Saturday, February 23, 2008

Harassing Smiley's Momma for Dis of Obama

Talk show host Tavis Smiley is getting some heat for criticizing Barack Obama for not attending the State of the Black Union Forum in New Orleans this year. From an article posted on CNN's site Smiley says:
"I have family in Indianapolis. They are harassing my momma, harassing my brother. It's getting to be crazy."
The story is here on CNN. Briefly it states:
In a letter to Smiley earlier this month, Obama commended the forum for addressing important issues, but explained he needed to focus on his presidential run ahead of the critical March 4 primaries....

.... Smiley has been vocal about his disapproval of Obama's decision.

"I think it's a missed opportunity on Mr. Obama's part," Smiley told CNN. "Now, I am not interested in demonizing him for his choice, but I do disagree with it."

But Smiley's criticism has also prompted many people to come to Obama's defense. The talk show host told The Washington Post he has been inundated with angry e-mails and even death threats.
It's kind of crazy for people to threaten the man with death for criticizing Barack Obama. That's a little bit scary. People who would do something like that are probably a bit unhinged in the first place. It might be time for Barack Obama to ask people to give Tavis a break before things get out of hand.

As an aside I have to say that although conferences like this are absolutely valuable, no doubt necessary, I think the name is a bit unfortunate. It can be construed as meaning black people have a separate union as opposed to being part of the union we are all a part of, the United States of America. I know it doesn't mean that, but it's a matter of perception and it sounds separatist in a way that a name like, the State of Black People in the Union, though definitely not as catchy and not a name I'm recommending, but I put forth as a contrast to illustrate my point, does not. It seems to me that we fought long and hard not to be separate and symbols like these and the Black National Anthem, put forth a perception that belie those struggles.

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