Harvard Law Professor Explains Race in the Presidency to Tavis Smiley (Video)

Randall Kennedy, Harvard law professor and author of "The Persistence of the Color Line" visits Tavis Smiley show to talk about the President's record.

As the election season begins to amp up and folks are sitting on pins and needles pondering their choices for a new President, there have been many ideologies thrown around from the camps of all the candidates to sway America’s thinking one way or another against President Obama.

In fact, it’s necessary for them to take a bold interest in showing themselves as the cure or answer to what some feel Obama has botched, bungled or, to some, tainted.  And leading the charge in that area most days from the African American think tank is Tavis Smiley.  He is more interested in holding the President’s feet to the fire and assuring the public that Obama needs to show accountability for every move he makes than actually giving him a chance to address the ills of the black community as well as the country.

Most problems in this country can be attributed to the last, nearly, 30 years of republican rule; with a mere 8-year hiatus of Bill Clinton at the helm.  And while Clinton’s era was fleeting, it is clearly the most economically successful.  Harvard law professor and author of the “Persistence of the Color Line”, Randall Kennedy,  was invited to Tavis Smiley’s show in early September to give an assessment of our present President’s record.

He explained Obama’s successful climb of the “Mount Everest of American politics.”  He examined the difference between black candidates in the past as “symbolic” candidates that didn’t show themselves as “winners” and after Iowa gave Obama the pass, he was deemed a viable black president.

But the conversation between Tavis and this scholar show the  black community as “sheep. ” They talk about blacks following whites, both after Iowa and the Clinton administration.  Black folks didn’t decide to vote for Barack Obama until whites accepted him and blacks sided with Hilary Clinton because they felt she was the better candidate (on the strength of Bill, to be honest) both aspects of black voting thoughts being led.

The Rootlooks at the conversation as Tavis Smiley being schooled, but he actually sides with the author and simply clarifies his viewpoint through Smiley & West-isms saying that at the end of the day, we must “re-speck, pro-teck, and co-reck” our President.  They actually seem to come to a respected common ground.

To be honest, my hope is simply that we make up our own minds based on the candidate that is best addressing our issues…annnnd make sure their last name is Obama.  Because as Kennedy put it, symbolism is important.  Check out that very important point he makes during the interview.

-J.C. Brooks

Watch the full episode. See more Tavis Smiley.


4 thoughts on “Harvard Law Professor Explains Race in the Presidency to Tavis Smiley (Video)”

  1. This article is outrageous. Obama has waged ILLEGAL wars (without even going to congress for consent) and staged military coup d’etats in at least two African countries so far during his presidency, with the help of France, the UK, and Denmark. How in the world is he supposed to be “addressing the needs of the Black community”?? PLEASE!! YES, he needs his feet held to the fire and he MUST be held accountable for his actions against our motherland and his RACIST INDIFFERENCE towards Black people in the United States!!

    What is wrong with this site?? You claim to report news and happenings, but you are somehow unaware that Obama ARMED and FINANCED the racist Arab regime in Libya that is literally LYNCHING Africans in Libya for the color of their skin, and overthrowing President Gadaffi, the Tuareg president of Libya who has been fighting for a United State of AFRICA, for an African Monetary Fund, so that our Black countries can finally be free of the shackles of NATO, the IMF, and the Paris Club?? How can you call yourself a “news site”.

    You are ILL INFORMED and passive. You do not know where to begin to demand the best of a Black president. Tavis Smiley, West, Asante and more point the finger at Obama for his wrongdoings against Black people all over the world – including in his own country – and you condemn them?? You are complicit in this genocide, you are complicit in this deception, and you are a hypocritical, poor example of what a Black news blog should be!

    Shame on you!!

  2. Let me tell you something else: the man is nearly at the end of his damn term. He HASN’T DONE ANYTHING TO ADDRESS THE ILLS OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY. Give him what second, third, or forth chance?? He has been in office for some time now, has addressed the needs of gays, white women, white men (both equal “wall street”), hispanics, jews. Non-existent on his list are people of African-descent. “Give him a chance”. The reason he does nothing for Black constituents is because of comments like yours – he knows that the “black community” in the US has low expectations in general, will ALWAYS give him a pass simply because he is of color, and will be satiated as long as he makes a few calls into the Tom Joyner show or Steve Harvey show every now and then when he needs something from you. You don’t respect yourselves enough to demand the best of your leaders! WHY would you then expect him to respect you??

    You are fools, and while you are busy straying farther and farther from your AFRICAN PRACTICES of revering your elders, respecting your elders – your people are falling apart for lack of the cultural values that have kept them strong all of these centuries. You are a fool. And Tavis Smiley is an ELDER and you need to address him as such!

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