PBS host Tavis Smiley criticized President Obama, declaring “black folk don’t need lectures” and for lecturing black people while joking with Steven Colbert in a larger discussion on race in America on Monday’s “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel.
“With all due respect to our President Barack Obama, black folk don’t need lectures on Black Entertainment Television. You go to Black Entertainment Television, Mr. President, respectfully, to lecture black folk and then you’re wrong, respectfully, when you tell them that these things take time…stop telling black folk they[‘ve] got to wait, and that these things take time…Number two, Mr. President, respectfully, when you say we can’t compare what’s happening now to what happened fifty years ago, tell that to the parents of these kids who are being gunned down in America’s streets. It is open season on black men, and it is in many ways as bad as it was fifty years ago. And finally, here’s my point, why go to BET and give black folk a lecture but go to Stephen Colbert and tell jokes?” he stated.
Earlier, Hannity asked Smiley what evidence he had that the Brown and Garner cases were based on race, to which Smiley said “Racism is still, is still the most intractable issue in this country, it’s a part of everything we do still. Number two, too often black men, I know this personally even as a host on national television, as black men too often we’re seen as the boogeyman and the presumption of guilt is always made towards us as opposed to being presumed innocent. Number two, and number three, the clip you played earlier from Mayor de Blasio (D, New York City) is right, when too many parents in this country in 2014 still have to have the talk with their black sons for how to save and protect their own lives, something is amiss, Sean.” When Hannity followed-up, Smiley seemed to state that he couldn’t speculate on those specific cases, but did know about racism in general in the US.
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