Tavis Smiley and Obama’s Accountability [VIDEO]

By Tammy Johnson Mar 05, 2009

Today I’m giving kudos to journalist and author Tavis Smiley, who is not another spin doctor delivering talking points from a press release. Smiley, through his books and his annual State of the Black Union Summit, is clearly on a mission to refocus the public debate on race to one that holds government accountable for its policies, and that gives agency to communities of color. For example, while on Democracy Now, Smiley takes on the ideology of a post-racial America. He says, “I don’t want us to hasten to believing that, just because we have an African American President in this multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic America, that there isn’t work to be done on behalf of those who are disenfranchised politically, socially, economically and culturally — persons, most often, of color.” Smiley shifts the focus from the intentions of President Obama to the potential outcomes of his policy proposals. He notes the shortcoming of the President’s economic team and what that could mean, not for Wall Street or Main Street, but for those who live on what he calls the “Side Streets” of the county: people of color and the poor. He also boldly challenges the administration’s refusal to attend the UN Conference Against Racism. And finally, Smiley rightly points out that it is up to every one of use to do our part in holding government accountable. Good job, Mr. Smiley!