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A more perfect union imperative


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The ongoing black political saga in America was animated to greater heights in this 2012 election season by a controversy that was ignited on cable TV with the glib tongues and quick political wits of Professor Cornel West and Rev. Al Sharpton, on a recent MSNBC Show hosted by Ed Schultz.  The clash of these popular political Titans is the latest rendition and spectacle of the internal debate that has been percolating beneath the political correct surface, since the election of President Barack Obama.

Reference to a previous iteration of this contemporary black political saga is relevant to the West vs. Sharpton argument because the previous political attack on Sharpton was levied by TV host Tavis Smiley during a popular radio talk show.  A political nexus occurs, as Smiley and West are publically and programmatically the best of friends.  Moreover, both Smiley and West have respectively, challenged Sharpton’s apparently cozy relationship with President Obama, as inimical to holding the president accountable to the illusive “black agenda.”

The vociferous MSNBC debate on the “black agenda” by West and Sharpton is getting mixed reviews in the black community.  Some in the black community say that “those two heavy brothers shouldn’t argue in public like that because it portrays the black community as divided politically.” In another black political quarter they hold, “the political debate on the black agenda going forward is a healthy development and should be encouraged.”

The “black agenda” is a perennial political debate in the black community at all levels but unfortunately when it is discussed in the public by members of the celebrity leadership and anointed leaders in media forums the black agenda is ill defined, and synonymous with the civil rights agenda, and civil rights leadership.  There is a political dichotomy between the “black agenda” and the “civil rights agenda” that has roots in contemporary political history and has an application in 21st century black American politics.  Unfortunately, the designated black American political leadership has not articulated the texture that is black internal politics and thereby, may be unwittingly promoting political disinformation along with MSNBC.

Dr. Boyce Watkins, a neo-African American public voice, is quoted on his blog post entitled “Cornel West, Al Sharpton Argue About President Obama.”  Boyce said, “I knew the conversation would be volatile, and I was concerned about the imagery of two black men going to war on MSNBC.  Ed Schultz was the MSNBC host of “A Stronger America:  The Black Agenda, a show that allowed a few voices to air their perspective on what a black agenda should look like in the age of Obama.”

“As I expected,” Boyce continued, “the argument came to a predictable boiling point.  Consistent with the views of his close colleague, Tavis Smiley, Cornel West fought hard to short-circuit the partnership between President Obama and Rev. Al Sharpton.  Al Sharpton, a man not known to back down from anyone, defended his position well and also challenged those who sit in their ivory tower and talk without taking action.”

Dr. Boyce, a confidant of Rev. Sharpton continued, “I watched the entire exchange shaking my head, primarily because I knew that such a fight was simply inevitable.  As I wrote on the Huffington Post a couple of weeks ago, the Obama Presidency has created a divide among black public figures that I pray will not cripple our community.”

Unfortunately the episodic public political debate relative to the “black agenda” is seen in binary, black and white optics, while at the grassroots level the saga of the black agenda going forward is in living color and has an eclectic political diversity.  However, as the comments of Dr. Boyce highlights some blacks’ belief that varying political positions articulated in the public by black public figures is perceived as potentially crippling the black community.

Although the issue concerning the nature of the black agenda in the age of Obama is a relevant and significant subject in need of a broad based public political discourse, we consumers of popular TV media are only exposed to black celebrity political leadership with a myopic or circular political discourse…

Gary James, chairman of the National Black Grand Old Party (GOP BRAND) said, “Mainstream media always rounds up the usual suspects to discuss the important issues relating to the black community, such as the black agenda in the age of President Obama.  Consequently, the substance of these engagements and exchanges tends to be politically sophomoric, parochial, generating much heat, but shedding little light and understanding going forward.”

“Interestingly enough, none of the anointed black American leaders tapped by MSNBC to discuss, explore and define the “black agenda” offered a contemporary context wherein the notion of a black political agenda resides…   James continued, “The black agenda is separate and distinct from the civil rights agenda.  Accordingly, the black agenda and the civil rights agenda are not interchangeable as the spokespeople for Ed Schultz have represented.”

According to James, the black agenda was methodically eclipsed by the civil rights agenda during the 1960’s and 70’s in the context of a sophisticated political disinformation campaign to marginalize emerging black power politics and its “militant” community based advocates.  The era of Obama demonstrates that black America has entered the post civil rights period.  Hence, the dormant black political agenda of the civil rights period is emerging.

James concluded, “In the future I hope that mainstream media reaches out for black American political input beyond the usual designated leadership suspects.  Should they need some help going forward I was be happy to offer a list of potential participants.” Reference the relevant links:



Written by gjamescadreusa

May 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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