Cornel West, Al Sharpton Argue About President Obama

cornel-sharpton

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

 

I just returned from the Measuring the Movement forum hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City.  The forum was insightful and empowering as it pertains to getting members of African American leadership to see the value of accountability.  NAACP President Ben Jealous gave time to the forum, and even President Barack Obama came through to give a speech.

In many ways, the convention was arguably the most successful gathering of its kind.  I find Sharpton’s approach to action-oriented solutions to be refreshing, and as a person who sat on a panel with both Jealous and Sharpton, it’s a relief to be involved with a forum where the goal is not to simply provide the best sound bite.  “Sound bite leadership” in the black community needs to die and be replaced with strong, direct action that recognizes the urgency of our deadly situation.

The day after the forum, I got off an airplane to hear that Rev. Sharpton got into a heated debate over the black agenda with Cornel West.  I knew the conversation would be volatile, and I was concerned about the imagery of two black men going to war on MSNBC.  Ed Schultz was the host of “A Stronger America: The Black Agenda,” a show that allowed a few voices to air their perspective on what a black agenda should look like in the age of Obama.  Personally, I wonder why such a show was not positioned on a black network, or at least with an African American host. 

As I expected, the argument came to a predictable boiling point.  Consistent with the views of his close colleague, Tavis Smiley, Cornel West fought hard to short-circuit the partnership between President Obama and Rev. Al Sharpton.  Sharpton,  a man not known to back down from anyone, defended his positions well and also challenged those who “sit in the ivory tower” and talk without much action (I do not consider Cornel West to be one of those people; he believes what he says and acts on it).

I watched the entire exchange shaking my head, primarily because I knew that such a fight was simply inevitable.  As I wrote on the Huffington Post a couple of weeks ago, the Obama Presidency has created a divide among black public figures that I pray does not cripple our community.  I love both Rev. Sharpton and Cornel West, and it was sad to watch them get into such a personal and nasty fight on national television.

My perception is that Cornel is coming from a genuine place.  I cannot say the same about Tavis Smiley, who seemed to have a problem with Barack Obama’s disrespect toward him during the 2008 presidential election.  West’s statements about the elitism of the Obama Administration (he mentions that Obama would be glad to speak out if a wealthy banker were stopped by police, but not if it were a poor black man) are on point.  He is also correct to note that the administration has been slow to readily acknowledge African American suffering.

In Sharpton’s defense, the truth is that having an African American figure on the inside of the Obama Administration gives our community a better chance to grab the ear of the president.  What’s yet to be determined, however, is whether or not the president is listening to Sharpton’s concerns or giving priority to the issues being faced by other constituencies.  Women’s groups, the gay community and the Latino community have gotten high priority from the Obama Administration, but African Americans remain at the back of the bus when it comes to our primary concerns, including mass incarceration and growing unemployment rates of over 15 percent.  My belief is that Cornel West and Al Sharpton are both witnessing the community’s struggle up close, and Sharpton hopefully serves as a true and passionate surrogate for those who are frozen out of Obama’s big white house.

President Obama has reason to be concerned about losing much of his steadfast African American support.  According to a recent survey conducted at YourBlackWorld.com, 34.4% of black respondents said that President Obama failed to meet their expectations after being elected.  This disappointment may not translate to votes for the Republicans, but it can manifest itself in reduced voter turnout in the African American community.

Another survey at YourBlackWorld.com reveals that nearly two-thirds (62.3%) of black respondents do not see President Obama as a civil rights leader.  Given that Obama is not a civil rights leader, we must be careful not to feel that his presence reduces the significance of true civil rights leaders like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and others.  This means that we need genuine and empowered advocates within black America who can mobilize the people to put pressure on any administration that is in power so that our rights as Americans can be secured. 

In other words, sitting around and hoping that President Obama will look out for our interests is not nearly as effective as pursuing our interests ourselves.  Work must be done on the ground to lay out a black agenda, putting pressure on both Congress and the Obama Administration to see to it that our community is not left behind.  Both West and Sharpton would likely agree with this assertion, and this can begin the quest for common ground.

 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. 

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121 responses to “Cornel West, Al Sharpton Argue About President Obama

  1. Pingback: Cornel West, Al Sharpton Argue About President Obama « Black Gossip for Black America, Black Celebrities included

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  8. AntBee

    Please tell us what exactly is expected of our President?

    Exactly what do you want him to do for Black folk?

    Why is it that we always have to be waiting on someone else to “give” us something, “do” for us, or “lead” us someplace?

    We need to do something for ourselves!

    We have been in the maze of others doing something for us and some waiting around for someone to give us something, or send us a check or some other non productive crap for far too long!

    This type of mentality has to change if we are ever to move forward in a productive manner.

    You want you 40 acres and your mule? Go out and get it for yourseld!

    Black folk WAKE UP!

  9. Before I began to read this article I had already ascertained that Mr. Sharpton would most likely be cozying up to Obama. There must, be some of them speaking into Obama’s seemingly deaf ear. In order for Sharpton to snuggle up to Mr. Obama he must literally kiss his butt. He must agree with Mr. Obama’s ‘Anglo-Elite’ oriented BS and must try to defend him.

    If Mr. Sharpton goes the way of Mr. Jesse Jackson there is great wealth to be had if they position themselves properly. I don’t see Prof. Cornel West ever becoming a sell-out to what is still an Anglo-Elite-Zionists power structure, and Obama’s so-called, “administration”, is stacked with them, with very few if any, earnest and true, ‘blacks’ like a Prof. Cornel West. As an African-American leader I would consider Cornel West before an Al Sharpton.

    Let them argue in public! It is about the only way that anyone will actually hear anything pertaining to the struggles and abuses we must face decade, after decade, after decade.

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Mr. Obama was chosen to give the U.S. a ‘Black’ face so that the usual bunch of instigators and world pillagers could better position themselves for a massive all out attack on nations in Africa and the Middle East. How anyone would believe the feces that runs from the mouths of these ‘white’ always white, government politicians, and officials is mind boggling. Everything they say about almost anything should be immediately dismissed, therefore everything Obama says is from their directions so his propaganda should be dismissed. America is out of order as it has been for centuries. Yet let them tell it “It’s all beautiful”.
    Obama will not help the ‘black’ community he is actually posted, and in place to allow the black community to be harmed in much worse ways.

    What’s worse. African-Americans can not help themselves because the same people who control people like Obama, are conspiring to make sure we never find unity and never create a powerful, cohesive and civilized culture in this most uncivilized ‘Americanized’ country!

    When they can topple African nations and steal their resources like they do in Haiti, Libya, and most other nations, while causing the peoples to turn on each other. What chances do you really think we have here?

    They are notorious schemers and liars, and if you look closely and without blinders you will see their constant hoaxes and lies.

  10. AntBee

    @WizardG,

    Please give us a break!

    ” I don’t see Prof. Cornel West ever becoming a sell-out to what is still an Anglo-Elite-Zionists power structure, and Obama’s so-called, “administration”, is stacked with them, with very few if any, earnest and true, ‘blacks’ like a Prof. Cornel West. As an African-American leader I would consider Cornel West before an Al Sharpton.”

    Mr. West is the biggest sell out of them all!

    He talks BLACK but sleeps WHITE!

    Tell Mr. West to stop hiding the bi-racial child he had with the white woman!

    You people with your conspiracy theories need to give it a rest.

    I am asking again, just what do some black folks expect Mr. Obama to do for them??

    A better question is: What have you done for yourself?

    Black folk WAKE UP!

  11. Pingback: Prof. Cornel West and Al Sharpton Fight Over the Black Agenda « Black Public Scholars

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  14. First of all, I love Obama, West, Sharpton and Jackson. Beyond that I’d like to state we should not be attacking each other but instead join together even when we have different opinions.
    If Obama is so anti Black then explain why the conservatives, the Tea party, and anyone who thinks like them is doing everything within their power to unseat him. He’s being undermined at everything he attempts .
    What we should learn from the Tea Party is the ability to form an impenetrable force and throw that kind of support behind Obama. He’s got my vote!!

