No such thing as “race transcendence,” says Smiley

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“There is no such thing in America as race transcendence, and Obama’s going to find that out real soon,” says Tavis Smiley in an AP story about how he and other journalists are addressing issues of race in the presidential campaign. Smiley started a blogosphere firestorm when he criticized Obama on The Tom Joyner Morning Show for not appearing on Smiley’s State of the Black Union cablecast on C-SPAN in February. “Just because Barack Obama is black, doesn’t mean he gets a pass on being held accountable on issues that matter to black people,” Smiley says in the article. “We have an awkward history about how to talk about race in the nation and in newsrooms,” says NewsHour and Washington Week’s Gwen Ifill, whose book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama will be published early next year. “I don’t see any hesitancy about addressing it,” she says. “But I do think we are all searching for the language.”