Tom Joyner VS. Tavis Smiley and Cornel West Round II

If you have not heard or read there is a big public feud between some of our most respected Black kings and it keep getting deeper? I read this letter today and had to share. It raises some interesting questions for debate.

The feud seems to have been going on since Obama became president and seems to have no end in sight. Should one of these men rise above and break out the olive branch of peace for the community’s sake? One thing is for certain this feud is questioning our loyalties to Obama and our quest for self-preservation. How far do we go to support the first bi-racial president? Have we gone far enough? Is he helping us or hurting us?

A great open letter from Raynard Jackson

Open Letter To Tom Joyner, Regarding Criticism of Tavis Smiley and Cornel West

By Raynard Jackson


Nationwide (July 7, 2011) — I have known Tom Joyner (nationally syndicated radio host) for many years. We are not hanging out buddies, but we have always enjoyed talking and joking with each other. He is an “old school” soul who has done a lot of good in his life. But, in recent years, his very public fight with Tavis Smiley (journalist) and now Cornel West (college professor), threatens his standing in many communities (not just the Black). So, I decided to use this week’s column as an open letter to Tom.

Tom, it is well documented that you and Tavis Smiley (and now Cornel West) have had a very public falling out with each other. I have not been privy to all the details of the dispute, only what is being reported in the media and through some of our mutual friends – but I have no first hand knowledge of anything; so my comments will be offered with that as my backdrop.

Word on the street is that the falling out started during the presidential campaign in 2008. Tavis was clearly not a big supporter of Obama’s and was more of a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s. You were unabashedly quite vocal in your support of Obama.

So, after Tavis resigned (or you fired him from your radio show – I don’t know which one is more accurate), I thought the beef between the two of you would be over. Boy, was I wrong.

Last week you continued your public feud with Smiley and West and raised the rhetoric to an unhealthy level. To lay the blame at their feet for what Mark Halperin called President Obama is a bit of a stretch. This is what Joyner said, “But I’m even more disgusted with Smiley and West, two brothers who I did have expectations of – and thought I knew. These two have done much worse than what Halperin has done because they set the tone for it, opened the door to it, and must take much of the blame for creating a climate that would make a white, professional journalist feel comfortable verbally and vulgarly attacking the first black president of the United States.” (For the entire quote, go to

Halperin is editor of Time Magazine and a regular guest on MSNBC TV network. Last week, on live TV, he called President Obama a “dick.” He was immediately suspended indefinitely from the TV network (he did issue an apology).

Well, Tom, I could make the same argument against you about your blind support for Obama. It is well documented that I, as a Black Republican, voted for Obama in 2008. I was hopeful that he could and would deliver on the promises he made as a candidate; but just as important, use the historic nature of his presidency to bring a different perspective to some of the issues that have plagued the Black community. This is what I hear in West’s criticism of Obama. Smiley seems more angry and hateful and therefore I kind of tune him out. But West’s criticism is in sync with what I have been writing in my columns for the past two years.

So, Tom, can you really make a thoughtful argument for Obama’s reelection without injecting the name of Bush, Republicans, or racism?

Can you justify why Obama would meet with Marc Morial, Ben Jealous, or Al Sharpton, in February of last year to discuss the high unemployment rate in the Black community? These are three people who have never created one job. Did you not find this insulting? Do you think the president would have met with non practicing Jews to discuss Judaism?

Can you explain to me why you and the president support amnesty for the estimated 30 million illegals in the U.S.? Especially when around 7 million of these illegals will enter the workforce and compete with other low and under skilled people (mostly Blacks). If you are concerned with the high unemployment rate in the Black community, how then does this make sense?

Can you explain to me why you and the president are spending so much political capital pursuing a gay rights agenda even though most Blacks are against it?

But, when it comes to issues of particular concern to the Black community, the president’s response is, “I am president of all of America, not just a narrow special interest group.”