  15. perspicere

    First, thank you for this article and know that while I may not agree with your viewpoint, I do appreciate it.

    Second, I wrote a comment that was way too long for this box. I will link back to you – Thank you for getting these wheels turning this morning!

  16. Pingback: The Black Agenda? « Perspicere

  17. msraingirl2

    The main reason that blacks don’t prosper is clear. The Willie Lynch syndrome and the crab in the barrel syndrome has consumed the minds of too many black folk. Either you are all brain dead or blind and deaf. Obama says that he is the president for ALL the Americans but no one has to prod him to fight ( an act of treason ) for the illegal aliens who have invaded this country. The greatest threat to this country is Mexico and its barbaric people and this government who cherry pick which laws they want to enforce. As for the black community for centuries blacks have been racially profiled, killed in cold blood by white cops sent to prison in numbers equal to the days of slavery with out a word from Obama or Eric Holder. The drug laws are designed to protect white people while condemning and imprisoning blacks. This is clear no questions about the injustices toward blacks. So for those of you OREOS out there who still praise Obama you are guarenteeing a continuation of the status quo. it’s time for the black community to get serious and self examine accept the dismissal of blacks in what clearly is a government inflicted malicious hatred against blacks. Of the historical issues that affects All black folk not just the poor uneducated we continue to struggle. Dr. King died in vain because this government saw him making a small impact on changing the culture for blacks and the white elites and this government had him killed to put a stop to impact which interfered with their agenda. Al Sharpton is a part of that agenda despite his smoke screen to blacks claiming otherwise. Clearly we are not near the degree of criminals we are made out to be and we all know that but we are quick to side with the Anglos as we continue to destroy ourselves at the command of the white rule. There is nothing about Al Sharpton that is genuine he is a fake I would have more respect for him if he admitted his bias toward the black community and he just want to get paid. He in my opinion is narcissistic and greedy. He wants to be important there is no real substance to this man. As for Cornell West he is the only hope for any dialogue in support of equal rights and justice for blacks while exposing the white devils who have brought this country to its knees with their lies , deception and hatred. Obama is a puppet on a white string he cannot help himself he is bought and paid for. Blacks need to get over expecting to be included in his white house agenda. Obama promised nothing to blacks when he campaigned and has given nothing since taking office. He clearly is for every one except blacks. and that’s just the way it is. When Obama brought Prof. Gates and the white cop to the white house after the white cop essentially told him to kiss his ass that was more than enough for me Obama is just window dressing for the white man.

  18. Qboro

    Ant Bee, Black people are Obama’s constituents and largest base. Your question doesn’t make any sense. Do you know what would have happened if the Moral Majority, Christian Right who elected Reagan would have done if he ignored them? He wouldn’t have gotten re-elected. Come on! There are many Black grassroots leaders in this country. Let’s stop with the silly argument about someone doing for us. We elected him to do what? Take pictures with Michelle. Wake up and get politically mature.

  19. AntBee

    @ Qboro ,

    LOL, LOL,

    “Black people are Obama’s constituents and largest base. Your question doesn’t make any sense.”

    You are kidding, right?

    How are ONLY black people his constituents and largest base when black people are only 13% or so of the population?

    I think it is you who need to wake up.

    What did Mr. Obama promise you?

    PLEASE black folk stop with this Willie Lynch foolishness!

    There was no Willie Lynch/ letter! Stop passing that lie around!

    Do the research!!

    The large reason we are where we are is because we have sat back too long waiting for someone to give us something!

    Our people (the masses) need education!

    As long as we continue to breed children we can’t take care of, as long as we do not take responsibility for our children and become productive parents, we (the masses) are doomed as a whole. As long as we continue to be ignorant (the masses) we are doomed!

    Education is the key to freedom!

    Please stop with the crap and start facing and telling the truth!

    Stop waiting for Mr. Obama to lead you to the promise land!

  20. Weuseourminds

    As I have been thinking for years, Sharpton is a Gate Keep, to divert criticism away from Obama. By keeping Black folks from criticizing Obama, keeps Black’s without a voice. Many Presidents had to deal with Black issues. Kennedy, Johnson, Bush I, and Clinton did, why can’t Obama address our issues. The facts are that the powers structure of America doesn’t wants to and Black leadership is not pressing to have our concerns heard. This makes it so important for Black’s to view ourselves as a Nation so that our lives are not determine by one man such as Obama. I Love the positive symbolism effect that Obama presidency has had on Black America, but thats where it stops. Stop giving Obama a pass while he gives White Wall Street Billions.

  21. AntBee

    @Weuseourminds,

    “why can’t Obama address our issues. ”

    What are our issues?

    What should Mr. Obama be doing for black folks?

  22. Naadabee

    Qboro, I think you are mistaken about black folks being Obama’s largest constituents. There are and were more white supporting Obama than there were black. So while Auntbee is getting “politically mature”, you should be taking a basic statistic class. We represent about 13-14% of the population so just by sheer numbers we can not be Obama’s largest constituency. I too am sick of the post traumatice stress disorder thing, the Willie Lynch letter, the endless conspirocy theories. We have a bit of recoking to dowith our own selves and our communities. When will we take responsibility of ouractions, our self-destructive actions. How many times do we have to see the state taking away our children because there is no one to care for them. As an adopted child, there are many black children int he system who stand little chance of being adopted out of it by black parents. When will we care enough to teach our young women to value themselves and that selling out to the fleeting passions of sex over and over and over again with out an undrstanding of the consequences? When will we teach our young men the same thing? When will we teach them by EXAMPLE that who they are is precious and valuable? Who will show them the value of a hard days work? who will show them how to walk and live with integrity and honor? Who can show them how to get an education and set up a business for themselves and our community so that we all can prosper? Who will remind us that although the blood of african slaves who built this country runs through our veins? When will remind us, and them, that there would be no America without us? Although my distant ancestors are from Africa, my closer kin lived, bled and died in this country. This IS my country. I am an American. How manytimes do drugs have to come into our community and destroy life and family and life and family over and over again before we get that it si US who HAS to do the work of keeping them out? It is we who have to police our selves and fairly. It is we who need to demand better from us for us. When the country was segregated, we had to do for ourselves.
    We had to educate ourselves. We had to doctor oursick and dying and those givig birth. We had to protect ourselves and our families and raise our children. We dealt with the rape and the hate and the robbery and the disdain and the disenfranchisement and the deplorable condition and survived….to what? We are not a stupid people. We are not an untalented people. We are not a incapable people. We had to have known that with the onset of equal rights it would never be truly equal and that there were always going to e those who would work quietly to orchestrate our demise. Why is it we have bought into commodity of black explotation? How has the illusive colorblind equality fooled us into thinking that we can rest? How did we miss it and mess it up? My mom and her genenration made shure that as many black kids and they could provide scholarships for attended college because they knew that we needed to ALWAYS be able to take care of our communities. We bought the lie oof drugs and alcohol and the lie of Gucci bags and entertainment. We have slit our own throats and hearts to luxoriate in a prosperity and equality that is taking countless lives. Professional sports has become anther plantation buying and selling athletes and then casting them aside when they blow out a knee or break a femor bone in half. They attend colleges on scholarship with schalarship being the least of their concerns. Most leave with nothing. So much to say. We have HARD work before us, very very hard work. Who will do it? Who will break the self-destructive cycles in our communities. The Japanese have prospered greatly after WWII even with the constiction we placed on them. The Jews have prospered…why not us?

  23. AntBee

    @Naadabee ,

    Let the church say AMEN!

    Yours was one of the most honest, thought provoking, intelligent, right-on responses I have read in a long time.

    This is the type of honesty we need to face and deal with.

    Thank you!

