I've watched the State of the Black Union since 2004 and this last one was great but I came away thinking that it was exactly like the other 4+ and with the audience automatic call and response, and standing ovations every 30 seconds, I don't think anything gets done as a consequence of the meeting. I know there was the Tavis Smiley's Covenant with Black America, what became of that? Anyway, Obama has said he will not be attending this year's SOTBU in New Orleans. Understandably its a big deal that he won't. On one hand, I think that it is unfortunate that he feels that he has to distance himself from the Black community at this juncture, but on the other hand I feel like he's making a safe decision which is the best thing he can do right now. He has primaries in Texas and Ohio in about a week and those have already been billed the last nail for whoever's candidacy's coffin.
I think if I was in his shoes I would do the same thing. Is that the wrong decision? Perhaps. He should send a taped apology of why he can't appear (i.e. campaigning).
I just don't like how these kind of forums feel like they have a monopoly on the black experience
in America. I love it, I'll probably still watch but we've got to spread ourselves out here, Black people! Many leaders, not one, or some, should be the new worldview. I mean we saw it earlier in Obama's candidacy when Sharpton et al tried to make it as though since they hadn't given him their blessing he was not legitimate "black candidate". I like the new guys: Deval Patrick, Obama, Ford from Tennessee the NJ mayor. Check out this piece in the Baltimore Sun for what I mean.
I know the usual reaction to a post like this is there is still systemic racism and endemic injustice. I know, you're preaching to the choir. I just feel that to counteract these issue we, black people in America, need better leaders who are as diverse as we are. I think the sun is setting on Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, NAACP etc. Believe me I love these organizations but either they radically update themselves or face irrelevancy because as we get further and further away from the Civil Rights Movement with time, I believe that black america is outgrowing these tight boundaries.