How Both Rev. Al Sharpton and Michael Eric Dyson Tricked the Black Community

by Yvette Carnell

This article previously appeared in Your Black World.

We weren’t smart. We were tribal.”

As a black media consumer who scans mountains of black media stories every day, I have to tell you, I get tired of being lied to. And the two biggest liars by far during President Obama’s first term have been Michael Eric Dyson and “Rev.” Al Sharpton.

In the lead up to the election, when Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley both implored the black electorate to push Obama for a black agenda, both Sharpton and Dyson circled the wagons, insulating the White House from any criticism from the black community, ensuring that Obama would not be held to task, certainly not during his first term.

Presumably, Sharpton and Dyson safeguarded the president to ensure that he’d win reelection. Sharpton gave up on any serious assessment of Obama early, saying he wouldn’t offer any criticism of Obama during his first term. He was rewarded with an MSNBC show.

Dyson, who initially gave a fiery roundtable lecture on how blacks couldn’t allow racial symbolism to trump accountability, recently demonstrated a complete 180 in his debate with Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford. His reward is coming, I’m sure.

But now there is good evidence that, contrary to the wisdom of Dyson and Sharpton, Obama didn’t need any protecting. He trounced Romney in Tuesday’s election, becoming one of only a handful of presidents to win 50 percent of the popular vote, and leaving me with no other choice than to believe that doing something substantive for black people during his first time wouldn’t have upended Obama’s election prospects.

The black community could’ve gotten its pound of flesh, much like the LGBT and Latino communities had already, if we’d not been snookered, listening to old “Marble Mouth” Sharpton and “Bee Boppin’” Dyson.

Being loyal to people who aren’t loyal to you will get you nowhere.”

Now we are all left hoping and wishing that, for the sake of his legacy, President Obama doesn’t forget about us during his second term. The smart thing to do would’ve been to secure something, such as legislation to reduce black unemployment or mass incarceration, before the election, but we weren’t smart. We were tribal.

To put it plainly, the black community got screwed by trusting two men who were never honest brokers in the political game they were playing. These men selfishly took advantage of their proximity to power, and successfully used it as leverage for their personal brands, at the expense of the black community at large.

Listen black people: Nobody cares about us. Not even the people who were hired to care about us care about us. My advice? F*ck ‘em. And I don’t just mean f*ck ‘em right now, I mean f*ck ‘em forever.

Al Sharpton’s nothing more than an old guy with a bad perm. And Dyson’s just a smart guy who talks too fast. Who cares. Ask yourself, for once, what do you want? What would you like to see President Obama do for black people? Put yourself and your family first. Then fight for that, no matter what. And if you find somebody with a platform who shares your view, all the better.

But being loyal to people who aren’t loyal to you will get you nowhere. You don’t need Sharpton or Dyson to tell you what to do or think. You only need courage to stand up for yourself and the people you love. Once your love for yourself and the people close to you becomes stronger than your love for Obama, or your respect for Sharpton or Dyson, then you’re ready to break free.

You don’t need Maybach money or a black prez to do it. You only need to love yourself more than you love everybody else. Love yourself, and then go for what you want. Everything else is just black noise. And it’s about time we drown it out.

Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill and campaign staffer turned writer. She is currently an editor and contributor to Yourblackworld. You can reach Yvette via Twitter @YvetteDC or on Facebook.

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