law would have been changed.

With regard to O’Kelly and Tavis, this is just one of many small skirmishes that have taken place in the black public sphere during the age of Obama. Divide and conquer has been a great strategy to keep our community from progressing under the authority of a black president, all of this because we’ve been so busy either loving Obama or hating him and not spending nearly as much time giving a damn about ourselves.  It’s time to refocus and make ourselves and our interests the center of attention, and not allow those interests to be succumbed by the career ambitions of any one public figure.

O’Kelly and Smiley both care about black people and have different ways of showing it.  Perhaps from that point, they can find their common ground. The same thing goes for the rest of us.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Black American Money.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.


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84 comments

  1. It is time for our Black President, to concentrate on the Black poor. I worked tireless for the President, both terms, and would again, but IT IS TIME FOR OUR PRESIDENT, TO CONCENTRATE ON BLACK POOR, AS MUCH AS HE WILL CONCENTRATE ON IMMIGRATION,GUN CONTROL. If the school shooting had happen in South Side Chicago, nothing would happen, or even be said about gun control. Prison, are built to get rid of blacks, and Hispanics. and poor white. Prison is the new JIM CROW.
    He had better do something about Voters Rights,also because the GOP, never give up.I agree, and disagree with Tavis Smiley, and with Cornell West, nobody is totally right about every thing. Have no idea who the person, that Smiley, is trying to shut up Oh Well, that is the price you pay for being a spoke person etc.

  2. http://hinterlandgazette.com/tag/tavis-smiley-cease-and-desist-letter

    If the above link to the letter is true, that has been circulating the Internet, it’s based on the time when Morris O’Kelly was employed at Tavis Smiley’s company from 2005-2010. He disclosed that then-Senator and now President Barack Obama called Tavis Smiley and his calls were not returned. Therefore, that would be the issue for the potential lawsuit- which was not publicly known. Like most corporations, such as AT&T, if you disclose proprietary and confidential information about an upcoming wireless device (for example) that will become available, an employee is subject to disciplinary action including termination. Employees have to sign and agree to those terms, because if they don’t – they won’t be hired.
    Also, many people have talked negatively about Tavis Smiley and others and they could just go around having their attorneys issue ‘Cease and Desist’ letters. I haven’t seen Morris O’Kelly address what is in the letter specifically that is circulating the Internet, regarding PAST private knowledge while he was employed there. The letter mentioned that they know that he has Freedom of Speech on information that is publicly available, but not private conversations/knowledge during his time of employment with Tavis Smiley’s company.

    • Thanks for posting the letter. I hadn’t seen it prior to now. Even though Kelly says that (then) Senator Obama called the office but Smiley stopped taking his calls, I still don’t know the full circumstances behind him ignoring the calls. Was this before or after his SOBU event that year? There just isn’t enough info given to draw any conclusions. I don’t think that is the main reason behind Smiley not wanting Kelly to go public about his relationship with his company.

      What is interesting is the language the letter uses in describing Kelly as “terminated.” This helps prove my point that Kelly must have a personal axe to grind with Smiley. It’s also interesting to hear him say how Joyner sold him down the river by offering up apologies for Smiley. Joyner was supposed to be with him on that whole “black agenda” movement and holding candidates accountable. But Smiley was right to try to shut this guy up from making all these random statements on Facebook about him and his business. I would have done it too.

  3. Boyce, how much did TRAVESTY SLIMEY pay you to write this kiss a$$ propaganda to get on his show? Dr. ECONOMIST, PhD. (BOYCE) why aren't you writing about TRAVESTY'S NEBULOUS and SCATHING $4 MILLION INVOLVEMENT WITH WELLS FARGO “WEALTH BUILDING” SCHEME IN BLACK COMMUNITIES? As an "economist" seemingly this would be "right up your alley"! #BOYCEQUITHATIN'ONPOTUSANDANYBODYWHOGETSINVITEDTOTHEWHITEHOUSE

    http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/13622125-melissa-harrisperry-compares-tavis-smiley-to-tuskegee-syphilis-studys-black-nurse

  4. I appreciate Dr. Boyce Watkin's comment since many folks seem to think that Black Leaders have not asked for anything or addressed concerns of our community just because President Obama is a Man of Color… "Since 2008, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Cornel West, Father Michael Pfleger and even I have clearly stated that the president and Congress must address the following issues: Violence, mass incarceration, black unemployment, poverty and unequal educational systems. Not only have these recommendations been made on a consistent basis, they were accompanied by specific policy avenues through which these matters could be addressed."