  24. Sad to see 2 brilliant minds go back and forth – Yes in a negative way… On the national stage… Hope Rev. Al and Cornel West – can re-connect after this heated debate…

    http://ThyBlackMan.com – Black Men Blog…

  25. Never that… I guess people were promise a change, and it just hasn’t happen… Same Ole corrupt fed/gov… Seems like Barack has got hip to the game, and willing to play that way…

    http://ThyBlackMan.com – Black Men Blog…

  26. perspicere

    I think you as many have misquoted President Obama’s quote – he never said he never promised us CHANGE – Every time President Obama talked about change he asked for OUR help…here are some quotes to refresh your memory…

    “I’m not going to tell you what your role should be; that’s for you to discover. … I am asking you to change history’s course.” … Who else is going to do it?: “We are the people we’ve been waiting for …. But we need your help.” “To those Americans whose support I have yet to earn: I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President, too.”
    Barack Obama November 04, 2008

  27. Khalil_mlk

    RE: “Cornel West, Al Sharpton Argue About President Obama”

    The reality is the change that America has gotten is equal to the “pocket change” that Black American have been surviving on for a long time welcome to the back of the bus White America with little to no money. A President represents those who make policy, if you ain’t got lots of money and/or print lots of money you have no say in making policy.

  28. ana

    Dr. King wasn’t trying to make friends or please ”Massa,” he was trying to show the economic strength and effectiveness of African American Minorities when they come together in Unity….Dr.King said”If a man has not found something he is willing to die for,he is not fit to live….Remember the Vietnam War?All the money wasted in that War,when the money could have been better used for Schools and Education,we had growing expanding Ghettos,and a rapidly growing Underclass,sounds familiar?…Make sure your African Identity is always first,Reject Cultural Imperialism,that forces you to Change”It Robs you of what your Roots Are….The Words of Dr. King said.”We must Migrate to Africa and Build This Great Continent….”The Tensions between the Two S

  29. Lacey

    This whole fiasco was a terrible shame. Dr. West was on The Bill Maher Show with the same attitude. It looks like Willie Lynch is still in effect. Can we just stick together? Is that too much to ask? Here it is a white man had to have a show about Black America. This is ridiculous. The state of where “we” are was certainly displayed on this show. Too bad for Ed Shultz. He probably thought he was inviting intellectuals to his show. Dr. West needs to let up off of that rhetoric. It’s a lot of empty nonsense. Rev. Sharpton has been an advocate for Black people for a long time. The “I’m tired of defending you lady,” should refrain from making another public appearance. It’s a good thing that Obama takes the center line as he does in most cases. If he had to rely on us solely, we could not help him. We can’t even help ourselves. Welcome to a stagnated Black culture!

  30. 2delivered

    AntBee – you are really warped. Black folks have NEVER had the opportunity to sit around and wait on anything. I would hate to see you coming down the street because you are what they want: a self-loathing black – meaning you have no problem putting down your own, but you would never lift a lone eyelash in the face of real power. You’re sad and greatly defeated in this American game. You like style, but abhor substance – probably because you lack it. That’s usually the case.

    Also if you’re any kind of scholar, you know that the Willie Lynch letter doesn’t have to be real – too many other documents are and they speak to the same sentiments and these are textbooks. I’d list them here, but you wouldn’t receive it because you want to receive the worst about blacks, especially the lower class ones. That way you can feel good about yourself.

  31. Lacey

    Don’t fall for the “divide and conquer” method. Dr. West clearly has! Everybody who has degrees doesn’t always have common sense. Dr. West is wrong about Obama. And, he should be quite.

  32. AntBee

    @ 2delivered,

    Re-read your post, and even you will conclude that you sound like a fool!

    You make personal attacks and comments about me and who I am, and you know nothing about me.

    You sound foolish, and ignorant, and in fact your comments stem from ignorant emotion, all because you do not agree with what I wrote.

    It is fools like you that don’t give anything to anyone, and especially another black person. Try coming our of your limited environment sometimes, and perhaps you will learn something.

    It is black folk with your mentality that we can no longer afford.

    Allow others to have their opinion without the name calling, Hood-rat!

  33. Real Talk 101

    Those are truest words spoken on this blog: Sharpton= Self absorbed oppertunist West=Common sense gladiator!

  34. I watched the entire program from the responses I am reading and hearing it validates one point or should I say stereotype, (all Black folks think alike). It doesn’t surprise me that two well informed African American men emphasizing their points of view with heated passion. All of you that are married and/or have children especially teenagers know expressing ones’ self with passion is nothing new. As a matter of fact when married people celebrate an anniversary it really celebrating surviving another year without either one of us killing the other (this example may be somewhat extreme but you get my point. Both men points were on point what they really demonstrate is a total disconnect between our elected leadership and the welfare of the common person. Mr. Sharpton is correct President Obama was elected by a cross section of Americans; unfortunately they aren’t represented at the table. It’s like having a basketball team with LeBron James and Kobe Bryant teamed with ninth graders playing the NBA All-Stars’. No one elected official can save us. Collectively we haven’t made our voice heard.
    Black people have serious ego problems. We have that “I’ve been a slave so long now I’ve got to be the master” attitude. I wish the brother’s’ had gone in a room and had that discussion prior to coming on the program. They are wise to have foreseen questions coming up which they have different opinions. These issues should have been discussed (in private) and when they appeared on the program they would have provided a united front. This kind of united front would provide leadership for the masses. There is little of no hope for us if the (talented tenth) refuse to provide the leadership. An example, in just about every piece of legislation the president has presented the republican has unanimously opposed, do you think that happened by chance, hell no. These fellows passionately and adamantly expressed their points of view, with very little wisdom.

  35. Victor

    When will we ever learn. I’ve seen this done before so many times. Listen I voted for Obama and personally I love the man. However, Obama ain’t going to help Black people no more than George Bush was able to put a dent in the abortion issue. If you paid attention Carl Rove had Black preachers and white preachers believing that George was on the side of people of faith. George Bush had a alot of people fooled but at the end of the day he is a politician. And were is he know back on the ranch, Where will Obama be when this is all said and done? Obama at the end of the day is a poltitican no more no less. Cornell and Sharpton need to get their butts back to work. The issues impacting African Americans are to severe to have these type of arguments. Frederick Douglas once said “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” We must demand what we want and work to get it. So Bro West and Bro Sharpton need to get the people together and just like the tea party does either you are going to vote for are agenda or your gone. The tea party is a extreme right wing movment. However, right now they have the attention of the repbulican party. If you want anybodys attention in Washington you have to raise your voice. They will listen if you use the four letter word “VOTE” To Brother Sharpton and Bro West lets get back to work and next time ya got a disagreement talk about it off the air. What is ashame is Mr. ED was sitting there loving every minute can anybody say RATINGS . Only use the camera when necessary.

  36. I have read every comment on this discussion and though I did not witness the exchange between these men, I fear it will only stimulate more negativity. I respect both West and Sharpton, which is why I am disappointed that they allowed themselves to be used like pawns on a chess game of negativity. They, as we all, should kmow better. Obama has shown restraint whenever he has had negativity thrown his way. We must be mindful and thoughtful in our discourse. Too Much is at stake. Where is the unity?!

  37. Qboro

    Nadabee, blacks are his base. 90% of blacks voted for Obama. If blacks didn’t vote for him, he wouldn’t be in office. Also, since you are talking about the Japanese, there was a program put in place by the American government to make a comeback after they were bombed(do your research). You and Antbee hate really don’t like black people. Your tired of conspiracy theories? So, l guess in your fantasy world, there aren’t any police who have separate procedures for blacks and latinos, gentrification, inferior education targeted towards blacks and latinos, etc? You are in a fantasy world. You ask about Jews? Jews have the white skin privilege not awarded to black people. Read How the Irish became white. You think everybody who doesn’t live in your fantasy world is waiting for a handout. Best believe if Joe Lieberman was elected president, he would be focusing on Israel and jews and negroes like you wouldn’t even complain. Remember everything we got was through blood, not hand outs

  38. Qboro

    2delivered, you are on point. Who are these negroes who keep thinking everybody wants a handout?

