What’s Up with this “Poverty Tour”?

If you know me personally, you know there are two Black intellectuals that I absolutely love-so much so I would listen to them recite the alphabet.  Who are those men?  Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Micheal Eric Dyson.  So, imagine my surprise when I found out that Dr. West and Tavis Smiley are going on a 15 city tour of America?  What’s the name of the tour you may ask…well, it’s called “The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience”.  It aims to bring awareness to the plight of poor Americans, regardless of race and gender, and to have town halls and discussions. 

Excuse me, but what is talking about the plight of the poor going to accomplish?  West and Smiley have gotten numerous sponsors, but I would think that if you’re going to help those Americans who have been without employment that you will help them find a job.  Or at least help with their mortgage or rent.  Thank God I’m not living in poverty, but if I were, I don’t believe I would want someone to host a townhall about my plight.  If these two men really want to be effective, how about devising a plan to create jobs for these Americans and coming up with ways to help them make a better life for them and their families? 

Anyone can get up and talk a good game, but what are we putting into action?  And these two men are educated and intelligent, so it’s beyond me why they would limit themselves to just going around the country.  Unless they plan on using this as an extended vacation.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Witty Wednesday-Sharpton vs. West

If you were like me, you missed the MSNBC special “A Stronger America: The Black Agenda” this past Sunday.  During the special, Rev. Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network, and Dr. Cornel West, an author and college professor, had a heated debate about the Obama Administration.  To say the video has gone viral would be an understatement.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of Rev. Al.  I respect him and his opinion, but there’s a low chance I would go hear him speak or listen to him on the radio…if it were just him.  But he made some valid points on Sunday, as did Dr. West.  Both men are so passionate about their positions that no one, not even host Ed Schultz, could get a word in edgewise when it came to the discussion of the Obama Administration.  Dr. West feels as if the President has taken the African-American vote for granted but has not done anything significant to  support the community since he has taken office.  He also stated that Blacks shouldn’t automatically vote Democrat because party members are the lesser of two evils.  Rev. Sharpton believes that we should support the President in 2012.  He also reminded us all that President Obama cannot do everything on his own. 

Although the President still has an approval rating of 85% among African-Americans as of March 2011, that number is at an all-time low during his presidency.  I think it’s safe to say that Blacks are watching the President very closely.  We want to see results, and so far, I don’t think people are seeing what they were hoping to gain from Obama’s presidency.  I believe that the President is doing all he can, but as Sharpton said, he can’t do it alone.  This is when we need our leaders, whomever they may be, to come forward, devise an agenda, and set about making this country better for Blacks, especially our children.

What do you all think?  Who was right-Sharpton or West?  Going back to my post on Monday, do you believe that one or both of these men are our leaders?  Or should we look elsewhere?  Do you think their argument on Sunday was a poor display?  Or was it something that’s needed to get people involved?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.