Using the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s March and “I Have a Dream,” Tavis Smiley urges Obama to stop playing it safe, to offer sound policies rather than sound bytes, and to be “King-like, not King-lite.”
For Smiley it’s all about the pain and suffering of African-Americans, and how I wish William Raspberry were alive to respond to him.
Here’s what Smiley says:
But if Obama is to be transformational and not just transactional, a statesman and not just another politician, a thermostat and not just a thermometer, then it’s time for him to use his power to help regulate the temperature of our society and not just settle for recording the temperature of public opinion. It’s time to take some risks. To stop playing it safe in the second term. To tell the truth about the suffering in America that’s being rendered invisible simply because we choose not to see it. Obama needs to be King-like, not King-lite - The Washington Post
Here’s what Raspberry said in 2005:
For black America, Obama may be the harbinger of a different transformation: the movement away from what might be called the civil rights paradigm. Since the astounding success of the civil rights movement nearly half a century ago, America's black leadership has been a civil rights leadership, focused almost exclusively on grievance -- America owes us the right to vote, to enjoy places of public accommodation, to attend nonsegregated schools, to be free of the laws that underlie American-style apartheid.
… The point is not to deny that America's black communities still suffer horribly from poor education, dim employment prospects and other crippling (and heritable) ills but to observe that these problems no longer lend themselves to civil rights -- or grievance-based -- solutions.
William Raspberry - A Path Beyond Grievance