Saturday, March 6, 2010

SHARPTON VS. Tavis Smiley Over
President's Handling of Black Agenda.

And after watching The Rev's " Measuring The Movement " Show
I'm still forced to say that there's
Only One Problem:
WHAT Black Agenda ?

By: Greg Jones
National Director

Recently, a major riff occurred on national radio between Rev. Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley (listen below) after Tavis basically accused The Rev. of not enticing The President to address The Black Agenda while in a meeting at The White House recently. They argued back and forth on-air for nearly 20 minutes over how each of them feel President Obama should respond to The Black Agenda. Although the back and forth made for interesting radio, both sides of the argument are absolutely mute for one simple reason: there is no Black Agenda !

Don't get me wrong. We all know there is a long list of issues and needs of Black America that have gone unaddressed for far too long, from unemployment, education discrimination, criminal injustice and much more. But before any of these important issues can truly generate the attention necessary to solve these problems, it is of vital importance that we first realize that a list of needs is not the same as an AGENDA, which is defined as a specific set of goals or a plan.

Fact: Despite The President being bi-racial, he, our lovely First Lady and their two beautiful daughters have always, and will always be Black, which means there is no way The President is not aware of the needs and issues of Black America. Some of my brothers and sisters feel that since he is Black and knows our problems, that on day one he should have just run into The White House and created a bunch of new laws which answered all our Black needs or at least most. NEWSFLASH ! It doesn't work that way. And the constant cries that Obama should be doing this or Obama should be doing that for Black People simply exemplifies the fact that since we have never been in a position of truly having a listening ear in The White House, we don't know how to use it.

ALL true change is accomplished through the same method...the legislative process. We can march, we can cry out, we can shout, demand, complain, hold C-SPAN forums and march some more, as we have for the past 40 plus years. And at times all of that has had it's place and can actually be effective. But those tactics simply draw attention to the needs; it takes a well orchestrated, outlined and organized AGENDA or PLAN to actually get results through SOLVE the needs by law.

Now that we have a true ear, in my opinion for the first time ever, it is time to literally write out The Black Agenda. Although we would love to see all of our problems solved instantly we can't just hand The President a list of a bunch of our needs . First, we MUST bring together our Black Scholars like Charles Ogletree, Cornell West, Rev. Al, Lani Guinier, Marc Morial, Julianne Malveaux, Ben Jealous and others. I intentionally did not say Black Leaders since we're the only group in America brain-washed to believe that we can only achieve if we are lead like lost sheep, a tactic designed to keep us waiting complacently for the 'chosen one'. Then there should be a PRIVATE forum-a think tank-in which the minds unite to create a priority list of Black needs, literally numbered first, second, third and so on. Next, on the same piece of paper, each need should be accompanied with a proposed solution, i.e. what we want. Next step, a strategic 'political game plan' should be devised to present each issue in concrete, outlined form to The President beginning with issue #1. It is at this time that Black media would then coordinate and focus attention on
that specific issue to create a rally cry amongst We The People for the necessary Change.

In many cases, it will be necessary to recruit a member(s) of the Congressional Black Caucus (who should be the one's held to accountability considering they were formed in 1969-that's 41 years ago-specifically to address Black needs legislatively...but have been VERY weak...a fact rarely discussed) or some other political figure(s) to physically write-out/draft and propose the legislation designed to address the particular issue, which will then be followed by the necessary steps to get the 'need' to The President's desk for his consideration. THAT'S AN AGENDA that The President can actually address. THIS is the process by which many other groups achieve the Change that they fight for. From women's rights, labor laws, gay rights, even civil rights...they were all accomplished through the legislative process.

And if our scholars are not certain of exactly how to package our Agenda in the proper form for true legislative consideration, then I recommend that we include in the meeting people from the various groups who have successfully achieved legislative change to ask them did you do it ? It's time to truly get ORGANIZED. Our needs must be presented in a form that can be placed on The President's desk. THAT'S an actual Agenda !

Lastly, we must stop thinking that since we have a Black President that now he can do all of these wonderful things just for us Black Folks. That's just as silly sounding as it would be if Bush had said he's going to start doing certain things just for Whites. Can you imagine ? So as our scholars formulate The Black Agenda they must package the proposed remedy in a strategic enough manner that would allow The President to sign-on in agreement, while not appearing to exclude others. (and yes I'm aware that certain issues are exclusive to Black America but the point is they must be presented or packaged in a very strategic manner)

So instead of The Rev. and Tavis arguing over whether or not The President is addressing The Black Agenda-which actually doesn't even exist-it's time to take a pause for the causes, compile the list of participating scholars, create the think-tank to formulate the strategy, put it in concrete, outlined, prioritized, legislative form...then work in Unity toward, not just voicing the needs but presenting the
TRUE Black Agenda.

And by the way...Yes We Can...
if we do it right.

Also: Read an excellent article by Angela Glover Blackwell which discusses the multitude of policies President Obama has implemented in his first 14 months which DO, as she states "From where I sit–with more than three decades of experience working to make public policies more fair and inclusive of all people–the past year has seen tremendous investment in the African-American community right along the lines we laid out four years ago."
Click Here to Read:
" A Black Agenda Some Choose NOT To See "

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