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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


If you don't understand black politics, ask someone who does

UPDATED: Why is Cornel West Hating on Obama?

Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 07:50:19 PM PST

Yesterday, I was watching the Annual Forum of the State of Black America hosted by radio host Tavis Smiley. During one of the roundtable discussions, the subject of Barack Obama came up. The question was asked about Obama’s announcement in Springfield, Illinois, home of Abraham Lincoln, and you would have thought, based on their reaction, that Obama was at a Klan rally. I did not realize that Lincoln was so despised. Dr. Cornel West and another member of the panel ripped him up one side and down the other, citing the understandably glaring shortcomings of Mr. Lincoln. They also cited the fact that he dared to announce his candidacy on the same weekend of the forum. My question is: What’s the deal?

First of all, Barack Obama is a U.S. Senator sent to Washington from the State of Illinois, where the State Capitol is SPRINGFIELD. So there is more going on that meets the eye? What is so threatening about Obama that West was compelled to practically call him an Uncle Tom? I’ve long respected West but at times I think he is so wrapped up in his own ideology to realize there is a great big, diverse electorate out there. Or is it perhaps he and others don’t feel that their rings have been kissed enough to receive their blessings. Is it his white mother? Is it the fact that he did not grow up in the Inner City (though he represented the South Side of Chicago as a state rep. in SPRINGFIELD). If Obama symbolizes the hopes and aspirations of the African American community, maybe people like West fear that people like him are no longer needed.

Dr. West has so bought into his own hype that he now feels that he can be the arbiter of who is good enough to represent Black America, not acknowledging the fact that, like any community, African American politicians are entitled to seek office and policy achievements in their own way. He may also look upon Obama, feel old and realize that his generation’s time is about to pass.

Update [2007-2-11 23:27:55 by RandyMI]:
I should add that West and others have no obligation to support anyone and are entitled to criticize everyone. However, the criticism of making the annoucement is just silly. Furthermore, West went into a rant about "folling the white money, the Jewish money, tc". Of course we should always see who may have a financial interest in a candidate winning, but to single out various groups like that is questionable.


You simply don't know what the fuck you're talking about. You don't.

First of all, Obama has little visible black support. Cornel West dodged police in the streets of Harlem during the Giuliani administration. His credibility and respect is beyond question. What West pointed out was Obama's obliviousness to two things, one Lincoln's history, and the importance of the State of Black America forum. Every major intellectual, and many church and community leaders attend. Not attending was a slight many of those same people will not forget.

Rings kissed? It's that he has NO RECORD of working for black voters outside of Illinois. His number of white supports makes many black people suspicious that he's really a liberal version of Harold Ford.

I would say Dr. West looks at Obama and wonders if he's a trojan horse for interests which don't represent the wider black community.

No one knew who he was before 2004. No one knows where he really stands on important issues to black America.

A more savvy staff would have had him in Hampton Roads and not Springfield yesterday. It seems the Obama staff assumes there is widespread support for him in the black community, and that is anything but true.

What people are wary iof are candidates like Ford, Corey Booker and Denise Majette. They had tremendous white support and black voters wondered who they would serve in office. These people seemed to be picked by others

The fact that Obama's announcement had a sea of white faces did little to inspire confidence among black voters. There has been a decades search for a mailable black politician who keeps blacks in place but serves the interests of whites.

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