  39. Qboro

    Naadabee, Conspiracy theories? Really? So black people put the drugs in our communities? Whites are 80% of the drug customers but only represent 15% of the arrested. Don’t tell me about the statistics because this is a law enforcement statistic. Another thing, there are more black people in this country than 12-14%. There are many black people who have never been counted. That tired statistic has been floating since the 1970′s, wake up. Right here in NYC, there are many blacks who are illegal in addition to the blacks who are citizens. There is no way we are stuck at 12% of the US population.

  40. shirley

    I disagree with the above comments made about DR West and
    REv Sharpton. some of us are walking around with blinders
    on. DR Watkins said it all, and he is right on point. There
    are a lot of black people keep blaming the Republicans not
    sigining this or that and that is why the President and help
    the black people, well they sure enough wating in long lines
    voting for him. You don’t vote for in one to be put in office
    if they can’t help you. So need to wake up from a deep sleep.
    He is not ever going to do it, he just talked the talk durng
    the primaries but he is not walking the walk. And he signed
    everything he could for the Latinos and the Gays. So lets
    get real and stop dogging the issure at hand. Black
    people got to rise up like the Tea Party people and stop
    being so Passive. Dr king would have never stood for this
    nonsense that is going on today. And he did mention
    more than once (The President) references to DR. King
    before he got elected, have your hear him say anything since. I get sick of people comparing him to DR, King.
    that is ridiculous !!! Jesse Jackson knows and could
    say a lot but he is keep silent i know for a reason, and
    most of all Jesse is working every day in the trenches fighting
    these big Coporations for black people to get these Ceo jobs and he certainly should get more praise from the blacks, Jesse is one of the smartest people on the planets.
    WE to get this book and read Jesse Jackson by Anna Kosof.
    This man is brillant !! i am a woman from the Civil Rights
    time.

  41. Shango

    Al Sharpton during one point of his career was a militant voice of the oppressed and Black suffrage, today he is comprised, co-opted and searching for mainstream acceptance from the White House. His personal direction and Civil Right ideology is ineffective for our struggle today; it just gives him television time and theatre.

    The Black masses must begin a reorientation towards self reliance, self determination, economic development and group unity i.e. national consciousness or nationhood. It’s the only genuine formula for our independence and salvation. Everyone in the world who are powerful practice it……………………

    There are some groups in this country (Asia) that have minimal interaction with the political process, but they strong, because they practice nationhood within the larger nation.

    As for Mr. Obama, if the handwriting was not already on the wall it should be extremely clear now; he is just tool and instrument for capitalist and imperialist expansionism and exploitation. His policies have been no more than an extension of the Bush Administration on almost all major domestic, foreign and national security policy issues.

    Let’s cut emotional and political ties which truly are going no were and unify ourselves.

  42. perspicere

    No one will ever answer this question because we already have everything we need. Unfortunately common sense and critical thinking can’t be legislated. smh

  43. Shango

    Very timely political analysis. We need more people giving clarity of thought as you have shown here.

    Forward

  44. Victor

    Brother Shango I can’t agree with you more are people should no better by now that the system is corrupt. The last thing this country wants to see is string black leadership. Obama while he may have all the right intentions will not be able to create policy that can and should help black people. I do believe that a coalition of people from different backgrounds can address black Americas issues. We (black folk) must recognize that we must be more strategic in addressing the issues. We can have fir example an Ed Shultz driving the topic. He can help but he can’t be allowed to dictate the conversation. Brother Shango my question has been for awhile where have all the prophets gone. I think that we are missing genuine prophetic voices. My prayer is that we will begin to hear those voices again. Notice I said voices. Not looking for a messiah but looking for the collective will of the people to speak

  45. Qboro

    Shango and Victor, your points are spot on. I heard Sharpton on the radio last week acting like it was totally out of the question that the Libyan “rebels” could be funded by intelligence organizations. He actually shouted a caller down saying there aren’t any facts. Everybody knows that the US has a history of disrupting foreign groups. That’s when I knew that the Rev had completely compromised himself. He couldn’t even have a civil conversation with Dr West. I’m saying this as a person who always supported Sharpton.

  46. Peg

    Having a black President does not mean that African Americans can stop seeking to help them self. It doesn’t mean that all issues of blacks from centuries past are going to be resolved. It means that you now have someone in a position to help you help yourself. Stop pointing fingers at someone else and do something about the fingers pointing directly at you. Stand up and fight for what you want rather than wait for someone else to fight for you.

  47. msraingirl2

    Aunt Bee I don’t know what you read but I have a copy of the Willie Lynch letters if you want a copy please reply back. It’s to bad black folk don’t want to see the truth. Remember Obama might look black but he was raised by white folk. We are who we are based on our upbringing and clearly he had no attachment to his Kenya father to help mold his thinking he in fact is a white man stuffed in a black body thinking with white principles led by white rule and has no idea what it is to be black. Stop trying to defend him it is what it is. Obama is no different than the Klan of presidents before him. He is another puppet for big business, chambers of commerce, the Catholic church and the judicial system who really run this country. He is just window dressing. I don’t want Obama to lead me to the promised land he couldn’t do it if he wanted to but he is trying as hard as hell to lead over 600 million illegal aliens from Mexico and around the world to this country which is the promise land for them . At the expense of the precious few blacks that are left in this dictator led country. We are no different from third world countries as far as human rights abuses and the absence of democracy we are not a super power we are a country of dictators none of whom give a damn about the law or the constitution its all about every body except the inclusion of blacks. We are systematically prevented from equal treatment or most other “rights afforded to all others” yet we are the first to condemn each other who speak truth about the state of Black America. Stop drinking the European kool aid. This country has built a wall around blacks that keep them in mass poverty, uneducated and a plethora of other disenfranchisement’s that some blacks who think that they have made it refuse to acknowledge. It’s too bad that we are so brainwashed that we cannot accept the pain that most of us suffer at the hands of the continuation of slavery due to the unjust white mans rule and continuing agenda.

  48. It disturbs me when those at the highest visibility in our society, activists, preachers, professors, show so little regard for each other in debate.

    Talking over each other, not allowing each other to make their point etc. We are reinforcing messages that black people are disciplined and just don’t know how to behave.

  49. MIMI

    I would have to agree its ok to be passonate, and they each have valid points. A sit down before the show would have left both of them appearing intelligent rather than looking like we don’t know how to act in public. All that proved is that as a race we can’t even agree on what we need.

  50. Pingback: Cornel West and Al Sharpton Go At It Over President Obama – Dr. Boyce Watkins Blog

  51. SHAKA

    WELL SAID!

  52. AntBee

    @msraingirl2,

    You have a copy of the supposed Willie Lynch letter? LOL, LOL, LOL

    Dear, please stop being so gullible, and foolish. The letter is a hoax!
    It was used to rile up black folks and people like you fell for it without doing research. You just followed along with what someone told you!.

    Read the letter, and even you will see that it could not have been written in those days and times. Even the name used is suspect.

    The letter surfaced circa 1980′s perhaps by a disgruntled black person and some blacks have been passing that lie around for far too long.

    It is a shame that so many black folks believe in this letter and will refer to it every time whites do something they do not like. LOL!

    Did MLK ever mention this letter? Did Frederick Douglass?, Malcolm?, Thurgood Marshall?, Garvey?, Don’t you think someone would have mentioned it back in the day in some of their speeches/writings?

    Black folk need to stop bringing up this Willie Lynch character, and get about the important issues we face in our communities. I wish many black folk would have the same passion and emotion they have about Willie Lynch to becoming educated.

    DO THE RESESERCH!

  53. AntBee

    Opps!

