Rev. Al Sharpton said in an interview withVanity Fair that he fears for Black America without President Obama:
First he worries about an America without Barack Obama. What will happen when “he walks out of there, and there is not even the symbol of a black family walking out of the White House every day, going to Air Force One. I worry that the despair and emotions on the ground escalate. ‘Cause not only do we feel we’re not getting justice, we’re not feeling we’re being assuaged by someone that we feel is at least sensitive to those needs. And I don’t know that America is ready or has adequately prepared to deal with that.”
There’s a lot of talk about “feeling” and symbolism in Sharpton’s comments, which makes perfect sense given Obama’s contribution to Black America has been largely one of vacuous emotion and symbolism.
Black America has much to worry about, but Obama leaving the White House should be among the least of our concerns, considering how little he accomplished for Black America while living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Considering Sharpton’s success at providing cover for Obama and playing the role of Black America’s gatekeeper, it’s no surprise that senior adviser Valerie Jarrett gushed over the elder street preacher in her comments to Vanity Fair.
The state of the presidential election deeply alarms Sharpton, “when I look at the fervor that Donald Trump has been able to cause—it started with the birther thing, then Mexicans, then the misogynist stuff, and he’s been able to leverage that with no policies, no background, and be the front runner? There is an ugly spirit in this country and we’ve got to have some real ways of digging in to fight this…. To start questioning the first black president’s birth certificate?
The friends have become foes, I suppose. At least until the election is over.
MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry lasted longer than most other Negro whisperers at the network. Not realizing she’d been brought onboard specifically to interpret Obama to white people, as well as placate blacks, Harris-Perry was fit to be tied when the network began fading her to black–pun intended.
Now Mediaiteis reporting that Joy-Ann Reid is in negotiations to take Harris-Perry’s spot. This, of course, could be a total lie, considering that the media website also reported that Harris-Perry was joining Fusion, a report denied by the former host.
“It’s just an empirical reality,” she said. “Taking this show off the air, even if you put me individually back on as a host meant that the folks who sat at our table, whether they were transgender, women of color, Latino Republicans, they just weren’t going to be there anymore…”
Maybe MSNBC is looking to quiet criticism about diversity by giving Joy-Ann Reid a shot. Still, why would the network take a chance on Reid after her show The Reid Report was canceled?
Unlike Harris-Perry, who made a mess of things, Reid soldiered on with the network without causing a spectacle after her show was canceled. Maybe the network will reward her for being a team player. Who knows? More importantly, who cares?
Former MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry appeared on ‘The View’ to discuss her contentious parting of ways with the network.
Harris-Perry used a dating analogy to describe how she’d been dumped by MSNBC. According to the professor and former host, working for MSNBC was akin to dating someone who’d stopped calling you.
“The show had basically been canceled”, Harris-Perry explained, adding, “all of our branding was gone, the thing that said Melissa Harris-Perry was gone, our music was gone, and our editorial content was gone, then I was gone as a host.”
Harris-Perry then detailed how she was benched by the network.
“During the hours of 10 to noon I wasn’t there anymore, even though I was in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina, I wasn’t asked to be on air during that time. Other people were.”
It was only after executives at MSNBC were asked about the disappearance of her show, according to Harris-Perry, that she was put back on the air. Harris-Perry notes that it was “just me, not our show.”
They wanted me to “just show up and read the news,” claims Harris-Perry, who declined the offer, explaining that she “did not decline to come back and do my show.”
Harris-Perry also explained why she used the term “mammy” in an email to her staff that she never intended to be made public.
“The history of mammy is the black woman who cares more about the master’s family than her own. What I’m saying is I don’t care more about MSNBC’s reputation than the nerdland family.”
Harris-Perry doesn’t believe she was targeted for being black, but does believe taking her show off the air has “racial implications.”
MSNBC issued a statement denying that the network ever intended to cancel her show and says the show would still be on air were it not for Harris-Perry’s “destructive email”.
Last night during the Democratic presidential debate, Bernie Sanders said “when you’re white you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto…” and now Clinton operatives are trying to bury him with the comment.
Throughout this presidential campaign, black people have been highly critical of Sanders for not discussing race, and when he finally does, they’re critical of him for how he discusses it. Sanders can’t win, but the woman who is 1/2 of the political power duo responsible for escalating mass incarceration of black men, welfare reform, and deregulation? She’s sailing through the primaries and headed for the nomination.
After Sanders made his comment on black poverty last night, MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid popped up whack-a-mole style to ‘read’ the white, Jewish U.S. Senator from Vermont:
Furthermore, anyone who says “most African-Americans are not poor” doesn’t understand poverty. Here’s why:
Since only 28 percent of blacks fall below the poverty line, Reid concludes that only 28 percent of blacks are poor. This reasoning doesn’t go far enough, however.
For a four person family, the poverty threshold stands at a measly $24,300. Would you conclude that a black family of four with earnings of $28,000 is not poor?What about $32,000? The point is that the poverty guidelines aren’t an accurate snapshot of black poverty in this country.
