Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Start Their Poverty Tour

10 Aug

cornel west, tavis smiley, poverty tour, black politics

Media personality Tavis Smiley and Princeton professor Cornel West made Chicago one of the first stops on their Poverty Tour, fueling more debate about President Obama’s economics policies and whether those policies have or have not done the current jobs disparity in black communities any justice. There are two factions of thought in the early Smiley & West town hall talks.

Kyshandra Jackson believes that President Obama is harshly criticized. “They are not really giving him a chance…Things are going to get done, but it is also going to take some time,” she said. “He is doing more than everybody else tried to do.” On the other side, Lamont Robinson, a 29-year-old insurance agent, said “There’s no change going on. So what can we do? I’m frustrated with the president. We know there is money for wars, but our people are suffering. He is disconnected from what is going on in his home town.” According to  Washington Post/ABC News poll, most blacks polled (86-percent) still support President Obama even though less blacks (54-percent) believe that he is dealing appropriately with the economy.

As the Tour kicks off, Tavis Smiley said he wants to hear the President say the word poor, to which Robinson applauded. Maybe Smiley and Robinson missed “Are we a nation that asks only the middle class and the poor to bear the burden?” President Obama said that to the National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S. It wasn’t the first time he’s said the “p”-word (and the word poverty) since hitting the campaign trail in 2007, but there can’t be very many Americans, even poor ones, who want to hear him say it with every ten to 15 words or syllables.


8 Responses to “Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Start Their Poverty Tour”

  1. Tracey August 10, 2011 at 3:10 am #

    I think it’s great that Mr. Smiley and Dr. West are doing a tour to bring attention to the poor of this country, but I want to know why they chose to do this now when we have our first African-America President, vs when George Bush was in office. We had hurrican Katrina which was a clear indication about how G. Bush felt about the poor and African Americans. Also why does it feel like they are focused on the President, who is new to the office, but not the black Senators & Congressmen/women who have been in office long befoer him and have not done more for the cause. Where’s the indictment of the National Black Caucus. Really guys, this is how you act now that we have our 1st Black President? In his first term? I have lost respect for you on this one.

  2. REV. MCDONALD August 10, 2011 at 3:50 am #


  3. Kah August 10, 2011 at 4:52 am #

    Are you kidding me? A poverty tour. I agree with your comments Tracey. There are elected officials that have been elected for countless years and their districts are worse off than before they were elected. Some of these “do nothing” politicians are Rangel, Lewis, Waters and the list goes on. Cornel West and Tavis are getting more wealthy on this tour. No tour is needed for the masses to know about poverty. How about these two teaming up with folks like Magic Johnson and bring jobs to communities that are more than low paying service jobs. More opportunities for micro business owners are needed. A poverty tour….what a waste….

  4. daustin281 August 10, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    These two are should be ashamed of how self-serving and fame hungry they are. It’s not about them being the voice of Black America that needs to hold the president accountable. It’s about them getting tv, radio, copy and internet coverage. They feel they need to put president Obama in his place because both of their egos were bruised. Personally, they don’t speak for me and seem to only be a distraction for those who are angry and need to feel heard. So the idea of this pseudo social justice is to hear a person talk about how poor they are? Oh let me guess, they give those who agree with their hateration a list of community resources and a 15% off coupon for their books and dvd’s? You can’t look for these two or the president to improve things because it starts with us getting involved in our neighborghood politics then work our way up. Tavis & West have jobs I don’t. Why waste time listening to them and hope for a hook-up or curse President Obama while the tea party folks are become precinct executives and keep their people in office? Don’t drink the kool-aid no matter how thirsty you are or who is offering it.

  5. Smokey August 10, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    “Big Pimps” & More Pimping!!!

  6. Goldie G August 10, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    There is something seriously wrong with these two. I can’t understand why they don’t have anything more to offer our country and our people but this hate tour. They are really looking like jerks.

  7. Anonymous August 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Gee,I thought you guys were much bigger than that,I was so very wrong,stopping hating and find out what you can do to HELP!!

  8. SapphiresMomma August 10, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    Again, the one thing that Mr. Smiley and Mr. West can do is to donate some of the monies they receive from speaking engagement to those black folks who are poor!

    Come down off the hill long enough to give something to others besides “lip service”, and foolishness just to gain attention and the spotlight!

    Strange, some black folks have always been poor. Where was Mr. Smiley and Mr. West???

    This is nothing but a crock of pure crap!

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