By EEW Magazine News Staff
Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley have been vilified in the black community because of their vocal criticism of President Obama’s handling of black America and our nations’ poorest citizens—often one and the same. But with Obama’s controversial move to support gay marriage, the very ones who scolded West and Smiley are shifting their position.
Before you roll your eyes and click away from this article, you must admit that Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley have been marginalized and labeled “haters” by many for speaking the truth as they see it. During the period when Obama’s approval ratings were much higher than they are now, West and Smiley were not viewing his administration through rose-colored glasses like a majority of blacks. And when the two outspoken intellectuals spoke less-than-flattering truths about certain aspects of our first black president’s leadership, they were mauled by black leaders.
“You know the irony though brother, is that he’s gonna now get more critics from black America who oppose same sex marriage,” West pointed out to Smiley during a broadcast of the “Smiley & West” radio show. “And so they were saying, well, Smiley and West been out there criticizing the [president]. We demonized them for doing that. Now we’re gonna criticize him because he’s violating one of our views about how marriage ought to be between a man and a woman instead of same-sex marriage.”
Like him or not, Dr. Cornel West is speaking truth there.
Now that millions of black Christians are openly scolding Obama, saying he got it wrong on same-sex marriage, it belies the harsh criticism of Dr. West and Smiley, and reveals some hypocrisy within our community, doesn’t it?
West, who is not in opposition to Obama’s announcement of his support for gay marriage—he actually views it as a positive move in the affirmation of the humanity of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders—believes the gay marriage controversy will encourage more blacks to criticize the president when he is deserving of it. “And that’s actually gonna be a kind of opening and free some black folk up and say why don’t you just speak your minds. Why don’t you just speak your minds and deal with some of the suffering in black America and hope that the president would be able to be as bold in talking about the suffering of black people…”
Tavis Smiley says of the president, “He seems to allow himself to be pushed by every constituency accept African Americans.” And when it comes to the gay marriage issue, Smiley definitively states, “The president is gonna lose some support.”
What are your thoughts? Have Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley taken an unfair battering in the media? Do you think the criticism from black America about Obama’s support for gay marriage underscores the hypocritical nature of the criticism aimed at West and Smiley?
Share your thoughts with EEW Magazine.