    There were meetings (at least) in 2010, 2011 and recently in 2012 which included Marc Morial, president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League; Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network; Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

    As cited in InsightNews.com, Morial summarized five priorities that would be fleshed out in the new agenda:

    • Achieve economic parity for African-Americans.
    • Promote equity in educational opportunity.
    • Protect and defend voting rights.
    • Promote a healthier nation by eliminating healthcare disparities.
    • Achieve comprehensive reform of the criminal justice system.

    Other leaders were represented from newspapers, grassroots organizations, historical groups such as the Southern Christian Leadership President, Charles Steele and more. Roland Martin even interrogated Sharpton and Morial to find out how far were they willing to go to get results from the president. The wouldn't "peep their cards", but said there will be another meeting early next year.

    We should focus on how we can 1. support this agenda, 2. suggest change to the agenda, or 3. caucus to product our own agenda. I'm for building up, collaborating and focusing on producing results. In all honesty, the question is not, what Tavis Smiley is or isn't doing; or what President Obama and our leaders are or are not doing. The question we must honestly ask ourselves, is "What are WE doing to help ourselves, our schools, our churches and our communities? What say you?

  5. I vehemently disagree here with one thing. I think the reason the Reverend Jesse Jackson has not been invited to the White House to speak with the President about issues in the Black community is he told a reporter five years ago that he wanted to cut Obama's "nuts" off. I would not want his ass in my house either.

  6. I strongly agree that there is individual culpability in the war on poverty and that many blacks have not taken advantage of many of the opportunities that we have in this country.

    Many of our young people (even in the middle and upper classes) seem to be “wedded” to the hip-hop culture and seek to glamorize the monied “gangsta” lifestyle. In many urban school districts around the country, the per capita expenditures per student is obscene given the return on the investments.

    The bottom line is that many of the students love to create mayhem and it is almost impossible to communicate, let alone teach in those environments. I have much love and respect for teachers who can survive and even thrive in those environs because every child is precious and deserves the opportunity to reach his/her fullest potential.

    There is also a role for government and President Obama. I don’t understand this philosophy that exonerates or excuses the president from specifically addressing black and urban issues. He was virtually silent on the Chicago youth violence issue but is not only vocal (as he should be) on the Newtown CT shootings but has even put Vice President Biden in charge of leading a panel to develop recommendations.

    Why so late to the party on this issue? Is it because the faces were mostly black and brown in the other heinous cases? Some “innocent lives” were lost in those cases as well. Is there less value placed on those lives?

    Why do so many black people support this president and expect so little in return when that would not be the case with a white president – be it a Democrat or a Republican?

    Why do we give our black elected officials a pass when many of them have failed us across the board? Could it be that “image and symbolism” are more important to many of us than substance?

    President Obama once again has gotten a blank check from the black community and he can make it out to whomever he chooses and use it to do whatever he wants. He does not have to spend it on black people because many black people have given him the “he is not the president of Black America, but the United States of America – pay to the order of” status.

    And, if he does nothing that benefits blacks’ specific issues, then those of us who voted for him in such large numbers will deserve what we get.

    NOTE: A little over a 3 percentage point win by the president in the popular vote is not a mandate. That means that almost half of the people who voted in the election voted for the other, “white, old, rich, Republican racist demon or you fill in the blank” guy. And, that is a fact!

  7. But of course, I underestimated how much Black people WORSHIP Obama. {{-_-}}

  8. The "crabs in a barrel" are at it again! The self-appointed African American leaders who don't know the first thing about leading because they have never been good followers.

    • Please name names. I responded to your response to my post.

    • Laurence Chiniquy, you wrote to me: Van Cephus, You seem to be implying by your comment that the majority of African Americans are like that. I don't know what circle you travel in but the majority of African Americans I have ever had the pleasure of knowing are nothing like your description. You sound like Uncle Ruckus of the Boondocks or a person who was described a few generations ago as an "uncle tom.' Maybe you work in a penal institution or a drug rehabilitation center and you only see people like the ones you described. Speaking with such obvious hatred for your own people will not help to solve the problem. My response: Laurence Chiniquy, I don't appreciate you insulting me by calling me an Uncle Tom. I could return the fire if I wanted to, but I won't. My parents taught me that people should able to disagree without becoming disagreeable. Show me where I implied that the majority of African Americans are like the ones I'm addressing. That's your interpretation. I don't believe that the majority of Black people act in a negative manner. As for the circles I travel in and what I do for a living, I'm a Detroit musician (vancephus.com), and the people I grew up with and play for are highly educated, successful people. I've played for President Obama. I love Black people therefore I speak out when I see negative behavior.