You can be well above the poverty line and still be burdened with economic insecurity, hence economic security, and the structures and customs that buttress that insecurity, are a far more efficient barometer for poverty than the federal poverty line.
A 2010 study published at Democracy New ,for example, found that the median wealth for single black women is $100, compared to $41,000 for single white women. Is $100 in the bank anyone’s definition of not poor? Census median net worth for all black households was about $6,000 in total, as Antonio Moore explained in The Decadent Veil: Black America’s Wealth Illusion, and it only gets worse in comparison to real wealth:
A group that is 13 percent of the U.S. population and built one of the the wealthiest countries the world has known as slave labor controls less than 1.75 percent of that country’s household wealth. With a massive amount of the small slither in the hands of a small black elite. According to the Pew Research Study, 35 percent of Black households have Negative or No Net Worth. Another 15 percent have less than $6,000 in total household worth, that’s nearly 7 million of the total 14 million black households that have little or no security.
Like Joy-Ann Reid, black people tend to forget they’re poor because we can now buy Jordans with our paychecks and eat at Applebee’s with friends. Your position on the financial hierarchy, however, is largely determined by how quickly you slide back into poverty once your cashflow dries up.
It is also true that black people don’t experience poverty in the same way as whites, further eroding Reid’s premise that poverty can be gleaned through one piece of federal data. According to the Washington Post, poor whites actually live in richer neighborhoods than middle class blacks or Latinos:
A black household with an annual income of $50,000 lives on average in a neighborhood where the median income is under $43,000. But whites with the same income live in neighborhoods where the median income is almost $53,000—about 25 percent higher.
Meanwhile, white families with an annual income of just $13,000 on average live in neighborhoods where the median income is $45,000—slightly higher than the precincts occupied by middle-class blacks and just below that of middle-class Hispanics.
If Reid needs a refresher course in black poverty, she could learn a thing or three from her ex-colleague, Melissa Harris-Perry, who, according to Fox2Now, said the following:
“Starting around Thanksgiving, I began asking, ‘Does anybody know if the show is going to be on air in 2016?” Harris-Perry said.
Holding back tears, Harris-Perry said that she worked hard to support her family, her kids and her mother.
“I support everyone in my family, and I asked, ‘do I have a job?’ and they wouldn’t answer me.”
What does it say about black poverty that a black woman who had a national television only a couple of weeks ago is now worried about her economic security? For me, it says that Harris-Perry understands, far better than Reid, that the overwhelming majority of blacks, even those who earn six figures, remain in a precarious financial situation.
Even if you’re black and have money, you’re surrounded by friends and relatives who don’t. This is further exacerbated by the fact that we don’t own our income sources and thus, have no control over our cashflow.
Reid would be better served by sitting back and soberly reflecting on what transpired with Harris-Perry rather than using one piece of data to play gotcha with Bernie Sanders. If Reid actually stops acting as a surrogate for Clinton, she might learn something about her community and its needs. Being members of the working poor is something most black people have in common. For the most part, we are poor, regardless of what the poverty line says.
I try to address many of the issues discussed in the video below:
In South Carolina and on Super Tuesday, African-American voters came out overwhelmingly for the candidate favored to become the Democratic nominee–Hillary Clinton. According to Tavis Smiley, however, it would be a mistake for Clinton to believe she has African-American voters “on lock down.”
Even though Clinton has support from black establishment politicians, and probably the black president, Smiley says he sees no reason for Clinton’s campaign to get complacent.
To begin with, Smiley doesn’t necessarily believe that black voters will come out for Clinton in numbers similar to Obama’s 2008 election. Smiley also sees tension in what is sometimes called the black/brown coalition.
Second, the number of everyday black voters who we assume will dismiss Trump because of his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim attacks might well be inflated. While I certainly have had my say about Trump being a “religious and racial arsonist” (and he responded quickly on Twitter), not everyone in black America agrees with me. I have been taken by myriad conversations I’ve had with black folk who don’t find those comments by Trump necessarily or automatically disqualifying. In the coming days, we will see whether his initial refusal last Sunday on CNN to disavow the endorsement of David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacy might anger black voters. Interestingly, almost two months ago, CNN ran a story about a white supremacist group doing robocalls for Trump in Iowa. He didn’t denounce them then and seems to not have suffered for it.
Third, though it is true that black/brown political coalitions have had strategic successes, it is also true that there have been plenty of other occasions where the interests of black and brown voters didn’t exactly align. In California where I live, Latinos are still smarting from the lack of black voter support in 1994 to help defeat the anti-immigrant Proposition 187. At best, it’s a big assumption to think that both the black political establishment and everyday black voters share the same sentiment on Trump’s anti-immigrant stance. Scary, but honestly, I’m not so sure.
When Trump, as opposed to Bernie Sanders, becomes Hillary Clinton’s opposition, it seems that all bets are off. And other brown people shouldn’t necessarily assume that African-Americans share their political outlook or policy agenda.