For the last two years I've been fortunate to watch Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union meetings on C-SPAN, and just this last weekend I again had the great pleasure of viewing Smiley's remarkable forum that's a stark contrast to what's normally offered over the public airways. (C-SPAN will rebroadcast the event this Friday, Feb. 29, 2008; please check your local listings for exact airtimes.)
Such programs are inspiring for one simple fact: People rarely get to hear so many leaders of color take center stage and comment at length on important issues. In contrast, if these men and women appear on CBS, CNN, or MSNBC, they're often presented via an edited, ten-to-twenty second sound byte on a program most likely moderated and controlled by white people. (If any Caucasians are uncomfortable with the previous sentence, they should ask themselves this simple question: Would you be happy if the overwhelming majority of news and informational programs--and print media--were moderated and controlled by people of color?)
Tavis Smiley's annual event is sponsored by some major corporations (their names appear on the backdrops behind the participants) whose largesse must be commended; such sponsorship illustrates these corporations' commitment to promoting diversity: They "walk the walk."
I encourage everyone regardless of color or ethnicity to watch the rebroadcast of Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union this Friday, Feb. 29, 2008, on C-SPAN; the participants' diverse comments (for such events dispel the mistaken notion that all people of color hold the same views) are engaging and thought-provoking.