Where has the president expended any political capital on behalf of issues of particular interest to the Black community? So, the gays get all sorts of gay rights, Hispanics get a Supreme Court Justice, amnesty, and the D.R.E.A.M. Act; and Blacks folks get “I’m president of all of America.”

So, Tom, while you have done a lot of good in your life, especially with raising $55 million for Black college students, this does not give you a pass on your moral obligation to educate your listeners, not indoctrinate!

You are without doubt an apologist for Obama, but the worst thing you can do is continue to lead your audience into blind support for the president.

In your profession, if you don’t deliver certain demographics, you get fired. Next year Obama will face a similar standard. I challenge you to lay out your argument for Obama’s reelection based on substance, not race.

For you to continue to spew misinformation or incomplete information to your audience is more damaging than anything someone with a white hood over his head has ever done.

If you truly believe in liberalism (as you claim) when will you allow a free flowing exchange of information from both parties to take place on your show and in your town hall meetings?

You have made a name for yourself in the area of education, but when will your bring that reputation to your radio show?

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine ( & USAfrica Magazine (

About Wonder Woman

I am just your ordinary observer by day and freedom fighter by night! My home away from the invisible jet: Follow Me "@Wonder2Woman" on Twitter!! Or on Facebook @
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7 Responses to Tom Joyner VS. Tavis Smiley and Cornel West Round II

  1. Wonder Woman says:

    A great read to go with this article that gives it merit and not just 3 brothers squabbling over nonsense…

    “The Disappearing Black Middle Class” ran the headline over the Chicago Sun-Times story. And the statistics from the Economic Policy Institute were indeed sobering.

    In 2007, best year of the Bush era, white households had a median net worth of $134,280, compared with $13,450 for black households.

    By 2009, the median net worth for white households had fallen 24 percent to $97,860. For black households, it had plummeted 83 percent to $2,170, a near wipeout.

    As Algernon Austin of EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy put it, “In 2009, for every dollar of wealth the average white household had, black households had two cents.”

    One explanation for this surely is the wave of foreclosures on subprime mortgages, a large share of which were held by African-Americans.

    But while unemployment among white men has surged in the Great Recession, among black men it has hit 16 percent, the highest level since the Department of Labor began to keep records in 1972.

    Ominously, things are likely to get worse, because Bill Clinton’s assertion, “The era of big government is over!” is today palpably true.

    Not only in Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey, run by Republicans, is this so, but in liberal mega-states like New York and California. There, Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown run the show, and government payrolls are also being slashed and government pensions pared back.

    From Greece to Portugal to Ireland to Italy, an age of austerity has begun. And now that age is about to begin in Barack Obama’s Washington.

    Why should this adversely affect black America?

    Because not only are African-Americans disproportionately the beneficiaries of federal programs, from the Earned Income Tax Credit to aid for education and student loans, they are even more over-represented in the federal workforce than they are on state payrolls.

    Though 10 percent of the U.S. civilian labor force, African-Americans are 18 percent of U.S. government workers. They are 25 percent of the employees at Treasury and Veterans Affairs, 31 percent of the State Department, 37 percent of Department of Education employees and 38 percent of Housing and Urban Development. They are 42 percent of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., 55 percent of the employees at the Government Printing Office and 82 percent at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.

    When the Obama administration suggested shutting down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants whose losses of $150 billion have had to be made up by taxpayers, The Washington Post warned, in a story headlined, “Winding Down Fannie and Freddie Could Put Minority Careers at Risk,” that 44 percent of Fannie employees and 50 percent of Freddie’s were persons of color.

    In Washington, D.C., we have also seen the result of government cuts on African-American leaders who had to approve those cuts.

    When Mayor Adrian Fenty stood behind schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, who fired hundreds of teachers, most of them African-American, the wards east of the Anacostia cut him dead. In 2010, Fenty was thrown out by many of the black voters who elected him.
    Not only are African-Americans over-represented among government employees, these jobs are the backbone of the black middle class. For federal pay and benefits have in recent years far outstripped those of the private sector.

