Tavis Smiley Asks, Why Is President Obama Going Only to Dallas?


It’s important that he visit Falcon Heights and Baton Rouge as well.

Given the carnage in Dallas last week that left five police officers dead, the White House has announced that President Obama will travel to Dallas.

Some are asking why not Falcon Heights, Minn. and Baton Rouge, La., where Philando Castile and Alton Sterling died at the hands of police? These shootings are connected, if not forensically, most certainly for a grieving country. A nation wrestling with what to do about our gun culture.

For a president who has had to talk so much about gun violence on his watch, and so eloquently explained from Poland the data about the endangerment of black lives in America, he needs to visit both Minnesota and Louisiana. To avoid either is to misread the pain that his most loyal constituency, black folk, are feeling in this present moment.

When President George W. Bush didn’t get to New Orleans quickly enough in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, black folk raised holy hell, and Bush paid a heavy political price for his delay and seemingly callous fly-over.

Obama might very well unintentionally make some in the black community feel the same hurtful neglect if he misses this chance to help them heal. Moreover, he might regret years from now that he missed this particular opportunity and perhaps others as well on matters where race and gun violence intersected.

I don’t envy the current challenge the president has to balance respect for law enforcement with a deeper appreciation for the sanctity of black life in America. However he chooses to navigate this terrain, he must continue his efforts, indeed double down, on his mission to get the guns. But whose guns? The firearms used by brazen cop killers or the firearms used by brazen killer cops?

Let’s be honest, we’ve seen both recently, and that’s the problem with the all too common breaking news stories about gun violence. It’s getting too hard to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys.

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Source: USA Today | Tavis Smiley