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“There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars,” Obama said. “That happens to me — at least before I was a senator.  There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off.  That happens often.”

This was a testimony by Obama that should be applauded, not criticized, but Smiley can’t give Obama credit for anything. In Smiley’s world, Obama doesn’t speak up quick enough on black issues, and when the president does speak, he doesn’t go far enough.

“I don’t know how the president argues that he doesn’t believe that he can have a role in leading us in a moral conversation,” Smiley said. “This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue. I don’t know how he can’t lead us in a conversation on this, but he can on gay marriage? He can on a litany of others—he can on Israel and Palestine, but not race?”

“I don’t want the president to look back and realize he didn’t do as much as he could have in this critical moment,” he said.

Smiley certainly has a right to share his opinions and there’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism, but Smiley has lost a huge African American following and his obvious anger toward Obama has caused many black Americans to question his logic, his motives, and his credibility.

Black folks on Facebook and Twitter are saying Smiley is becoming irrelevant — he just doesn’t know it yet.

(Photo: PRPhotos)

COMMENTARY: Tavis Smiley: Obama’s Race Remarks Are ‘Weak as Pre-Sweetened Kool-Aid’  was originally published on

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