    No way to edit/correct spelling. Sorry about last post.

    Please, someone tell me what you expect the President to do for black people?

    These are trying times for ALL Americans.

    I keep reading how Mr. Obama did not keep his promise to black folks. Exactly what promises did he make to black people?

    And for those who say he had a white mother, thus he is not black, then why would you expect him to do something for you?

    Again, SOME black people have always waited on someone to do for them, give them something, or lead them someplace.

    Do for yourself!

  54. Bill Williams

    Isn’t it nice to have someone to point the finger at for not meeting our expectations, but why is the onus always on someone else? Why can’t those who claim to be the voice of the black community show some initiative in changing the conditions within the black community. Put pressure on Corporate America force them to hire more Black – Americans (we spend alot of money buying their products), force local politicans to provide the resources needed to fix-up abandoned buildings in the community, provide opportunities for our youth to get a quality education; more importantly, pressure law enforcement to eliminate youth killings by preventing gun trafficking in the community. But somehow it appears that it’s easier to play the blame game, I know the President is black so he’s suppose to do for us. But, there have been others before him, yet, I can’t recall them being an advocate for the black cause or the criticism being as loud or as frequent. Subsequently, instead planting the seed for a low voter turn-out why isn’t there a voice of encouragement to get out the vote. We can’t afford to be complacent. If you think things are bad now just let the republicans take control again. The gap between those who have and those who don’t will be even greater, this is evident by what the republicans are trying to do now. It’s allright to express difference of opinion but we must stay focussed for there are consequences.

  55. This issue is quite complex and it was fascinating to read the various opinions. The vitriolic responses to this administration clouds the real concerns we have about the effectiveness of President Obama and his inner circle. The latter compromised of folks with points of view quite different from what the now President espoused while campaigning. Therein lies the rub. Bait and Switch tactics lend to suspicion, conspiratorial conjectures and loss of confidence in a leader. Yes…I know about President Lincoln’s cabinet of opposites. Some historians cite old Abe began to rue that decision.

    Those who cite that he is the leader of all Americans cite a truth as “many things are true” (Elizabeth Alexander) yet, my pause is that
    many Americans don’t like people of color and especially if they’re leading the country. Furthermore, given the complex makeup of this country with the varied goals, interests and socioeconomic realities; some group is going to be left behind. Unfortunately, it appears to be blacks again and that’s harder to accept when the leader of the country looks like many in our ethnic group. Another caution of mine is to recognize that Presidents are figureheads and their power is far less than most of want to believe. It is also a humbling experience for them once they take the office to accept that!

  56. victor

    Carolyn you make some really great points. I will say that it does look like black folk are being left behind. However, I’m not sure if we ever were ahead. It seems like struggle has been are best friend. Many have reaped the benefit of a struggle that has been ongoing. The truth is some have forgotten that struggle. Succcess can be a drug that blinds us from the realities of where we came from. When President Obama came into office he had to deal with the reaity that things were not going to change as much as he thought. Saying that I believe he’s done the best he can. The truth is we still live in a racist society that has always looked at color as a necessary evil. I think the other issue that is real and has increase in this climateis the one between class . There are people who have used there influence and power to divide people period. A small percentage of this country controls the wealth of an entire nation. We must speak out and make are voices heard.

    If we (Black Folk) made up 20% of the persons who voted for Obama we need are leaders to use those numbers to get this White house to pay attention. To be quite frank with you I’m not sure what leader would attempt to make that much noise. The truth isd congress and the sentate need a wake up call. I have a question where the hell is the black caucus. Are issues always seem to get sweeped under the rug at the end of the day Obama is a politican and must be dealt with like a politician. He does not get a pass but folk have to get their representatives to act. Again the will of the people has to be asserted. However, based on this conversation it looks like the will of the people will be put on hold again. Especially whenn leaders argue like what we just saw it certainly does not help. Hey don’t they both Sharpton $ West have each others numbers I suggest they call one another and get themsleves straight.

  57. Qboro

    Well said and on point!

  58. Qboro

    AntBee, what’s thought provoking, intelligent, and honest about black self-hate and denial of the truth? Do you read anything besides mainstream newspapers? Do you know your history?

  59. Qboro

    That’s pretty much your problem, your in a fantasy world. The illusion of inclusion. Why is he a hood-rat? Because he’s not in denial of what this system puts black people through? You never acknowledged anything he said regarding the past presidents addressing our problems. Why do accept second-class citizenship?

  60. Qboro

    Orita, I like Al Sharpton, I even met him a couple of times, but the problem is he is a sore loser. He’s used to winning debates and he’s quick on his feet. Dr. West was only trying to get a point across and Sharpton tried to shout him down. I was with my friends when we saw this exchange and we knew it was coming. Sharpton has a bad habit of doing things like that. He did it to Tavis Smiley.

  61. Qboro

    Victor,
    The Black Caucus(except a few) is busy partying and counting money. They are more concerned with their titles and corporate sponsorships than representing the people.

  62. AntBee

    @msraingirl2

    The “Willie Lynch Speech” is not mentioned by any 18th or 19th century slave master or anti-slavery activists. Again, have you ever heard MLK or Malcolm mention Willie Lynch?

    Please research this issue, and educate yourself, and yes it is a shame that some black folk do not want to hear the truth! I agree!

    You have a copy of a hoax! PLEASE, before you go off on how black folk do not want to hear the truth, DO THE RESEARCH!

    This so called speech/letter is used by blacks who want to explain why we are in the position we are in today. They refer to this letter as the “Willie Lynch” syndrome LOL! And of course all black folk suffer from it! This is a great excuse for not moving forward.

    I am still asking what promises did Mr. Obama make to black people?

    No, some black folk expected Mr. Obama to lead them to the promise land, (I guess he was black enough for them at that time), and give them their 40 acres and their mule.

    No matter what he does he is doomed, and SOME black folks can’t wait to kick him down further, and pull him back into the barrel.

  63. AntBee

    @2delivered,

    PLEASE!

    You are too foolish to communicate with even in cyberspace.

    re-read your post. Very intelligent!

  64. Anthony 1

    The passionate exchange between Cornell and Al reflects the passionate substance of the responses. For that reason, it served a valid purpose.
    Their differing perspectives on how to address the condition of Black people in America hopefully can be tempered in the notion that they both seek the same “center”. I think we all do.
    The reality is that despite isolated examples of financial and educational progress, the Black community as a whole remains in a disoriented, dysfunctional state and is continually scapegoated as the reason for our condition.
    “Slavery” as an institution existed long before America did. Historical and even Biblical references to slaves being taken by conquerors confirm that, but America’s implementation of this institution was the first to base it on “RACE”.
    It was a physical, psychological, spiritual, and cultural assault on our very existence and even though physical slavery ended over 1oo years ago, the other facets noted are still with us for Blacks and Whites alike. As there has always been resistance to the physical slavery, there is still resistance to the less blatant but very pervasive aspects. Nothing changes the fact that American slavery was the most HEINOUS example of inhuman treatent in recorded history but the intelligence, and awareness of most of the responses I’ve read here(sorry Ant Bee: just didn’t really feel ya) strongly indicates that the passion for justice and life is still alive.
    We just can’t continue to play the same game that’s been played on us and expect a convenient exit from the madness.

  65. Brian S.

    First off, if you take an unbiased look at the President and his policies to date they reflect Bushes to the dotted “i” & crossed “t”. His public rhetoric is to pacify and his implementation of actual policy is Republican. IMO him being elected is now strictly historical, a good question for Jeopardy contestants, but his actions scream “closet Republican”. So I give Dr. West major points in questioning his credibility as far as the black community is concerned. And as for Sharpton…to quote a P.E. song….”every brother aint a brother, because of color, just as well could be undercover”. Our people desperately need to stop clinging to African Americans because they look the part, and start attaching themselves to ones action.

