Sunday, July 10, 2011

Can Black People Handle Constructive Criticism? By Gavin Richard

I was stunned. I was flabbergasted. (When I start using big words, you know I'm taken a back.)I was shocked, but not surprised to read the comments that the "Fly Jock" Tom Joyner made about Tavis Smiley and Cornel West. Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are the only black scholars...well aside from a few others, (Hint: People's Scholar) that I know that have been holding President Obama's feet to the fire and not given him a pass simply because he's the 1st president to have some color.

I wasn't surprised when veteran actor Clifton Powell went hard on Spike Lee for criticizing Tyler Perry for "coonery" and "buffoonery" in his movies. Well, I was a little stunned because he talked about Spike's personal dealings and not so much the art work of Spike's films compared to Tyler's. Clifton told Spike to "Sit his Punk @$$ down!" and that he'd quick his "@$$" if he had a problem with it.

With these latest incidents, I've begun to wonder that we, as Black Americans, have had a problem with constructive criticism. If one were to hold their elected officials in offices, i.e. Barack Obama, then you're quickly labeled as "hating" or rather, labeled as a "hater". Now, that is nothing new with us because  back in the day, Dr. King was criticized for being "too soft" by some blacks for being soft on whites in the Civil Rights Movement. He was also criticized by "progressive whites" and blacks for his stance against the Vietnam War.

Barack Obama is in charge of the highest Executive Branch in this country. He has the power to use the military, control the budget, and affect our lives. It is not only our right through Freedom of Speech, but also it is our duty as human beings to hold him accountable to the issues for our benefits. You see how the president has addressed the Gay & Lesbian rights, now what about the rights of African-Americans and the poor? While we are free to agree to disagree, we should consider the facts of where Tavis and Cornel are coming from.

Now, the elections are coming up and there's been baseless attacks on the president. I know for a fact there are people that don't like to see a person of color running things in the White House. Tough. They have to get over it. With that being said, we as well have to get over the nit picking and the "cat fighting" amongst ourselves. We must stick to the facts and not just solely support President Obama because "he's the 1st black president."

If Tavis Smiley and Cornel West exercising honest criticism of President Barack Obama is "hating", or Spike Lee showing concerning over the images of African-Americans that are portrayed on television and film, then Cain killing his brother, Abel, because God showing affection to him was love. I hope this doesn't make me a hater, but come on Tom, let's deal with the bigger issues.

(I happen to have a lot of respect for Tom Joyner and Clifton Powell. For the record, it's not a hater attack. Please don't come at me saying: "I saw that crap you been blogging on Pinky, fool.") Though it would make for good material on stage. Peace Fam.

Gavin Richard is a freelance writer, author and law student from New Orleans, LA by way of Baton Rouge, LA. He'd like to thank Dr. Boyce Watkins for this opportunity.

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