REASON #501 WHY I WON'T ATTEND THE SOTBU ANYMORE
I like to know if you're going to pimp me. Hat tip to Big Man at Raving Black Lunatic for this post:
Y'all know this weekend in New Orleans they had this little thing called the State of the Black Union hosted by Tavis Smiley.
Smiley invited several black "leaders" and politicians to discuss topics of interest regarding the black community. Regular citizens were invited to attend for free to rub shoulders with the elite and make sure the crowd looked good on C-Span.
Only it turns out the event wasn't really free.
Now, there wasn't actually an admission fee. But, every attendee had to register online to get into the New Orleans Convention Center. And that, as they say, was the catch.
See, Tavis, being the wily business man that he is, required prospective attendees to fill out extensive questionnaires to register. Not only did these surveys ask for individuals' addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, but they also required much more detailed information.
Attendees had to list how many times they ate out every week, which restaurants they ate at, how much money they made, which auto insurance company they used and a host of other questions that clearly delineated their income levels and spending habits. In fact, if a prospective attendee left any question blank, they were promptly told they couldn't register.
Now, some of you may wonder how this qualifies as an admission fee. Well, as a friend of mine explained it to me, those surveys were likely converted into detailed mailing lists that Tavis either provided free to his sponsors (lovely companies like McDonalds, Allstate and Wal-Mart) or sold to other interested parties looking to tap into the black market. In fact, Tavis most likely kept some of the info for himself in order to better market his next self-help book or video for the black community. After all, there was some fine print that said that if you signed up all your info became property of Mr. Covenant to do with as he wished.
According to my friend, just for the names and addresses alone Tavis could get $5-$10 a head. Considering there were thousands of folks at the conference, that's no chump change. But, the real money is in selling specially culled lists to those individuals looking to get the best bang for their marketing buck.
If you're State Farm looking to attract new customer, you ask for all the individuals who use another insurance company and make sure they get a nice call from a telemarketer at dinner time. Or, say you're a credit card company look for some new suckers, I mean customers, now you know who loves to shop and how much money they make. Whether by selling part of the list or the whole thing, Tavis has an opportunity to make a pretty penny off those individuals who were looking for enlightenment on the state of the black community.
Now, I don't know about y'all, but I find it funny that the same man who was quick to call Obama out for taking black people for granted or trying use our votes to win the election without addressing our issues is pimping out black people to the highest bidder. There is something a tad bit unseemly about a man who pretends to be putting on an event for the edification of black folks when he's really trying to assemble a valuable mailing list on the cheap.
You know, Smiley and several elected officials spent a lot of time complaining that their Negro bona fides had come under attack because they supported Clinton instead of Obama. They noted that it was ridiculous for black people to expect each other to think and act in lockstep.
They were right about that.
But, they missed the point that black folks weren't mad at them for thinking differently, they were mad at them for co-signing the despicable racist tactics of Hillary's campaign. They were mad at them for being willing to sell out our community for funding for their pet projects. See, black people have far too much experience at being used not to be able to pick a hustler out of the crowd, and the only thing we hate more than a hustler is a hustler who tells us he's bilking us for our own good.
So, the next time Tavis decides to climb his ass up on his mangy, knock-kneed high horse I want everybody to know that all his grand talk about being a caretaker of black interests is bullshit.
He done already sold us out.
From the Christian Progressive Liberal:
I've attended three of the SOTBU's and can verify that when you register to attend, while it is free admission, you have to supply all that information in responding to the questions the registration form asks - otherwise the computer will not accept your registration and you can't get in to the event.
I've often wondered why that was. Now it appears Mr. Smiley is not above collecting marketing information on his people and selling it to the highest bidder.
You want our money for goods and services, and you still want to diss us while taking our hard-earned cash, facilitated by Smiley and the SOTBU. Bootstrapping for fun and profit.
The irony is, if Tavis hadn't decided to engage in hateration of Barack Obama, we probably wouldn't have looked at his methods, or his motives for hosting this event every year, but because he decided to tote water for Obama's race-baiting opponent, Senator Hillary Clinton, Tavis Smiley succeeded in getting Black America to do something he probably wishes we wouldn't.
He is facilitating the very demand of accountability from us that he's demanding from Obama. If you're not willing to be held equally accountable, Tavis, fold up your traveling minstrel show and go home. We're watching you now, bro, and it's not pretty to find out you're not above using the very people you claim to love by gathering marketing information about us and selling it to those who want our money, but don't honor and respect us. No amount of Wal-Mart showboating with an African-American History Exhibit for the next five years will clean up the slime or stench that leaves behind.
Shame on you, Tavis, for not considering our intelligence above that of your corporate masters. You've sold out in the worst possible way, and you're not qualified to call out anyone on anything you're not willing to be called out on yourself.
It might be time for you to fold up your tent and go home with this traveling minstrel show, while opening the doors for someone else to host this forum and get things done. The days of shucking and jiving are over and we can't afford you anymore.