Skip to Content

Tavis Smiley’s Annual Black “Radical” All-Star Game

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.

Event Meister extraordinaire Tavis Smiley gathered his hand-picked Black All Stars for a “Black Agenda” conference, in Chicago, over the weekend. The usual suspects were in attendance, shining and rhyming luminously and voluminously. President Obama’s stock had fallen, but “blind adherence” to the Democratic Party still reigned near-supreme.

Tavis Smiley’s Annual Black “Radical” All-Star Game
by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
For every Louis Farrakhan ‘testicular fortitude’ there was a Michael Eric Dyson ‘ovarian audaciousness.’”
This week the already blood soaked, broken and dead carcass of a murdered Black radicalism was further kicked around, then adorned, by Tavis Smiley and all those gathered at his annual Black political All-Star Game. And it truly was an all-star gathering where everyone came to play on the big stage. It had all the political ally-oops, 360 degree word play, dazzling no-look Biblical references and behind the back, through the legs, ankle-breaking alliterations. Cornell West looked spry prancing around the roundtable cheerleading and for every Louis Farrakhan “testicular fortitude” there was a Michael Eric Dyson “ovarian audaciousness.” And all but one of the attendees brought flashy Blacker-than-thou critiques of the president, all in love, of course, as was the theme Smiley laid down literally with a so-labeled centerpiece placed dramatically mid roundtable. But this truly was conservatism draped in radicalism. None advocated breaks with the established political parties, none adopted a tradition of radical intra-racial socialized economics and none called for mass protest or civil disobedience. It was post-election criticism, calls for conservative individualized self-help and obedience to the established political order.
Smiley was clear that he wanted his guests to answer for the absence of an overt support of a Black agenda by the president. So now, and only after his election, Jesse Jackson wonders why it is only a Black agenda that Obama ignores, and Farrakhan says Obama was “selected not elected” and lords over the “White House” for “white people,” and Dyson boldly proclaims Obama to be “Pharaoh… not Moses…” or even Dr. King. Dyson went on to say that he has known Obama the longest and supported him first as the political “Jackie Robinson” who might not be the best but is best suited to be first. This should, of course, be seen as an admission of political ineptitude and the fact that neither Dyson nor anyone else who appreciated that comparison brought up the impact of Robinson on the death of the Negro Leagues or use of him by the state to speak against more radical Black leaders like Paul Robeson, means that the real power of that analogy went without discussion.
None advocated breaks with the established political parties, none adopted a tradition of radical intra-racial socialized economics and none called for mass protest or civil disobedience.”
And other juicy contradictions were all over the place. Like when the sole youth representative, Raven Curling, asked about the absence of mass protests, and Jackson agreed we should not abandon such tactics, Smiley would later say that he and his roundtable of leaders couldn’t make such calls and that actions should be “individual.” The economic equivalent of the individual as power came from Author Tom Burrell who was first to shift blame of Black poverty to Black spending habits with that favorite myth of Black buying power. This sophomoric economic analysis was championed again by Julianne Malveaux and by Louis Farrakhan who took the myth to even greater contradictory heights. The minister, with calls of “do for self,” suggested separately that America was declining and, therefore, was both “for sale,” and leading toward a time when the U.S. dollar would be “worthless.” Following this “logic” we should use a mythological $1 trillion in buying power to purchase equally mythological wealth-building assets from a declining country whose currency is soon to be worthless. With confusion like this it is little wonder why there is so much to lament in the condition of Black America.
There was little more clarity in the arena of electoral politics. Ron Walters twice called for a “Black Party” but confusingly only as a bloc within the Democratic Party. This kind of blind adherence to the Democrats was further displayed when in response to audience member Phil Huckleberry of the Illinois Green Party, who said that his party was the only party with a real Black agenda, all-star panelist Angela Blackwell actually agreed but only that “green jobs” and a “green economy,” not alternative political party development, were part of a Black agenda. It is this kind of confused analysis that led roundtable participant and Civil Rights veteran Dorothy Tillman to say that Black “political empowerment” is as “diminished” today as she has ever seen it and that this is a result of the ascendancy of president Obama. But it is also true that Obama’s ascendancy and that of the gathered all-stars is also the result of a previous murder of Black radicalism.
For Black Agenda Radio I’m Jared Ball. Online go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
Dr. Ball can be contacted at freemixradio@gmail.com.