  66. Shirley Quinn

    Yes, the interaction was alarming, but necessary. Sometimes Smart people like Cornel West; who at one time was my Idol; Can be brilliant and intellectal 1000ways, however, Cornel is Dumb and Ignorant in 2000ways. That is the clear case of this Professor. His association with raging jealous Tavis Smiley has tainted him severely… Tavis was Thrown off the Joyner Show due to his absolute hate for the President and outrageous comments against the First Black President; Who in “2years” has turned Washington upside down with Bills Passed. The personal agenda of Dr. West should be that of taking up Residence at A Black College, To Teach, To Teach dominate color/Negros instead of being in supreme dominant White Colleges. That is my Large problem with him, always telling someone what, how and when to do the Black problem; Why not Open West Education College for the people who Really needs it. God does not approve of your ragged behavior towards an astute and qualified Person in the White House. No, the both of You opened a lousy radio program to Dog the President. Go Teach the Opportunity and Richness of Getting along with your Brother…. The Fake Phoney Love you always allude to is dark, lies, and has a definite Smell of Deceit. What organization, Coalition, Group, Forum, Meeting Place do you run to help the downtroden Negro; on the streets of New York; or the Jailed Brother, You just Talk, Talk and transfer the Action over to the President, He Is Not A Civil Rights Worker; but a Sharp Organizer.as I say, again, Go To A Poor, Low ranking College and Put your Mouth on Helping to educate Blacks, You have written enough Books. Most people can’t read them Anyway. Your Ivy League benefits will not allow you to go yonder to teach the less/. That was so Ghetto, two Blacks airing out their disagreements; Not Nary a White, Would do that to another White…But Blacks will put another Black Down – No Charge… Your Black Act is not for real; you talk Black; and marry white that reveals who you really Are… Why Would you call Al, A Black Mascot; what are you?? Going across the country playing the Fool. White Folks are talking about You/Negative, I am talking about you, I am Black, I tell my Children about you… What A horrible display of Brother Brother. You, & Tavis will Pay for the Harm you both have created towards the President… No matter what the White Presidents did, one comment, then no sounds, Regan w/Trickle Down Money; Clinton, taking the resources from the Welfare people. Bush with the Wars… No, You Two Culprits said Nary A Word. Brother Man, the Both of You Need Jesus…

  67. Norm Wilson

    How is President Obama a pawn/puppet for the
    Catholic Church?

  68. Rodney

    I loved every minute of it – it was perfect – NO we dont all agree on the same politics – we are not all DEMON CRATS and YES all of us who voted for this PRESIDENT expected him to be innovative and detinctive – and yet we GOT the a corporate lawyer –

    Rev Sharpton was right on some points and Dr West was right – have 2 very intelligent MEN – who care what race they are debate – WAS GREAT

    This is why we are so weak politically – because we are not diverse in our thinking and politics – I have been a independant for over 20 years – i cant understand why the majority of BLACK FOLK are Demon Crats –

    the Congress and the President have become puppets – Both men are right.

  69. Chris Glass

    I completely agree with Bill Williams and somewhat with Shaka. You both speak to the issues on a macro and micro level. Yet and still at the end of the day black people still need to realize that Obama being in office did not translate into drastic changes in our plight. Politics as sad and as difficult for me to say is a game to be played and I believe Obama is playing the best he can to ensure he is elected in office for a second term. In which he may have a greater opportunity to address the issues that are greatly effecting our community. Even with that being said we still need to do our best in uniting our community and encouraging them to vote like Bill states. As opposed to forecasting a defeat.

  70. Rose Lewis

    You ae so right!! Seeds are already being planted NOT to support the President in a second term-only because he has not done all that he can do for the black community. He is a black president-but, president to ALL the people – no matter what race. It does seem that he has not done all that he can do- but, it takes all of us to fight for what we need, we need to help him. Even before he took the oath of office, the poll began on how he was rated- he has had a fight on his hands from day one! As a black man, he has had to deal with issues on a triple basis-not double! He should not have had to fight against Rev. Wright and other blacks caused an uproar in his candidacy…even nearly three years later, folks are still talking about a “birth certificate”. Foolishness! Don’t start with the republican and other racists agendas… Start if we start with the craw-dad mentality of pulling him down, then we really need to take a step back, look in the mirror and ask what have “I” done lately?

  71. Qboro

    I agree, why is Dr. West always at Ivy League schools? He should have been at Howard or Morgan by now. I have some questions regarding Dr. West, but I think he won the debate. Remember, I like Rev, but he started the shouting match. I disagree regarding Tavis.

  72. Qboro

    Anthony, America wasn’t the first place to have slavery based on race. There was slavery directly against black people in the Arab world. Also we (black Africans)were enslaved in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Spanish and Portuguese Empire a little over 100 years before blacks were enslaved in Virginia.

  73. Donald E Ousley Jr

    I agree with Shaka and disagree with alot of black people keep blaming Republicans… politics is such a dirty game and blacks are sucked into this game like everything else. Even these discussions and people’s opinion about them. Alot of the times people misdiagnose whats wrong with there opinion and that further complicates the discussion. Both Dr. West and Rev. Al Sharpton had valid points. They should have had their discussion together in private before having it on a national platform. Black people do have a serious ego problem, i absolutely agree with: We have that “I’ve been a slave so long now I’ve got to be the master” attitude. An example is when i hear a person say, “some of us are walking around with blinders on” This is saying I know something and others are ignorant, if they thought the way i did then they would be smart like me. It is a truth that the Republican party presented themselves as the party of no to Obama and America; even when he introduced their Ideas in his plan they said “no” simply because he introduced it. So if black people feel that way we arent wrong in that. It’s obvious that no matter who you put in office the system in place is going to challenge them and their intentions to fullfill their promise against it’s corrupt ways. Those who have experience and posture will often make one compromise in order to get anything done. Old republicans havent been leading just fighting against their and our leader every step of the way. Except they call their style of fighting, doing what their constituents want. lol Anyway, I agree with Blacks need to right up like the tea party, we need to argue our points behind closed door, fight our issues and when we come out it will be in a united front, instead of looking disgraceful and disguisting and appearing uncoathed and unrefined out in public. Giving whites and others fuel to not take us seriously and calling us savages. Even though we arent, we are just a passionate. Lastly, we are observant and intelligent it’s clear the tea party/republicans are anti-Obama. They don’t denie it. They don’t even present a spirit of caring about BLACKS! Even if they have a few blacks amongst them there is nothing genuine in appearance about it. The proof is in the pudding. So we need to focus on US, not as Democrats but as Blacks in America; what ever discriminations and exploitations we still experience it’s for that reason. Blackness. You may not agree with me but my opinion don’t need you too.

  74. NITA

    he has my vote also, one man can’t do it alone people we need to stand together, there is power in numbers not just one number

  75. ICADATRUTH

    Do you all know what is the root of all of this bickering? Refuticans verses the dumbocrats! The dumbocrats keeps the poor and minority people dependant on the government and the refuticans do just the opposite. Because of this blacks tend to vote democrat even though they are doing just as much harm as the republicans. The answer? We as blacks and other misrepresented minorities need to form our OWN political party! In this way we can hold our own elected officals accountable for their actions, pretty much how the tea party folks put a stranglehold on the refuticans. If you think that I’m wrong, watch how quick both parties will unite to destroy it by attempting to split votes. Like I said before both parties are different sides of the same coin and neither one is going to help us.

  76. I agree that there is some truth to your assertion. Forming a party will take some time given that we are not a monolithic group which can be beneficial on some issues and detrimental to our group in other arenas.

    How about registering as Independents in those areas that allow that option and avoid pledging allegiance to any party. That would certainly serve as a leverage in getting our group concerns addressed and may aid in forming “our OWN party”.

    Just “Another Way To View”!

