Tavis Smiley learned all too quickly what happens when prominent African Americans raise questions about Barack Obama.
But that was during the heated, history-making campaign. Now that Obama is safely in the White House, is it safe to publicly question how our much-beloved president is performing in office?
Not yet, says radio personality and BET host Jeff Johnson.
“Black folks, in particular, get irritated,” he tells the Washington Post. Blacks must get past “Obama the personality” and see “Obama the president,” he said. “Otherwise all your being is a political-celebrity groupie instead of a citizen. It starts with acknowledging he’s my president, not my homie.”
Smiley, who left the Tom Joyner Morning Show amid stiff push-back after he criticized Obama for not attending his State of the Black Union conference, has co-written a book outlining the president’s promises to uplift black America. Smiley told the Post he hopes readers will use the book, “Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise,” as a tool to measure the new administration.
Meanwhile, Patricia Wilson-Smith, who started the group Black Women for Obama, says it’s way too soon to critique the nation’s first black chief executive.
“The fact that he is a black man doesn’t mean he’s going to get in office and wave a magic wand and solve all the black community’s problems,” she tells the Post. “To jump all over him at this point because they haven’t seen anything specific toward the black condition, when he has two wars to deal with and an economy failing, is a little silly.”
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