"This is a critical time in our nation's history," the famous talk show host, author, entrepreneur, political commentator Tavis Smiley from the "Tavis Smiley" show announced in the beginning of his speech at Santa Monica College on Tuesday, September 24th, 2013, "We live in a nation that is not yet as good as its promise."
In response to Obama's American Exceptionalism speech at the United Nations, Tavis Smiley asked the students of Santa Monica College to reflect on the reason why as a nation we can't feed, employ, or educate our people, we judged others based on the colors of their skin, we started wars all over the globe and our congress was only days away from shutting down the government, yet our leader was bragging about American Exceptionalism to the United Nations.
Furthermore, he explained the difference between Nationalism and Patriotism. The word Nationalism meant "to love your country no matter what", but the word Patriotism meant "to rebuke your country when it's wrong because you love it so much." He mentioned the interrelated triple threats of racism, poverty and militarism Martin Luther King Jr. talked about and proved his point by telling us a stomach-churning story that happened two weeks prior.
24-year old African American football player Jonathan Farrow crashed his car in a predominantly white neighborhood in North Carolina and ran to the nearest house for help. The white woman who lived at the house misunderstood his situation and called the 911 emergency operator. When police officers showed up, Jonathan ran toward them, thinking they were going to help him, instead he was shot 10 times by Officer Randall Kerrick.
Jonathan Farrow did everything right, Tavis Smiley said, he was well educated (he was a student at Johnson C. Smith University), he had a job and he was engaged, but when the white woman opened her door and decided he was a threat because of the color of his skin, our government failed him.
He told the students at Santa Monica College that life's most persistent and urgent question was "What are you doing for others?" Then, he said, "You can't lead people unless you love people; you can't save people unless you serve people. if you are not using your talent to love and serve people, you are wasting your time." Tavis Smiley then concluded his speech by telling the students at Santa Monica College that people are worthy of love just because. Just because, he repeated.