The Covenant with Black America/Tavis Smiley

I’ve heard a lot of things about Tavis Smiley. Some has been good, and the other stuff, well, notsomuch. I thought I’d take a look at The Covenant with Black America, which has been a New York Times bestseller and received other types of acclaim.
I’ve seen Tavis Smiley’s annual programs on C-SPAN, well as long as they have been on C-SPAN. At times they can be thought provoking and sometimes a bit too dramatic for my tastes, so I didn’t really have a major opinion on Tavis Smiley. I thought that he asked questions that needed to be asked of and about black America.
This book addresses several covenants, or rights that all Americans, and black Americans in particular should have. They include the right to health care and well being, establishing a system of public education in which all children achieve at high levels and reach their full potential, correcting the system of unequal justice, ensuring broad access to affordable neighborhoods that connect to opportunity, claiming our democracy, strengthening our rural roots, accessing jobs, wealth and economic prosperity, assuring racial justice for all and closing the racial digital divide.
I think that the purpose behind the covenant is noble, but can be short sighted in places. In its effort to address voting issues, not once is the possibility of absentee ballots proposed. Why is that? They are available in virtually every jurisdiction and mailing a vote with some bills is much more convenient than waiting for polls to open. If someone should decide to spread news that polls are closed or that the election will take place on another day (the kind of thing that mysteriously happens in large African American communities during the presidential election), absentee ballots are NOT affected. Yet this possibility is not even explored in the chapter, claiming our democracy.
A lot of people are not informed of the extent of the injustices that still exist in our country. I think this book is an excellent starting point towards statistics that shape our nation, but I think that other reading is necessary for those interested in a course of political activism.

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