  9. I thought that this was a rather silly commentary. States the obvious and adds nothing.

  10. Ever since it was learned that Tavis Smiley doesn't support Obama, the liberal media has been looking for every reason to attack him. {{-_-}}

  11. Marc Curtis Little

    Thanks, Brother Boyce. Your clear-headed thinking is refreshing. As far as the Smiley lawsuit, I am certain it's more than what we've heard with Tom Joyner and Roland Martin. Let's wait for the entire story.

  12. What difference does the two big mouth make, none of them cannot get anything done for the black community, because blacks are not taken seriously. Not even with a black president in office, blacks are still ignored.
    All the president have to say to black people let’s pray about it, well that problem will be solved, because that is all we do is pray. Prayer dosent cost anything, and as long as we do not have to paya price weather in human lives or financial we are ok.
    A people devided and fighting over simple thing is what we do best.The individaul who said that we do not have an agenda, maybe right, because we do not have an AGENDA, that address the root cause of our problems.
    The fist thing that must be address is the history of SLAVERY. Its impact on our lives our stabelity, and our inability to to resolve our differences and to focus on solutions. We cannot ask the president to address that issue even though he is black. We have to address it ourselves in the black community. We may ask for support, but we have to develop the agenda ourselves.
    We may seek technical input from the people in power but not their involvement in finding the solitiuon.
    The community must come up with the solution.
    We have always been willing to accept the whiteman solution to our problems, that is the reason why they have never been resolved.
    We seem to be afraid to address the history of slavery, well it happen, and it happen to our ancestors, and it is impacting our lives up to this day, so accept it embarace and find solition.

  13. Tavis Smiley, Cornell West, and myself have expectations from our Presiedent. We have issues in our community that we feel can, and should be addressed by the president, governors, councilmen, and parents.For the whole 4 years of our presidents term I for one has had expectations.(Not just from him, but all those in his position before him). Today I see that the people of Sandy Hook , and those across this country also have expectations (they should and we should).They have expectations, and so, the issue is being addressed.Unfortunately happy black folk had none(expectations) and got none.PATHETIC! WAKE UP!

  14. Blacks in America have the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Millions of Blacks across America are homeless, starving, unemployed, broken, in gangs, on drugs, killing each other, and hopeless. In spite of all of that, Blacks continue to vote for these same Black politicians "who do nothing for Black folks", which includes Obama.

    Yet, Blacks have the nerve to get angry with anyone who disagrees with them, and who speak against these Black politicians. As some Blacks have said, "it is okay if Obama does not do anything special for Black folks. At least we have a Black man in the white house". This sort of reasoning is clearly what one would call insanity.

  15. Carolyn Essex Johnson

    Most black people I know do not listen to politicians…unless it's the ones like President Obama who said for us (black people) to go back to school, attain your degree, stop killing yourselves with food and take care of your families with love and not abuse. If that's not speaking to poverty, I don't know what is. Most people I know have put their heads down and have focused on bettering themselves and their communities solely because of President Obama's words, leadership and example. I see the awesomeness of President Obama has just exposed all the fake wannabe leaders who are mainly talk with little if not zero action. To those like Tavis, Dr. West and yes Dr. Boyce, that are hell bent on calling the President out for not being awesome 24/7 (in their opinion), let the record show, you are clearly on the wrong side of history. President Obama should be highly commended and held in high esteem for anything he is able to accomplish for the people in a system that is historically and actively oppressive. I submit, none of the naysayers we currently see today, especially the African American ones, could even begin to come close to navigating through a completely broken system like President Barack Obama has. I have put this President in perspective and I have absolutely nothing derogatory to say about him…considering the task.

