Sunday, August 14, 2011
What “tomming” really looks like
Adam Serwer rightly calls out comedian Steve Harvey, who labels Tavis Smiley and Cornel West Uncle Toms in a particularly crude way. I’ve had some tough words for West. But I think Smiley and West’s poverty tour raises important concerns that might not otherwise gain a hearing. As Adam observes, “Tomming involves deliberately advancing the arguments of the community’s dectractors in a bid for approval.” That’s just not what West and Smiley are about.
In any event, the real and alleged Uncle Toms of today can’t hold a candle to the heroes of the past. Walter Lippman shows how it’s done.