Then again, Cain is threatening Smiley and West’s livelihood as the two of them make a living off playing the race card.

Poverty ambassadors blast Herman Cain’s views on racism — CNN

GOP hopeful Herman Cain drew concern from some black opinion elites Monday after expressing his views on racism and how it affects the upward mobility of African Americans.

“People sometimes hold themselves back because they want to use racism as an excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve,” Cain, the only African-American vying for the Republican slot on the 2012 ticket, told CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday’s “State of the Union.”

Appearing Monday on CNN Newsroom, PBS host Tavis Smiley and Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West — the brain trust for the 18-city “Poverty Tour” that aims to highlight the plight of poor people — begged to differ.

“There are disparities in this country in every [socioeconomic] factor that we follow. In every aspect of our human endeavors in this country there is a racial disparity element that’s a part of it. It’s almost silly to respond to [Cain] because the evidence is so overwhelming,” Smiley said.

“There’s disparity in healthcare. There’s disparity economically.”

West, taking a sharper route, also challenged Cain’s understanding of the economic issues that affect black Americans, saying, “Black people have been working hard for decades. I think [Cain] needs to get off the symbolic crack pipe and acknowledge the evidence is overwhelming.”