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialise correctly.

Share this

Comments

"WE COUNT" GATHERING

I AM REALLY TIRED OF THESE KINDS OF GATHERINGS THAT PRODUCE LITTLE TO NO SUBSTANTIVE ACTION.   THIS BEING SAID,   I THOUGHT MANY OF THOSE PRESENT PROVIDED SOME INFO THAT I FOUND HELPFUL.
I WAS ESPECIALLY IMPRESSED WITH DYSON,   TILLMAN,   MALVEAUX   AND EVEN EVERYONES FAVORITE "WHIPPIN BOY" LOUIS FARRAKHAN.
CERTAINLY I DONT AGREE WITH ALL THAT WAS SAID BUT I DO AGREE WITH MUCH. 
I DO AGREE THAT THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH MORE DISCUSSION ABOUT A 3RD PARTY AND FORMULATING A MASS MOVEMENT.   ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY FOR THOSE  WHO WANT REAL GOVERNMENTAL CHANGE AND OR GREATER INCLUSIONL. 
AS FOR "FARRAKHANS "TESTICULIAR FORTITUDE" AND DYSONS "{OVARIAN AUDACIOUSNESS".........SO WHAT!   IVE HEARD AND READ "BAR" REPORTERS USE WORDS LIKE "BANKSTERS".   ITS NO BIG DEAL. 
I AM INTERESTING IN HEARING ANY AND ALL WHO HAVE SOME TRUTH TO TELL.  FOR ME ITS ABOUT GETTING INFO THAT IS SOMEHOW POSITIVELY BENEFICIAL TO THE PEOPLE.   I EAT THE FRUIT AND THROW OUT THE RIND.

Anybody wanna hear some hot 16's (ryhmes)b4 it airs tonight? :o)

Cornell West speaks at the We Count! The Black Agenda is the American Agenda
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3YTuihO_v4

Black Agenda On CSPAN - Farrakhan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCIRbyW8F-w

Farrakhan on We Count Part I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODYErLd504o

You get out of it what you want to get out of it

The whole point of this discussion was to spark debate and promote a call to action. Yes, the panel did put alot of responsibility on individuals rather than themselves---and rightfully so! As a people, we all love to talk about it rather than be about it. It's going to take far more than a round table discussion to change things. However, the message they brought sparked a sense of personal responsibility within me. I don't agree with EVERYTHING that was said by each individual panelist but overall I GOT THE MESSAGE. I can't complain about the situation if I'm not informed and willing to DO something about it!
 
I believe in freedom of the press and freedom of speech--but L. Farrakahn was right on point when he said that people were gonna use this discussion to divide us even further---we are so predictable! I find that very sad! We can agree to disagree about some of the things that have been said--but you get out of it what you want to get out of it. And if that's more excuses and more complaining so be it. As for me, I will be doing more to support my America move forward!

"Real Radicals"?

Michael Eric Dyson, Cornel West are among the best radical black scholars around today. They are harsh critics of the establishment, including the Democratic Party, and their progressive and militant credentials are beyond repreach
and they are both firm enemies of the establishment and are no more cheerleaders for Obama, the author of this article is. Jesse Jackson isn't perfect but he is a tireless champion of the poor and advocate for civil rights. The establishment is always dumping on him and trying to denigrate his achievements. He has consistently opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. militarism in general.

Jackie Robinson helped to advance racial equality by integrating Major League baseball. Dave Zirin discusses Robinson's firm opposition to racism in his book, Whats My Name fool? Tavis Smiley is a great journalist and iconoclast.



Clicky Web Analytics
ba_radio | by Dr. Radut