  77. Riding around metropolitan washington attendance at the movies, shows, arenas, cultural and social events, oh and the malls has’nt drained anyone. Despite high fuel prices the highways and byways are there for the getaways. The struggling keep going just another day to put this day behind them and keep on trying. Obama represents a token in the White House and even the whites thats suppose to be on his side holds his chains tight. Forty-three years after King and still in a ball of confusion and the Tea party represents the neo-KKK while the House of Republicans tells the have -nots its their fault the country is in debt not the thieves and crooks of real estate, autos, and wall street, no. They need to steal money and rob you blind in order for America to prosper. Damn fools.

  78. Pingback: Dr. Wilmer Leon Breaks Down the Divide Between Cornel West and Al Sharpton – Dr. Boyce Watkins Blog

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  80. Pingback: What to Make of the Obama/West/Sharpton Divide in Black Leadership? Dr. Wilmer Leon Explain « Black Politics for Black Americans

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  84. Pat Michael Pepe

    Mr Shaka you are in the right church but sitting in the wrong pew, i am a White American Conservative, I am christian, and do not have a white robe robe and hood in my closet. First the confrontation between Mr Sharpton and Prof West was well received by both White and Black viewers of all persuations. The issue of improving the quality of life for the Black community has many avenues to enter, first in the home and then into society. And it shouldn’t be the burden of Mr. Sharpton or Mr West to solve the problems. In my opinion Prof West had the better credentials in the debate. First allow me to bring to your attention the most bothersome situations that bother me as a white person and should be the outrage of all African American Communities in the country. The Maury Show on WPIX in NYC is an abomination to all people it brings into the audiences both black and white who should be given Togas ala roman arenas who even go as far as using the thumbs up or down sign on people who have no desire to improve their quality of life. In my opinion the producers of these shows are nothing but entertainment pimps living on the sickest of reasons to be exploited on the show. Where is the resentment in the communities of the religious political and social workers. Guest that appear on the show who have fathered as much as 13 children (all of them beautiful and the victims of fatherless relationship which in many cases will lead to these children going to the streets) You stated that the disagreements of the guests should have been done in private surely sir you didnt think that one out. Let it all hang out the people themselves must attend to thses problems. There is a HS in my community where I have heard the “N” word almost on a daily basis. My opinion– if heard by any person they should be reported and threatened witrh legal action if it continues. The idea of a whit person saying that (which they shouldn’t) is so hypocritical and self serving that enrages both blacks and whites in hearing distance. And these black students are not kidding they continually argue there that now Law enforcement is now present. I am a product of the Depression and i know poverty and the best way to beat poverty then and now is not to be part of it. Race relations in this country has gotten worse because to many people have alot to say but when the ball is hit there are no fielders both in the black and white communities. I attended a Scholarship awards nite recently the recipient sponsered by my Fraternal oganization – recipient a young black man HS student made a well delivered speech and received a standing ovation from the audience. Where was his help? His parents a member of our fraternity, good frinds and a christian upbringing. There sir is won of the reasons for success. Family, God and Faith in the future

  85. Pat Michael Pepe

    MrQboro that is a not thought out question, you’re way off base first Howard University and Morgan State university are very very popular Universities you just walk in there as a Black man with a tenure and get a job. Also Princeton University is also a very popular and respected University and has many black studentsI hope you are not getting carried away with your rhetoric.

  86. I would be remiss if I didn’t offer another way to view the statements regarding Dr. West and his decision to teach at Ivy League Universities.

    Given my own personal experience with black colleges; there is a tendency for them to be very conservative especially as it relates to teaching staff. Dr. West and Dr. Dyson and other black public intellectuals wouldn’t last at many HBCU(s) because their politics are considered radical and given that many are privately supported by christian organizations/churches; the administration would micromanage them to oblivion. White institutions especially the Ivy League ones have a history and considerable financial clout that permits them to hire professors/instructors whose views are considered too abstract or esoteric for mainstream society but are welcomed within the university setting. This would entail radicals or conservatives from many different ethnic groups.

    There is an article by Lamont Hill that touches on this subject as well as the relevancy of black colleges. http://www.marclamonthill.com/do-hbcus-still-matter-1081.

    Again, just another perspective that I’ve come to appreciate given for many years I wondered why many of the great minds weren’t at these colleges. All the more respect and accolades for the exceptional black scholars like Dr. William Jelani Cobb and Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall who continue to inspire and teach students at HBCU(s).

  87. On Yo Pew

    If Dr Watkins did not contribute to Mr Sharpton’s radio show on a regular, I would think he was unbiased. Yeah Right!

  88. Madmax

    Rev Al Sharpton and Ed Schultz are the only people on the left who are fighting back against the reich-wing 24/7 propaganda machine that grinds out lies to a receptive audience. I’d like to remind everyone, that much of black academia played their cards close to their chests, supporting Hillary Clinton even after she lost to Obama, out of some displaced sense of loyalty to her. When it was obvious that Obama was going to win, they only tacitly offered their support, and since Obama has been president, they have expressed their collective ‘disappointment” that President Obama has done little to improve the plight of the black community. Cornell West, instead of directing his incoherent babble at the policies that have contributed to the destruction of the black community, has chosen instead to malign the president, and act as if Obama has some magical powers that can solve problems centuries in the making. Although I had never been an Al Sharpton fan in the past, his recent debates with Sean Hannity, Cornell West, and others, is slowly winning me over, because I am beginning to see how he holds his opponents by the throats and does not allow them to try to forget how we got into this mess in the first place. Additionally, his points reflect a deep appreciation for contemporary American history, an understanding of economics and foreign and domestic policy, and the sewer that has become American politics. Although Sharpton and Jackson had long been a lightning rod for white hatred in this country, they have both been subsumed by President Obama. I would hope that Sharpton would continue his counterattacks against the right, and that West will continue to stumble around like a crack-addicted post-60′s black revolutionary, lashing out wildly at President Obama, and not being taken seriously by the black community.

  89. Madmax

    Why has the Congressional Black Caucus remained curiously silent since President Obama was elected, especially since President Obama has been under attack 24/7 by the reich wing? It’s as if Americans elected him and shoved him out in front of a firing squad, and walked away. Since the November 2010 election, the Republicans have returned to their old agenda. Who’s surprised at this? Certainly not the people who sat on their duffs and let it happen. That election was just a precursor to what will happen if the Republicans ever get the Senate or the White House again. It is only be sheer luck, that the Republicans haven’t managed to come up with a viable candidate. The Republicans and their teabagging allies berated and reviled the president for 24 straight months, and not a peep out of the normally strident black establishment…almost as if they suddenly lost their spinal columns. Obama is POTUS, not the President of Black America. He’s also a politician, and being a politician, he will hitch his wagon to to any winning horse. This means that this is a chance to do for ourselves, instead of “Waiting for Superman.”

  90. Ruth Roberts

    Dr. Watkins, you are on point. I must confess that I didn’t read or hear that whole debate but according to your summation, I have a good idea of the tone. One of the reader’s comments about “Divide and Conquer” was also very apropos. Let us not fall into that trap.

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  103. D. J.

    African Americans are the group with the largest percentage of voters who cast their ballot for Obama. During the election, 90% of eligible African American voters, voted for Obama. More than any other group. In this regard, we are his most loyal following. While Obama needs more than African American votes to win, he can not win without the African American vote. Many people feel that since he has a clear stated agenda, offices and staff dedicated to serving the needs of Hispanics and gays, that he should have also had an agenda to address Black suffering and inequity as well. Many African Americans are aware that he is everyone’s president. The fact that they have been basically quiet about the high levels of joblessness and unequal treatment that is continuing speaks to this fact, and I frankly find it offensive everytime someone makes that statement. The fact is, that White presidents (also everyone’s presidents) have at least tried to act as if they were addressing the problem. Obama hardly even wants to speak to, or about Blacks. As such, we need to apply political and social pressue. Al Sharpton’s national conference theme this year dealt with non-violence at this time of economic hardship in the Black community, rather than making jobs and economic prosperity the main focus. In typical Obama style, instead of talking to Black folk about his administrations policies, he spoke to us like we were all children — again, pushing the topic of personal accountability. While I agree that we have to do our part, I am also aware that most of us are doing this everyday. Obama keeps talking about pullig one’s self up wiithout looking to the government for assistance. Really? This is what Black folk are left to do, and have been doing. With no jobs or economic release how do we pull ourselves up? Other groups pressue the Administration for assistancwe and they get smiles and action. We, however, are told by the president, that we are acting like children when we state our concerns. I am mature and sophisticated enough for Obama to have a political discussion with. Stop coming to our events and talking to us as if we are children. I spent a great deal of time and money working to get this guy elected, and yes he owes me at least a modicum of respect.

