My relationship with Facebook is sort of like my relationship with cable. I don't want it, don't use it all that often, but I have it because, well, everyone else does. I don't have many good things to say about facebook at this point--funny because 2 years ago I loved it. But now, I don't know how to use a lot of features (I can't, for the life of me, figure out how to see ALL the updates from people I'm friends with), and I live in fear that Facebook will make yet another huge privacy change or update while I'm not paying attention.
If you haven't heard, Tavis Smiley and Al Sharpton got into a bit of a tiff yesterday. Smiley appeared on the Tom Joyner Morning Show yesterday morning and gave a convoluted monologue in which he accused Sharpton, among other prominent blacks, of saying that President Obama doesn't need a black agenda. Smiley is part of a growing cadre of black pundits who seem to believe Obama is getting a pass on racial issues. [I don't have even 1/3 of the energy it would take to explain how it is inherently impossible for Obama to receive such a pass, but I digress...]
The sticking point was a quote that appeared in the NY Times in which Sharpton was quoted as saying that President Obama is "smart not to ballyhoo a black agenda." Smiley isn't convincing me when he says that he interpreted the quote to mean that Sharpton doesn't believe Obama should promote a black agenda. I think it's pretty clear that Sharpton was encouraging President Obama to be savvy in his approach to any sort of black agenda--not to eliminate it entirely.
Whatever the case, here is the latest example of public figures arguing about the wrong thing. I have no idea what Smiley or Sharpton mean when they say "black agenda," but I do know this: Black activists and thinkers aren't giving President Obama much to work with in terms of specific policy recommendations and regulatory suggestions. What I see is our most prominent black leadership writing books, organizing shows, and pursuing punditry. In other words, there is a push to promote thought rather policy.
Unfortunately, very few blacks are pursuing opportunities at think tanks, nor are they conducting research nor are they pursuing lobbying careers or even careers in program management for the Federal government. So many are focused on writing books and speaking on panels. Unfortunately, even most of the books that are written by black political 'thinkers' today are OBSERVATIONAL not research-based. Much of black discussion is centered around and promoted by academics, a circle that is largely inbred, lacking true political relationships, and decidedly more liberal than the rest of the black community. Out of touch is one way I would describe the circle of black thinkers who have become most popular in the blogging and punditry world.
Inside my head: