Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The End of The State of the Black Union

image Each year in February, Tavis Smiley produced the negro super bowl State of the Black Union.  Its express purpose was to garner mainstream attention to Black issues that normally get ignored by politicians and in the mainstream press.   Each year it was broadcast on C-Span for free and many tuned in to watch the Black intelligentsia attempt to out do each other with witty repartee.

Despite being concerned with the issues of Blacks, the exclusion of the common person means that ideas presented were certainly class based.   I would also like to point out that more often than not, our member of the GLBT community were excluded from participation, leading one to believe that they had cashed in their Black like me card because of their sexuality or gender identity.  The panels were also unevenly divided by gender, with men openly engaging in sexism, to blame Black women for many of the current issues in the Black community.

Last year, Smiley faced much criticism because the negro super bowl State of the Black Union was sponsored by none other than Wells Fargo.  Yes, the same Wells Fargo that the NAACP filed a lawsuit  against accusing them of pushing blacks into high-interest mortgage loans, while whites with the same qualifications got lower rates.  Certainly there was no conflict of interest there right?  Not to worry Tavis, we will hold you accountable. While you were raging about Obama’s inability to attend, he was busy attempting to become the first African American president thereby; raising the hopes and dreams of ALL of the peoples of the African Diaspora.  Smiley’s angst at this event reveals a man who is mostly interested promoting himself and elevating his stature within the Black community. Oh, jealousy thy name is Tavis.

The major outcome of these symposiums were the best selling books that they spawned.  Tavis was never shy to hold a book in his hand while he talked about the issues.  Yes a Covenant for Black America and complete accountability are the cause of the day.  With his above board presentation is it any wonder that one of his next projects involves publishing the memories of R. Kelly.  Way to support the Black community Tavis.

I’ll just be plain spoken, a bunch of privileged professors sitting in a room talking about the issues does not bring about lasting and critical change.  Poor Blacks that are struggling know damn well why they cannot get a job, or why the lack of education is hurting them.  They are also well aware of the issue of recidivism and violence in their communities. To speak down to them and lecture them about their experiences, for the sake of promoting a Smiley book only further serves to trivialize them.  Don’t we have to struggle enough with the false impressions and negative stereotypes created by Whiteness, without our Black elite participating as well?

Good bye Negro Super Bowl, State of the Black Union and may you be replaced by something that is far more representative of the needs of ALL of the members of the community.