  16. Tavis and so-called Prof. Cornell West are a BIG part of the prolem, they are too busy blaming Pres. Obama, rather than focus on the bigger probelm, and people might not like wat I am about to say, but I don't give a damn. The problem lies withiin ORSELVES, not in our Stars of the Community, and neither Tavis nor Prof. West are doing a damn thing to address it.. I am a product of a single parent home, yet my Mother who was 5 fot, 2 inches tall, about a Buck 15, dripping wet taughtn us that although she, aka WE were not affluent, she took no B.S.. She worked many 16-17 hour days to support US, whenn she came home our Homework had bettter be there for her to check, and she damned well better not hear from the Schools saying we were not carrying our load.Make a long story short, knowing which side of the Bread my Butter is on, I habe FOUR College credit, yet I work for one of the biggest Tellecommunicatrions Corporatios Companies in the World, yet I am making PHD money, because I made it a point to ensure my employment in that Company WAS my College EDUCATION. I could have very easily got caught up in the Streets. I did not. STOP BLAMING PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR Black Amerca's Black Community's plight. Black AMERICA is responsible for OUR own outcome.

  17. Boyce, stop carrying Tavis's jock around your neck. Obama is not an enemy of Black folks. Tavis's problem is that he's out for Tavis. You can relate to that. Sorry you weren't invited to the White House, I'm sure you'll go when the Republicans are in office!

    • If Obama is not an enemy of Black folks, then how is Obama a friend of Black folks? What has Obama done for Black folks, other than having an African father?

    • Also, Obama is not a very good role model for our youth. The example that Obama is setting is "strive for the highest office in the land, and then turn your back on Black people". Obama teaches by example. Not only is Obama setting this example, but the other Black politicians that we have around the country is doing the same thing, which also includes the so-called "Congressional Black Caucus".

    • Patricia you need to scroll up and read the comments posted by Van Cephus. Instead of moaning and groaning about what The President isn't doing, first help yourself.

    • Patricia Gillespie McAllister . other than complaining and blaming President Obama for everything bad in Black America…what are you doing..please tell us.

    • I'm all for us doing for self but we don't vote for a President so we'll still have to do everything ourselves. We vote for a President to do all the things we CAN'T do ourselves. I'd love for us to live with no government but that's not the reality. {{-_-}}

    • President Obama is the President of ALL Americans.

  18. Firstly, the issues affecting poor Blacks cannot be solved in the course of Obama’s administration nor through West or Smiley’s influence on black americans. As mentioned, it takes a team effort committed to this end and it especially requires effort from the ones who are affected. We are a diverse group of people and that diversity is evident in how we view ourselves as a race of people. I am not blaming the affected ones but a real and honest discussion will have to admit that our reality are shaped by our own experiences and to change that reality would mean to stop doing the behavior that is causing some of the issues (imprisonment, drug abuse, alcoholism, poor diet, mismanagement of money). It’s been long overdue for us to take control of ourselves, our health status, economic situation, etc and heal as a people. Once we can heal from the past, we can move forward in a more positive direction.

  19. I agree Tavis is doing what he think is right. Who would blame him for that. So far what's saying is very true. Why does everyone have to be a cheerleader for Obama? Will that make us a better person especially knowing we are in a worst position.

  20. Van Cephus expresses my sentiments precisely. Many times I have said the same words to and about young Black people. It is incomprehensible that Black people of all ages refuse to learn the language of this country. They have to use it when negotiating with anyone about anything important. To be able to speak only slang makes people think they are uneducated and, even, ignorant. And long ago I got tired of looking at men’s underwear while they were wearing it.

  21. I disagree with what Watkins said about the Sandy Hook reference to south Chicago. A tragedy that involves children involves us all no matter the color of their skin or place they live. Watkins was way off point on this one!

  22. My problem with Tavis and West is not with the challenging issues they seek to solve but with the timing of it all . I have been following the two for quite a while now and even have a few of their books . The problem I am having is where was this poverty bus when Reagan ,and the two bush’S where in office , we had the same problems then as we do now.

    • I think Tavis was in high school/college in the 80’s during the Reagan administration and no one knew who Dr. West was. Again, Tavis didn’t have a public voice during the 1st Bush admin while people were just starting to understand who Dr. West was. If you are saying that they had nothing to say about poverty, especially during the Clinton and Bush 2 administrations, you are dead wrong. Both were relentless in their attacks on those administrations. The whole SOBU was an anti Bush forum. While they didn’t have a poverty tour per se, they have been on the battlefield fighting. You seem to imply that they had nothing bad to say before Obama took office. That simply isn’t factual.

      If you want to jump on them for the actual date they started their campaign against poverty, then we have to attack Dr. King for starting the Civil Rights Movement in 1955 when so many black folks were killed, mistreated and denied access in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Where was he during all the lenchings? Dr. King’s timing was way off.

  23. This is the same soup warmed up. Dr.Watkins you get thrown out buy the follower of your writings and turn around and come back with the same jealousy of the President through the back door. It is interesting how you started off this same trash and in the middle put the same disdain you have for the President.There are a number of blacks like your self,who rather use there platforms or network to oppose the President than support. I as others can read the small print,when you use. Poverty,incarceration,unemployment,ect..ect..as a reason to criticize the people the President chose to surround himself with to give proper attention to these and other problems of these UNITED STATES..he has an agenda for all of the things,that has to be handle. He has managed to get a mandate to keep on truckin,from the people who voted for him,wanting him to finish his intentions. If you and your associate chose to vote for Romney,you will have to wait for that milky white way,he had in store for you. This President is the president of the UNITED STATES and that includes,that 47% Romney and the TEApublican are willing to write off….peace

  24. This guy O Kelly doesn’t have any more credibility than Travis. O Kelly was a strong defender of Travis when Obama was running for and first elected president. But Kelly didn’t have a radio show at that time just a blog. Now that he has to cater to fanatical Obama supporters from his radio audience he’s changed his tune about Travis. I don’t agree with Watkins statement about divide and conquer. For this administration it’s more like divide and ignore. These same black Obama supporters who feel that he shouldn’t be criticized or held accountable the way elected officials should are going to be the main ones whining to the next white face that gets elected president to solve all their problems.

    • Amen! The hypocrisy of blk folk concerning blk faces in high places is sickening. How can we ever presume to ask any other public official for any assistance whatsoever concerning our plight when we asked Obama for absolutely nothing, even as we gave him greater than 90% of our vote ea. time. ABSOLUTELY INCREDULOUS!

  25. It is time to refocus… 'keep your eyes on the prize Tavis', you are being and will be vindicated even more, in time. Simply endure the crucible, especially when your major critics are the three stooges.

  26. From black people point of origin in this country there lies greater reasons then our inabilities to make greater strides.Anybody that studies our history knows how we were taken down on a consistently and relentlessly basis.

    • However, how long will will we repeat those historical refrains, as opposed to releasing those chains from our minds. We can rewrite our present, and guide our future!

  27. Veronica Paer Weldon

    Dr. Watkins, I do believe there would still be national and world-wide shock had the children and teachers that died on Friday been black. However, I do believe that there would be a difference-whether it was the reporting or the uniformity of the shock. Something would have been different, I agree. But I have to say, unfortunately, that regardless of the color of the victims, there is going to be no real addressing of the gun situation in this country. I highly doubt there will be any meaningful change. Next week, something else will happen–a Kardashian will get divorced–and the dangling of the shiny object will divert attention.

    • Had the children been black… interesting concept!

    • Veronica Paer Weldon

      There's no question to me that part of the outrage here has to do with the fact that this happened in a upper-class, white, suburban neighborhood. An average of 9,000 people die a year in this country of gun shot wounds. And most of them in poorer neighborhoods in major and semi-major cities. Where has the uproar been? There's no question when it's "those people," not a lot of America worries. I'm a criminal defense attorney and I and my colleagues see tragedy all the time–and everyone shrugs. So, had this happened in, say, Compton—I believe there would have been some of "well that's what happens there," attitude from a lot of people.

    • I agree with Veronica and so do a lot of people who live in CHIRAQ. http://www.unitedinpeaceinc.org

  28. First of all I don't think people are mad at Tavis & West because they wont be cheerleaders for President Obama The election had less to do with the President an so much more to do with what the White right was doing in our face, then some of you realize.
    Tavis & West were missing in action, running around sulking for attention It's just crap talk an people are tired of it!

  29. Thank you Boyce………refreshing as always

  30. Dr. Watkins, let's be honest here. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, there have been policies put in place by THIS administration that by all accounts should help out the Black community. While I do understand your arguments in regard to the drug war policies and privatization of prisons, much of the problem with our inability to make progress lies with us collectively.

  31. The issues of violence, mass incarceration, black unemployment, and poverty can largely be solved by Black families within the home with proper parenting. Stop blaming White people for everything. As for unequal educational systems, stop stealing money from the school system in Detroit and do what you can to educate yourself and your children using technology and other resources like the library.

    • This is an addition to my original post: Speak English, pull your pants up, quit drinking alcohol, quit using drugs, don't have children you can't afford, don't have children if you're not fit to be a parent, respect others.

    • Van I agree with your comment 100%…

    • How can a young Black person have proper parenting when many of the parents of our Black youth are in prison, living on the streets hooked on drugs, or are dead. Black people are not "pumping" drugs into our own communities. It is time for the "I have made it negroes" to wake up and be realistic.

    • White folks were not enslaved for 400 years in America. The descendants of slaves are still suffering from a poor self image, and racism. Wake up Black man.

    • Patricia Gillespie McAllister, I think it goes back to the choices that previous generations made. Many Blacks people chose not to use the drugs including alcohol that were pumped into our communities. It's so sad that future generations of the people who made certain choice have to suffer.

    • Patricia Gillespie McAllister, you insulted me when you said "Wake up Black man", but I'm not going to return the fire. I've been awake for quite some. I believe people can disagree without becoming disagreeable. You said "Black people are not "pumping" drugs into our own communities". That is absolutely wrong. Some Black people HAVE been pumping drugs into our communities for years. Leroy "Nicky" Barnes and Frank Lucas are just 2 of many examples. You wrote "It is time for the "I have made it negroes" to wake up and be realistic. I am very realistic. I agree that the descendants of slaves are still suffering from a poor self image, and racism, but don't you think Blacks should be personally responsible for their actions? If a Black person commits a crime against YOU, will you absolve them of personal responsibility for their actions? I don't think so. I'm tired of this Blame The White Man For My Criminal Acts bovine effluvium.

    • Patricia Gillespie McAllister, I think it goes back to the choices that previous generations made. Many Black people chose not to use the drugs including alcohol that were pumped into our communities. It's so sad that future generations of the people who made certain choices suffer. If you were talking to me when you wrote "Wake up Black man", that was an insult. But if you were addressing Black men collectively, that's alright. Of course if you were addressing Black men collectively, I would think you would have typed "men" instead of "man". I've been awake for quite some time. I believe people can disagree without becoming disagreeable. You said "Black people are not "pumping" drugs into our own communities". That is absolutely wrong. Some Black people HAVE been pumping drugs into our communities for years. Leroy "Nicky" Barnes and Frank Lucas are just 2 of many examples. You wrote "It is time for the "I have made it negroes" to wake up and be realistic. I am very realistic. I agree that the descendants of slaves are still suffering from a poor self image, and racism, but don't you think Blacks should be personally responsible for their actions? If a Black person commits a crime against YOU, will you absolve them of personal responsibility for their actions? I don't think so. I'm tired of this Blame The White Man For My Criminal Acts bovine effluvium. Speaking of addictions, a lot of Black women are addicted to sodium hydroxide, the active ingredient in hair straightener aka "Creamy Crack". Do you know anyone like that? Perhaps there is a 12 step program for such addicts where people attend meetings and stand up and say "Hello I'm So and So Such and Such and I'm hooked on Creamy Crack". I know some recovering Creamy Crack addicts. I'm glad I was able to convince my late mother to stop straightening her hair. She had curly hair like Jesse Jackson and the Sylvers so therefore she rocked a curly Fro with an extra curly "kitchen".

    • Van Cephus, You seem to be implying by your comment that the majority of African Americans are like that. I don't know what circle you travel in but the majority of African Americans I have ever had the pleasure of knowing are nothing like your description. You sound like Uncle Ruckus of the Boondocks or a person who was described a few generations ago as an "uncle tom.' Maybe you work in a penal institution or a drug rehabilitation center and you only see people like the ones you described. Speaking with such obvious hatred for your own people will not help to solve the problem.

    • These are not problems that we created alone, nor ones we can solve alone. Don't believe the white media. {{-_-}}

    • Van, I agree with you,but the challenges/suggestions you speak of takes personal introspection. I personality believe that Black’s have lost their moral compass so to speak. Without having a true sense of whats right and whats wrong, Black people will keep just doing things because its all the same to them. Your message has to be taken to Black Pastors and demand them to speak to the social conditioning of Black people and institute a Black agenda instead of keep running with the safe but ineffective agenda of of a White Jesus. It seems that Black people will only do what their pastors tell them.

    • Laurence Chiniquy Word..

