So Tavis has been going at it with Barack Obama, because Obama has declined to appear at Smiley's State of the Black Union Conference. For anyone whose missed it you can hear all of the audio here. You can also here Michelle Obama's classic response to Tavis here. Here's Melissa Harris Lacewell, she of Gloria Stienem critical beatdown fame, at it again:

All these black leaders who spent the year telling us that Obama is not old enough, not black enough and not angry enough to earn African American votes must have noticed that Obama can deliver the black vote to himself, by himself, with little help from these self-proclaimed racial power brokers.

And Jimi Izrael bringing it:

It isn't that I have a plan so much better than Tavis'. No ma'am. I take care of mines and do what I can for my brothers and others. I just reject the rhetoric of people being paid just to be black—they are Race Brokers: Grievance Merchants and Professional Negroes who give white America the word from Darktown, so no one actually has to engage race relations in a constructive way.  They put on nice suits, get in front of microphones and tell black people how to feel and when to feel it. They remind white folks that we are not a monolith, then reduce blacks with generalizations and best-guesses.

What people don't get is that we're witnessing the end of gate-keeping in the black community. With John Lewis and the like unable to deliver black voters to Hill, with talkers like Sharpton and Jesse basically sidelined during arguably the most important event in black America since '68, with Julian Bond on the wrong side of history, we are seeing the complete scrapping of the black America's shadow government--presidency, congress, cabinet and all. That's a good thing--it's like all the Popes of Blackness, as Jimi calls them, are coming out of their face, only to be exposed as utterly irrelevant. I told you guys earlier--anybody can get got. In the words of Cedric the Entertainer, Barack keeps trash bags on him. He's so sincere. This some sincere isht right here.

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