“Take your hands off these brothers,” the NBCI says in a statement. “They Are Our Black Princes.”
The National Black Church Initiative, (NBCI) a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African American parishioners, says it is “standing strong with Smiley and Cornel West as they continue to educate us on how the Obama administration has consistently ignored and vilified the Black community.”
Rev. Anthony Evans, President of NBCI, says he’s concerned about Smiley’s safety since Smiley has received death threats from black people.
“I am ashamed of my people that they will go after one of ours – Tavis and Cornel – as they defend the dignity of black people,” Evans said in a statement. “When I heard that black people and some black women have threatened Tavis’ life I stopped being ashamed and was horrified of the way that we have begun to treat one another. The Black Church will have none of this in our community.”
The NBCI also took aim at radio talk show host Tom Joyner, Rev. Al Sharpton, and NAACP President Ben Jealous, who the NBCI refers to as “so-called black leaders.”
According to the NBCI, Joyner, Sharpton and Jealous “have made the poor choice of cozying up to the Obama administration as the black community has literally gone to hell in a hand basket.”
“There is a dire need for them to stop criticizing Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West,” the statement reads. “These brothers are trying to force the administration to address the economic needs of the black community and to treat African Americans equally.”
Smiley and West have been obsessed with criticizing President Obama in recent years. Every few months West rolls out new material to beat up on Obama whenever he has an opportunity to meet with the media.
In an interview with the Financial Times, West insists that it’s Obama who is fanatical.
“I think at this point he’s obsessed with being on Mount Rushmore. He wants to be a great figure in the pantheon of American presidents,” West, the outspoken Princeton University professor, told the Financial Times.
“If you’re thinking about Mount Rushmore, you’re thinking about your legacy, your legacy, your legacy. Puh-lease.”
There was widespread speculation that West was upset because he didn’t get a ticket to the inauguration after campaigning hard for Obama in 2008.
For West, it seems, Obama can’t do anything right: He’s not black enough. He isn’t doing enough for poor people. He lacks foreign policy experience. He doesn’t listen to black folks.
West prefers to share his complaints about Obama with the media, perhaps in hopes that he will shame Obama into coming around to his way of thinking.
Still, West keeps piling it on. Last year, the attacks on Obama by West were particularly ugly.
“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West told reporters. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation.”
“When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening,” West added. “And that’s true for a white brother … Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folks who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.”
Meanwhile, the NBCI also said the black community has not been treated with the respect it deserves especially since the black community gave President Obama over 98 percent of the vote in 2008 and 2012.
“Sharpton is not the president of Black America; we have a God-given right under the Constitution to air our views,” the NBCI said. “The Black community is not monolithic in its thoughts. We have diverse sets of viewpoints just like all Americans.”
The NBCI said the black community is in crisis and listed inequities in the system:
• We have lost 54 percent of black spending power during this recession.
• Black unemployment rates vary between 13 and 15 percent.
• Black businesses fell sharply under the Obama administration.
• Black students are saddled with more debt under this administration.
• The Black poverty rate increased under this administration.
• Black home owners got little or any assistance from the president’s three foreclosure programs (all of the administration foreclosure assistance programs have been an utter failure of black families).
• Black women, especially black poor women, who have supported the president at 99.8 percent have nothing to show for their single mindedness of support for President Obama.
• Black youth employment numbers are worse under this president than under Presidents Bush or Clinton.
• Black colleges and universities are experiencing the worst economic downturn without any resource support from this administration. Will President Obama let Howard University fall?
• Africa was granted a five year $7.5 billion economic assistance package – pennies when compared to $200 billion in overseas investment in China.
“These are hard facts,” the NBCI said in the statement. “We have invested so much hope in President Obama and he has consistently failed us with his drone and spy programs, and his thirst for killing and talking down to our children, especially at Morehouse. He has and continues to be a moral embarrassment to the black church and the black family by not addressing their real concerns.”