State of the Black Union…Afterthoughts

01Mar09

st-of-the-blk-union

The live airing of Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union yesterday on C- SPAN was very interesting. Standout “speeches”  were delivered by a couple of the academics, a motivational speaker, a financial expert, and Rev. Jesse Jackson on the morning panel. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson fully illuminated the difference between post-racialism and post-racism, relative to Obama’s historic presidential election. America is still neither post-racial nor post-racist, but the desire is to be post-racist, obviously. Dyson asserts we would never want to be post-racial — racial differences make us who we are and add to the richness of American life. Dr. Tricia Rose offered insights on hip-hop culture. Motivational speaker Iyanla Vanzant shared her story of economic devastation and how she recovered, which really moved the crowd. Washington Post financial columnist Michelle Singletary, who offered sound financial advice during her 3 minutes, saluted Rev. Jackson for giving her hope as a child and instilling in her the belief that “I am somebody.” For his part, Rev. Jackson redeemed himself yesterday morning. Many African Americans had turned against him after his “n-word” comments about presidential candidate Obama on FOX News last year. Rev. Jackson exhibited his usual grasp of the issues and passion for his people, but in a far more relatable and modern way.

The afternoon panelists weren’t nearly as engaging, but RNC Chairman Michael Steele got a chance to speak directly to Black people.  Motivational speaker Les Brown discussed his personal wealth. On a positive note, California Speaker of the Assembly Karen Bass encouraged continued political involvement to hold elected officials, including President Obama, accountable. Most notably, TransAfrica Forum founder Randall Robinson shared fascinating insights on American missteps in Haiti and various countries in Africa, and just how uninformed we are as global citizens. And Tavis…he promoted his new book, Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise.

The only dilemma: No one summarized the speakers’ contributions to set the stage for developing real action plans. Guess you’ve got to buy the book. Hmmm.

If you missed the telecast, it airs again Friday night on C-SPAN2. It is worth watching.

Speak your peace.



One Response to “State of the Black Union…Afterthoughts”

  1. 1 Jason

    I came across the “State of the Black Union” through the telecast on C-Span2. I happened upon it because I was at a friends house where it was on. I would not have seen it otherwise as I don’t watch or buy television in general.
    A lot of the topics were things that are known to those black people who give some thought about their community and its refusal to right itself. What stuck out for me were the insistence that we must choose to know more by Randall Robinson and that we must choose to do more as indicated by most of the panel members. This was the theme of the conference, and I got the message.
    While it is a blessing to find this conference and to know that black people with intellect and communications skills are discussing issues publicly it is ironic that it is broadcast on C-Span and not through venues black people control. I guess it is better to have it somewhere than not at all.
    What could be an interesting telltale about the conference’s reach into the community is that my comments here are the first on this blog, and my comments are over a week after it originally aired.



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