    From 2000 to 2010, the number of federal employees earning over $150,000 increased tenfold. That number doubled in the first two years alone of the Obama administration. The average pay of federal civil servants in 2009, after benefits were factored in, was $123,000, twice the average pay and benefits of $61,000 in the private sector.

    Indeed, because of the salaries and benefits that District of Columbia and federal employees receive, Washington is first among all metropolitan areas in per-capita income. And the three congressional districts north and west of the city in Maryland and Virginia are among the top 10 in the nation in average income.

    The half-century since the Great Society was launched in the mid-1960s have been the salad days of the government sector. No segment of the population has benefited more than black America.

    But with the U.S. government running its third deficit of 10 percent of gross domestic product, and Obama talking of cutting $4 trillion from future spending, those days are over. And as black America benefited immensely from the Great Society, so it is likely to hurt most as the cuts come.

    Already, black voices are beginning to blame the black president whom fate has chosen to preside over the downsizing.

    Obama, says Princeton professor Cornell West, “lacks backbone.” He is a “black mascot of Wall Street and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. … I don’t think in good conscience I could tell anybody to vote for Barack Obama.”

    Incredibly, the question must be asked.

    Is this Democratic administration about to go to war with its base? Is black America souring on Barack Obama?

  2. Disrael says:

    I am concerned when statistics or opinions are used to point to a time in Black America when we had made it. Seems to me that there have been years and decades when a few Blacks were doing well. There have been times when the few Blacks in America that were doing well were joined by a few of their cousins. But dont believe the hype, the masses of Blacks in America have NEVER done well. That was and continued to be the Black struggle.

  3. smokelbg says:

    Hi, this is Smokelbg @Twitter read my timely tweets and go to It is truly sad when there is a division in Race. We must evolve beyond color and stand strong, long, and tall on intelligence. When all the information is not before us and someone has been discreet and lied we are only going on partial information. That partial information leads to FAULTY PERCEPTION. This imposes chronic or acute stress on the nation. Learn and read what the FAST FIVE has done to our country for many years. The FAST FIVE, RUPERT MURDOCH, JAMES MURDOCH, LES HINTON, ROGER AILES, AND REBECCA BROOKS. Go to THINK PROGRESS and learn what ROGER AILES really thought about WE THE PEOPLE AND OUR NATION. Friend me on Facebook. Coming from the FLIP SIDE of the chart, NLD Mom/cancer survivor.

  4. Dee says:

    I am so disappointed in my people. All of the bickering and division is so unnecessary, we all have our strengths which could be used according. I am not sure why it is wrong for Tom Joyner to speak against Smiley & West, and it is not wrong for Smiley & West to speak against the President. The question was put forth why “Obama would meet with Marc Morial, Ben Jealous, or Al Sharpton, in February of last year to discuss the high unemployment rate in the Black community?” Maybe because Obama felt that the President of the NAACP, the President of the National Urban League, and a renown Civil Rights Leader would be aware of what was going on in the Black Community and what is needed there. Unlike what is written in textbooks or discussed on forums, I am not minimalizing the use of theories or forums etc however experience and association is always a better teacher. I am aware that during the campaign Obama was invited to sit on one of the forums presented about the problems that face black America and he declined. However there comes a time when you need to do more than talk and discuss what the problems are (which most are already aware of) and get out there with those that are experiencing the problems and do what it is necessary to help. Which is what Sharpton, the NAACP and the Urban League are known to do.

  5. Mikemixx says:

    Interesting comments involving 3 major African American public figures, but are you sure you want to label Smiley Asa hater in your national blog?

  6. THE OLD DIVIDE AN CONQUER FORMULA…U READY FOR THIS….WHO IS RAYNARD JACKSON…i know who he says he is however how can he spend so much time checking on everybody else who is checking on him…hmmmn…nice website or layout who is financing your publication or buying your ADS ,,,,I WOULD SAY U NEED TO BE CHECKOUT AND WHY ARE YOU SO INTERESTED…PEACE AN LOVE…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Team, everyone is entitled to their opinion. My recommendation to all Americans is to vote

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