    • I like your philosophy and I like this kind of discussion Van. Your views are are poignant and real, Black people have to rise above the evil we have been made victims of, but the question is how can we rise above the moral decay that consumes our communities. It took thousands of black men to stand together to fight the confederacy to end the civil war, however, that war has never ended, we must form ranks and and become the vanguards of our community and fight a different fight, an intellectual war, one that requires precise planning and implementation designs that will change our condition, but it needs to be done from with in our community. The black church has all ways been a source that took it upon themselves to fight self oppression and external oppression. We need to look at our selves from different views and angels

    • What are these different views and perspectives that we need to incorporate to rise above our plight of self destructive behavior. God created us in an imperfect way, so stop feeling sorry for ourselves and repent for the shortcomings we possess. Take back all that we lost before desegregation and you will find a community that was prosperous, independent, upwardly mobile and financially resolved. Since we still live for the most part in segregated communities we need to take back all the business that are controlled by non-blacks and incorporate the same system our forefathers thrived on, why do we Inrich

    • Laurence Chiniquy, I don't appreciate you insulting me by calling me an Uncle Tom. I could return the fire if I wanted to, but I won't. My parents taught me that people should able to disagree without becoming disagreeable. Show me where I implied that the majority of African Americans are like the ones I'm address. That's your interpretation. I don't believe that that the majority of Black people act in a negative manner. As for the circles I travel in, I'm a Detroit musician, and the people I grew up with and play for are highly educated, successful people. I love Black people therefore I speak out when I see negative behavior.

    • Johnny Ace AfricaFirst Okeke: I agree that we didn't create all these problems alone, but many of us have created more problems. I think we can do more to help ourselves by eliminating these negative behaviors.

    • Maya Wright: Please read my response to Laurence. Thank you.

    • The carpet baggers who come to our community and set up their businesses like we have no abilities to do the same thing, before their was a time when all you saw in our communities were businesses owned and managed by black people, however, since desegregation came we opted to sit next to white people on the buses and eat in restaurants with them while we sold the inheritance of our great Gand parents for material illusions, like cars, we sold commercial property for cash that was wasted away on vain possessions. The Black church has to attack our problems in a way that will restore the economic power we lost. I don't hate Arabs, Whites, Jews, or Asians, however, I loath and disagree with the direction we are taking, a selfish way of empowering ourselves and looking down on those who have no means to rise above the slums that we exacerbate to develop in our communities God fearing people have a responsibility to correct the errors of our ways. king was an honorable man who died to teach us to rise above the pitfalls of self hatred and personal greed. Hartford memorial Baptist church in Detroit is an institution that saw the need to take back the commercial businesses in Detroit on seven mile road and the surrounding communities and we need to go back to them and expand that concept throughout the whole city of Detroit. By taking the commercial property back we can create institutions that will provide income for our youth and teach them how to become legal entrepreneurs. Instill greater pride in our communities and rid the drug dealers with a resource to build from, I don't mind if a black man wants to sell something in the community but it shouldn't be drugs. Educate, create businesses in the community one by one and boycott all the carpetbaggers, restore the lost glory we once had, during a time when it was the only way we knew how to survive. That prowess, creative spirit that our enemy saw in us became his target to reduce our community wealth to a community that lost its glory to a systematic design to take away our economic power base in Detroit and all across the country, we need to form ranks and protect the grounds of our community from would be invaders whose only intent is to insult the integrity of our community. What sense does it make for us to support the economic growth of others before our needs. Each church can buy a commercial property in Detroit and set up a business there and order their congregation to support that business,illustrate that by teaching our youth how to become effective business people will act as a catalyst to creating more black or community owned businesses in Detroit and after a while we will see the face of our community change from being derelict to prosperous and who will we thank for showing us the light God almighty.

    • You beat me to it. You posted your last comment before I could say "Preach". I was just finishing reading your last long posted when you made that last post.

    • Laurence and Maya, what do you think about Abdullah Bin Juttie's posts?