  104. Cornel West has been trying to brand himself as a modern day Fredrick Douglas for some time now. But he seems a bite out of focus and has more of a Donald Trump approach when speaking on important issues. Like Bob Johnson, Travis Smiley, and of course Jesse Jackson, they are all more concern with staying in the spotlight than supporting the next and better generation of intelligent black leaders. Just sit down and shut up! Obama has enough to worry about with the GOP and the tea party. Crabs in a barrel is what I see every time Cornel West opens his mouth. If your too stupid to see what Obama is trying to do in what is still a very racist country than your just blind…and change your suit Corny West it just looks silly at this point.

  105. Lain

    In the end they are both saying the same thing…there needs to be more accountability on the part of Obama.

    I agree with Sharpton that we must take action ourselves around our disappointment with the Obama administration. Obama is losing some of the Black vote for spending the better part of his administration beating around the bush with Black issues that are clearly apparent. And for that very reason, we need no just the NAACP, the Action Network, but many more groups to address so many things that face us as a group.

    I also felt that Sharpton did not allow Cornell West to make his point first, before jumping in and shouting over his opposition, once it was West’s time to speak.

  106. Ralph

    It seems u idiots on here do not understand that we have a PRESIDENT, not a DICTATOR!! He cannot just do whatever he wants to do. How stupid do you think President Obama is that he would make a big deal out of Black people’s problems? He has to make very calculated moves to get around the majority who truly hold power in this country–the rich and the White!! Where were u idiots prior to Barack Obama being elected? I have not heard or read such an outcry for the Black community before he became President. His name is Barack Obama folks, not John Shaft!! Get REAL!!

  107. The idea of identifying onesself as an independent, was a gimmick started in New Hampshire many elections ago to keep those in the Media from identifing them as Republicans on the Voter Rolls. That idea has been turned up side down several time in recent elections, and no one pay attention anymore because many Democrats are doing the same thing.

    I don’t know if you are aware of it or not, but in many States, if you register in the primary (you have to select a Party), you will get that party’s Primary Ballot to vote. In the General Election you can vote for whom ever you want, if they are on the General Election Ballot. What i’m saying is that in some States, if you decide to Register as an Independent in the Primary, and there is no Independent Candidate running, you wont get a Ballot. So the Individual you was intending to vote for all along might loose in the Primary because they were a Democrat or Republican, so you will loose going and coming. So by trying to be clever, you have disqualified yourself from this entire election.

    Many Novis Voters often talk about foolishness like Resistering as Independents, but in many cases they are not even active Voters. Blacks are not getting equality in this society because they are not intelligent voters, we don’t unite’ and vote as a Unit to defeat those that are working against us.

    I wasn’t going to comment on this Debate, if that’s what they are calling it. But one question comes to mind, why would Rev Sharpton debate Dr West. These are two individuals from oposite ends of the spectrum. And we keep calling the Dr West, the Tavis’s, and some other Pundits, “Black Leaders”. Will someone please tell me what determines them being classified as Leaders? I have never heard of any one of them being elected, or appointed as the Leader of any Body of Black People, but maybe I missed that email.

  108. Arethese two more Pundits offering general opinions about the general welfare of Black People, However, none have any working knowledge in Community Activities that deal with these Black Issues.

    I know that most of these discussions are designed to defend the President, but first of all President Obama has to start defending himself with Deeds, not Speaches. We have heard these speaches before.

    The Oil Companies are on the verge of breaking this President because he want act of items he has control of. I pased a Gas Station a few days ago, and many people have stopped buying Gas, there was no one pumping at the pumps on a main thrufare at a busy intersection. The president will not be successful making , fancy speaches any longer

    Some say the Gas Prices has topped out, and will start to fall, and some experts say the Gas companies were just ripping us off, and he let them get away with it, and appoints a Justice Dept Committee to investigate possible fraud. He don’t seem to understand he has to put something in place to keep them from doing that.

  109. Ralph:

    Everything you said is true, but just like other Racial, or Ethnic Groups, Blacks vote their own interest. White Unemployment Rate is not twice that of Blacks. Whites are not being excluded from Aprinticeship Programs as Blacks are.

    He might not be able to do some things that might have a positive influence on the general Welfare of Blacks, but there are other things where he could inforce the Law.

    We don’t have a problem inforcing the Law when we arrest Blacks for Criminal Activity, so why are the many Construction Companies who have received Stimilus Money have few Blacks working? Keep one thing in mind, Black Folk Tax Money go into most of these Building Projects, but I guess you think its all suppose to go to certain people.

    They can designate themselves, but no one can designate Blacks. In otherwords they can have “White” Set-Asides, but then everybody goes crazy if Blacks get some of the Jobs. Blacks have to start to stand up for themselves.

  110. I agree with leart and really couldn’t give Ralph much attention given his slander of people who are expressing their views on this blog. “Idiots” or personal slurs beg the issue for many of us. It’s like when you yell at people. They can’t hear you for the noise that you are making.
    The extreme analogous use of dictator is a reflection of the mindset of the writer. No one who believes in a democracy would want a dictator in charge. An advocate for the people who help him win the election is quite different from a dictator and would be refreshing at this point in his Presidency. In normal and civil discourse; the use of slurs or denigrating statements only obscure the message. Ralph, I totally agree that we have to start to stand up for ourselves. It’s part of the democratic process.

  111. Ralph

    Carolyn, i meant no disrespect, but i will call it as i see it. we need to stop the giftwrapping because that can obscure a message a well. When u allow urself to turn a deaf ear to people who may not be using the words u prefer them to use, are you really in favor of a Democracy?

  112. Ralph

    leart, yes we must stand up for ourselves, but we certainly need to go about it in a much, much more intelligent manner than the way we have been. WE, my friend, are our own worst enemy. I have listened to Dr. West and Rev. Sharpton many times and I must say that Rev Sharpton speaks in a much more understandable and logical manner. Much of what Dr. West says is philosophical and and analytical.

  113. Ralph

    Carolyn, another thing….please read what I wrote again. My point was that it would take a DICTATOR to give us all that we want in such the very short time President Obama has been in office. He is a PRESIDENT, not a DICTATOR!! That’s a fact, not an analogy.

  114. Ralph

    Lain, tell me what Black issues specifically you are referring to that Mr. Obama should be addressing?

  115. Ralph

    Bill I agree with you except on one point. Just because we have a Black president does not obligate him to “do for us”. We need to do for ourselves. We need to GROW UP!!! Stop hitting the clubs through the week and weekends. We need to keep up our homes and stop letting them crumble around us. We need to stop littering in our own neighborhoods. We need to cut our grass and beautify our landscaping. We need to work harder for ourselves than we do our employers!!!!!!!

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  119. C-Dub

    Black Americal love them some Cornell West.. Cornell West is full of shit, hanging out with Tavis “trying to stay on the come up” Smiley. He is spending his Princeton ass talking about somebody elses agenda, instead of executing his own plan to help the hood. I’m sorry, Cornell West has never helped anyone except himself to a white woman or two. He spends a lot of time using big words, selling books and wearing his nappy ass hair wild at an Ivy League school.

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