Kevin Fobbs
March 8, 2010
Should President Obama have a black agenda for America?
By Kevin Fobbs

Does PBS host Tavis Smiley have it right in stressing that President Obama should launch a Black Agenda for America? Or is Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and one not known for backing away from controversy, correct in proclaiming that Smiley has it all wrong?

Smiley seems more than a little perturbed that some black leaders feel that with the election of the nation's first black president coupled with the civil rights anthem of the 1960's "We Shall Overcome Someday" means Black America has largely overcome.

America particularly African Americans has to focus not on race but on universal colorblind challenges like economics, jobs, health-care, home foreclosures and recessionary stresses and pressures.

Yet for Smiley, who hosts an annual "State of the Black Union" conference, perhaps did not feel comfortable with the growing feeling in Black America that presidential edicts and calls from the White House for a Black Agenda are not necessarily what is needed in helping the plight of what he may feel are the unrepresented constituencies in black America.

So Smiley wants to hold The State of the Black Union 2010 Round Two. On March 20 he is assembling another black agenda confab to be hosted according to published reports in the President's hometown of Chicago. The Chicago State University conference will have speakers like Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse Jackson as well as Princeton Professor Cornel West, who has publically describes himself as a "non-Marxist socialist."

Recently Rev. Al Sharpton and Smiley came to verbal blows over the contention of a need for an American Black Agenda by the President. Smiley went after Sharpton on Sharpton's radio show accusing the reverend of giving President Obama a pass on issues affecting black Americans.

Yet the real question seems to be missing from Smiley's quest for a Black Agenda for America. Why call a summit or a conference or a get-together at all? Michigan is probably dead last in a number of measureable achievement categories and it has a substantial African American population.

Why not move the conference to Detroit or Flint and, instead of talking and pontificating, roll up their sleeves and use some of that collective brain power to work with local officials, families, educational leaders, faith leaders, and the business community and stop talking and start doing something about an agenda.

Perhaps that may be the true answer less talk from Chicago, less action from Washington and more work in the trenches and neighborhoods where it truly can make a difference. Guess what? That is a colorblind agenda that all America could embrace.

Let me know what you think! If you agree or disagree or have a different thought or idea send a comment to:

© Kevin Fobbs


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Kevin Fobbs

Kevin Fobbs is founder and president of a policy organization called National Urban Policy Action Council (NuPac), that supports conservative colorblind solutions to universal issues and domestic policies that impact urban America... (more)


Receive future articles by Kevin Fobbs: Click here

Latest articles

November 18, 2015
How a Trump/Eisenhower mass illegals evacuation plan solves America's crisis

November 2, 2015
Did CNBC debate debacle unify GOP presidential candidate panel?

October 30, 2015
Is Clinton now a sure win with Biden out of presidential sweepstakes?

October 22, 2015
America's new journey: Faith, Liberty and Freedom film in 2016

October 15, 2015
Will Obama drop indictment hammer on Hillary after Biden presidential run?

October 9, 2015
Is a Reagan-like economic boom on the way with Trump tax plan?

September 23, 2015
Is Carly the 'Hammer' ready to knockout billionaire Trump?

January 4, 2015
How to make an unbreakable resolution for the new year!

December 9, 2014
Has the war for Christmas been lost to atheists and the ACLU this season?

November 29, 2014
Ferguson needs to share a dose of Thanksgiving from Ronald Reagan via 1985

More articles