    • It's you that got me started Van, I am with you all the way, it's time for us to just form ranks and defend our community, sisters you can act as nurses and tend to those brothers who will get wounded in this next fight, or join us on the battlefield. A hundred a forty years ago black men fought against the Southern Armies of Robert E. Lee to free our families from bondage, well we are still fighting that battle, the honorable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Would not agree with the road we are taking, he said in his famous speech the night before he was assassinated that he might not get there you us, but we as a people he knew will get to the promise land, what did he mean by the promise land? Economic empowerment……

    • Jim Crow, segregation forced us to build our own, and look every body Jim Crow is still here in a different light, we don't own our communities they are just plantations, segregation fathered self reliance and fortitude amongst our people, and we think that desegregation changed something it only worsened our predicament go back and study our history, there were prosperous black communities all across America during the 19th century, read or google about Tulsa Oklahoma black community called black wall street. Read what they did to those people back then to take away their economic empowerment. They dropped incendiary bombs on our businesses and homes to take away our gold. Your history will give the the belief and conviction that we can do this again and we won't lose it this time.

    • We need to build mega business malls in our community in stead of churches, if people road through your communities and saw prosperous businesses in stead of lofty churches they would fear and respect us more. The power that we lack lies in our hands, just ask any of your grandparents who are still with us, what is was like before segregation ended. I'm not advocating that we reverse time, just take from that era what provided our community with an ability to survive. I don't think that sitting next to white people is going to put food on our tables, but owning a prosperous business will do that and these institutions will empower future generations to do well for their families. I have cousin who used to work for a Korean clothing store owner on GrandRiver across from where the old Sears used to be, he told me that guy is a millionaire selling clothes to black people, now tell me why it makes more sense to empower that Korean when any black man can do the same thing? Stop hating yourself and loving others more than our families. I don't see the logic in hating oneself and loving someone who wants to keep you in a state of poverty.

    • Why is everybody all quiet now? Cat got your tongue? I don't hate my brother or sister for giving me spiritual food, I applaud you for taking the time and consideration for caring about the well being of our community. As the great Curtis Mayfield once said……people get ready there's a train a coming don't need no money just get on board…..

    • The truth is a sore pill to sallow if you can't face the reality that we have gone astray from where the civil rights movement left us. Who said the struggle was over people, just because you can live in Southfield, Farmington, and Bloomfield Hills you think the day has arrived, I'm sorry, we have missed that train, but it's coming again and we still have enough time to right the wrong we have committed. When Moses came to his people and said we've got to go back to Zion, there were some who wanted to stay behind, worship the golden calf and go back to serve Pharoah while others followed Moses to the promise land. Where is the promise land people the ghettos or plantations where the majority of us still live. We can rebuild the majestic pyramids in our community once again by looking at self and the power God almighty has placed in our souls to overcome the degradation that we abide in, we have been hood winked into thinking that we have no skills all except Basketballers, and footballers who amuse the masses with games while the black masses toil in slums. Each one needs to join the battle line and fear God and not the power of our adversaries who are thrilled to see us squander in filth and waste. I marvel at those black men who stood side by side who fought for our freedom and only feared God on their day of Glory, our day of Glory has arrived again and it won't be fought with guns, rather the intellect to out think, out wit, out maneuver, those who still think they can pray on our humility.

    • The choir will complete this service with a spiritual song to uplift our sleeping minds and deliver us to do Gods work and rebuild our fallen communities…….praise his name people praise his name….

    • Laurence Chiniquy, I responded to your post.

    • Criticising each other is counterproductive. We're falling right into yt hands. Divide and conquer is yt's initial strategy after slavery was abolished. They deliberately broke up and tried to destroy the black family and they are still doing it. This is what we intelligent blacks need to focus on. Be blessed! Pastor Ed.

    • Thank you for saying that. There are too few of us putting the truth out. Too many pointing the finger at everyone else. We are our own worst enemy.

    • Laurence Chiniquy, I don't appreciate you insulting me by calling me an Uncle Tom. I could return the fire if I wanted to, but I won't. My parents taught me that people should able to disagree without becoming disagreeable. Show me where I implied that the majority of African Americans are like the ones I'm addressing. That's your interpretation. I don't believe that the majority of Black people act in a negative manner. As for the circles I travel in, I'm a Detroit musician (vancephus.com), and the people I grew up with and play for are highly educated, successful people. I played for President Obama. I love Black people therefore I speak out when I see negative behavior.

    • Even when we eliminate negative behaviors, we still have to deal with an economic system that is hostile to Black people – especially Black men. That creates MORE problems which lead to MORE negative behaviors.
      I'll admit that Black people need to solve their own problems, but let's not delude ourselves: The majority of Black people's problems are NOT ones that we can solve by ourselves because they were not created solely by us. {{-_-}}

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