8.11.2011

Why Steve Harvey is wrong for calling West & Smiley ‘Uncle Tom’



by Dawud Walid

One of Blackamerica’s Kings of Coonery and Buffoonery Steve Harvey recently in an angry diatribe used the term “Uncle Tom” referring to Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley’s Poverty Bus tour, which has been critical of President Barack Hussein Obama’s economic policies and militarization. Harvey even stated that West and Smiley must be paid by outside interests (presumably Republicans) to afford the bus tour.

Harvey like other Black personalities is missing a fundamental point, appearing to be blinded by identity politics.

Uncle Toms don’t challenge or speak truth to power. A Tom connotes that he or she curries favor to the powers that be to get along or sell out their own. And since some of the policies of Obama that West and Smiley criticize are in the interests of corporate America, whom Harvey has skinned and grinned for, as well as the military industrial complex, I don’t think that West and Smiley are serving those entities interests.

Those who criticize and critique Obama should not be painted as sell-outs or committers of cultural treason. In fact, criticizing Obama is actually what he needs. He has to know that he cannot take the Black and working class votes for granted, which are the groups (as well as American Muslims) that overwhelmingly voted for him in 2008.

From a spiritual perspective, the final prophet of Islam, Muhammad (Prayers & Peace be upon him and his family) gave lessons regarding this issue.

The first relates to a man who questioned Prophet Muhammad asking, “Is it from tribalism that a man loves his people?” Prophet Muhammad replied, “No, but it is from tribalism when a man supports his people when they are doing wrong.”

The second relates to when Prophet Muhammad told his followers, “Help your brother be he wronged or a wrong-doer.” His followers inquired, “We know how to help the wronged, but how do we help the wrong-doer?” Prophet Muhammad replied, “Stop him from doing wrong, and that is how you help the wrong-doer.” Obama has continued and even extended many Bush era policies that have hurt poor, working class people, further eroded civil rights and increased American militarism abroad. Those who say that we should ignore his role in this just to get a Black man re-elected for a second term have allowed racial affinity to blind them to the deterioration of their own people.

 Though I do not agree with everything that West and Smiley say, attempts by Harvey and his ilk to stifle debate by launching attacks upon Black authenticity of critics of Obama are much more revolting. Moreover, such attacks are counterproductive for the long term interests of the people.

(Dawud Walid is a leading voice for Muslims & Islam in Michigan. Read more of his blogs at http://dawudwalid.wordpress.com/)


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7 comments:

  1. I can not stand steve harvey, things he doesnt understand he tries to crush using the airwaves, and uncle tom seems to be his favorite label for the well educated, wise and knowledgeable people. Most people who are confused about a situation or subject must research it inorder to understand. To just throw out insults and labels without knowledge of the subject is like a fool reciting Shakespear or from the Holy Quaran. Words without substance.

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  2. Haven't listened to Steve Harvey in years..

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  3. I think we should stop sharing this foolishness,like palin and bachmann..They will just go away..

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  4. why i think we should communicate better with each other the name calling,I am very disappointed in the way SMILEY AND WEST are going about this to make a point.Poor people need health care and all the benefits that will allow them to begin to change their current situation why not find common things to work together on ,but we choose to focus on those things we disagree on and nothing else

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  5. When i heard Mr. Harvey say the things he said needless to say i disagreed 100% with him. But the question that really permeated my consciousness(and for the life of me i cant understand)was "have we not learned anything from The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan?" I just cant understand how he has been among us all these years working so hard,and if you look at some of the things we say and look at all the tricks and traps we fall victim too its like we have never had anyone be an example for us. I just don't understand

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  6. I AM NOT THAT BIG OF A STEVE HARVEY FAN, BUT I Think I agree SOMEWHAT. WEST IS CRITICIZING OBAMA FOR HELPING WALL STREET. THE PEOPLE HE HELP EDUCATE, FROM YALE AND PRINCETON! He doesn't even teach at a Black school! What a hypocrit, Crabs in a Barrel@work>

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  7. When we have an opinion about our Black Brother and Sister why do we have to exploit one another in public! If you do not like something we do or something we say take it to them and then let it alone. One thing most white people do not do is talk about each other in the public Good Bad or in different. I am really surprised at Bro.Steve Harvey! He should know better than this.

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