These ninjas got the “And what?!?” face
There’s been a lot of controversy over the last few weeks surrounding the Poverty Tour organized by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West. The pair has used the nine-state, 18-city event to both highlight the struggle of the nation’s poor as well as to criticize President Obama for what they say is a laissez-faire attitude toward economically marginalized Americans.
But in response, they have been labeled as self-promoting, self-serving Obama haters. They have become pariahs in some circles. The blowback has even become personal and nasty, with the comedian Steve Harvey recently calling the duo “Uncle Toms” and the Rev. Al Sharpton and radio personality Tom Joyner taking various shots at them.
But as Smiley sat on the Poverty Tour bus on Friday headed to Memphis, Tenn., the final stop on their trip, he said the tour had gone exactly the way he and West had planned.
“I am very clear on who I am and who I am not, what I can do and what I can not,” he said during a phone interview. “I have a platform that I can use to bring awareness, to draw attention and create a conversation.”
He then rattled off a list of news outlets that covered some aspect of the tour, including “Nightline,” C-Span and CNN, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times, Life Magazine, The Root, The Nation, the Associated Press, NBC, CBS, and The Huffington Post.
“The tour did everything it was supposed to do,” he said. “And its not just about raising awareness, it’s about starting a dialogue about poverty and the poor in this country. I don’t get intimidated by haters. Not only are we not intimidated, if we had more resources and time, we would extend the tour,” Smiley said. “The question that I would pose to the critics is not why are we doing what we are doing or saying, it’s ‘if you care about poor people why aren’t you doing anything?’”
All the hate the people are tossing Smiley and West’s way hasn’t fallen on numb ears…
“For me it hurts, when this jumped off a few years ago and I was the one person nationally and personally raising questions of accountability,” Smiley said. “They wanted Barack Obama to win by any means necessary. I got that then and I get it now, but it hurts and I shed a lot of tears, had a lot of conversations with Dr. West.”
“So, it hurts, and it brings me to tears, but at the end of the day I don’t know any other way to live,” he added. “And so what I’ve said to black people is I love you and ain’t nothing you can do about it. These Negroes have tried, but I love them anyway.”
Boo-f’n-hoo. The POTUS has a tough job to do, and maybe he’s not doin everything that everyone wants when they want it, but he’s definitely servicing the community.