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John McWhorter rolls his eyes at Tavis Smiley's upcoming black leaders summit:

Based on my experience, I’ll take a guess as to how Smiley’s We Count! The Black Agenda is the American Agenda will go. I know I’m going out on a limb here. Stay with me, this is a little complex: I venture that a major thread of the discussion will be the observation that although we have a black President, racial disparities persist in America. Never mind that the number of people attending or watching the event on TV who won’t already be aware of this could barely fill a minivan. And then some other dependables at events like these – speakers and the audience will respond with especial fervor to points made with, at the finish, an edgy intonation conveying a streety brand of indignation. The actual content of the utterance will be of minor importance.

TNC takes Tavis to task over his claim that black politicians are "being targeted in some pretty significant ways by some pretty powerful forces":

[Smiley's] David Paterson defense strikes me as very, very wrong. Paterson is largely in trouble for attempting to influence a case in which one of his aides is accused of beating up his girlfriend. It's the need to see an abuse accusation through a racial lens that gives me pause. This is a politician whose approval rating is below 50 percent among black voters. I don't get how he fits into a narrative of black folks "getting crushed." I suspect the same of Charlie Rangel, though I haven't kept up enough to know for sure. I just don't see where the "black/white" angle is in this.

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