From the “Surprise! Black people don’t agree on everything (even Obama)” file:
Al Sharpton and Cornel West went head-to-head over the issue of black leadership Sunday night on MSNBC’s The Black Agenda special.
Sharpton’s position is that most black leaders, except for Obama, are silently doing nothing for the black community, while West calls Obama maybe no more than a “black mascot” for the wealthy.
These two have been going at it for some time, but this debate got especially heated.
From Sharpton: “Too many of us are putting it all on the president. If I see a [Paul] Ryan in Congress, where is the counterpoint to Ryan? That’s not President Obama’s job … He shouldn’t lead the civil rights marches against himself. Everybody’s sitting around acting like we can’t do anything; Obama’s going to do it. That’s hogwash.”
From West: “They [black members of Congress] have a black constituency and there’s a context in the nation that a criticism of President Obama is an attempt to support the right-wing vicious attacks of Fox News and others.”
There’s always something a bit uncomfortable about watching two black public figures duke it out in front of a national audience. But behind all the shouting, there’s the legitimate and complicated question of the extent to which President Obama (and all black elected officials) should be held accountable to an African-American agenda. That’s not an issue that will be resolved in any two-hour television special, no matter how dramatic the made-for-TV debate is.
Read more at Mediaite.