His critique is and has always been…legitimate. You cannot argue with his point of view…
Listen to Harry Belafonte’s critique of President Obama and the lack of an earnest effort to help the poor and ravaged ethnic communities…
Is he a “hater” too?? Is he jealous of the President?
The Belafonte interview starts at 43:55…
Cornel West’s policy critiques of this President should not be ignored. While his phrasing and word-smithing may need some work, the issues he discusses mirror my own…and I’m certainly happy he is lending his voice to it. Professor West is not lessening Obama’s blackness. But he is calling into question what a president who is supposed to be more attuned to Black issues is doing (or not doing) for that community. As Wilmer Leon, so eloquently says in this video clip, if AIPAC is a constituency that the President must address (peace with Palestine), and Latino’s are a constituency that must be addressed (immigration & Judge Sotomayor), and Gay issues must be addressed (DADT & DOMA), and if Labor issues can be addressed, and of course the corporations and the financial systems have to be spoken too (TARP under Bush & the bailouts of the banks)….why is it so taboo to critique the President for not dealing with a constituency that voted in the upper 90 percentile for this President?? Are our issues not important enough… This is POLITICS people…
Let me know what you think of this clip:
An enlightened discussion on race. One that doesn’t get enough discussion in the dominant culture. Racism is more implicit than explicit nowadays…but it still has detrimental affects and it needs to be called out.
SN: I don’t believe that Cornel West’s recent critique of the President caled into effect the authenticity of Obama’s Blackness. That part of the critique has been greatly over blown…
To the extent that racism remains a problem in America, it isn’t because, as in the 1960s, there was a segment of the American polity that openly embraced the doctrine of white supremacy. Quite the opposite really, Americans are fully capable of both indulging in blanket generalizations in matters of race while forming relationships with members of the group they hold broad negative beliefs about. There’s nothing particularly new about this sort of cognitive dissonance–Thomas Jefferson may have loved Sally Hemmings but it didn’t stop him from owning slaves.
What this means though, is that it’s really not useful to talk about people being “racist,” in the sense of people being committed to white supremacy, but rather the the lingering cognitive dissonance that allows people to reject racism as an idea while still succumbing to prejudice, particularly in anger. No, the Tea Party is not, and never has been the KKK. But that’s really irrelevant to the question of how racism factors into if not opposition to Obama (since, as Somerby points out, any Dem president would be getting the business), but more importantly, how that opposition manifests.
The extent to which Cain and other black conservatives hold appeal to the GOP remains sadly linked to the degree to which they can exonerate Republicans from charges of racism, particularly when it comes to racially charged attacks on Democrats. Take for example, Cain’s declaration that he’s disliked because Democrats are “are doubly scared that a real black man might run against Barack Obama.” The implication here is that Obama is “not a real black man,” because, well, I have no idea, Cain’s dumb critique wasn’t as well fleshed out as that of Cornel West. But conservatives really like the idea of challenging Obama on matters of racial authenticity. As Matt Lewis wrote, “Cain — unlike President Obama (a point sure to come up if Cain gains traction) — knows what it’s like to drink from a “colored” water fountain.” Of course this really just means Cain is older than Obama but you get the point, you don’t have to be a celebrity professor at Princeton to question whether Obama is “really black.” Does Somerby believe this isn’t racist? – Adam Serwer
Reminds me of Cornel West’s latest policy critique of the President… I concur.
I support the President. I believe in Hope and Change we can believe in. I campaigned and walked city streets in 2008. And I will vote for him again in 2012. Let’s be clear… I’m not a registered Republican hiding in the cloak of conservatism or acting like I’m an independent. I support the President and my critique doesn’t come from the mindset of nullification or reflexive disagreement for any and everything the President does. They are haters… I am not. Critique does not equal haterade.
Too much of the heat coming from the Chris Hedges piece is focused on the personal rift between West and Obama and not enough on the policy critique that actually is more of a focus of the piece. This Gary Younge post discusses a point of view that is not getting the media attention that is emanating from the discussion of Cornel West’s critique of the President… Let’s talk about it…
“…the post–civil rights era concept of corporate diversity, which many black people have embraced, is central to his symbolism. Racial advancement is increasingly understood not as a process of social change but of individual promotion—the elevation of black faces to high places. Instead of equal opportunities, we have photo opportunities. “We have more black people in more visible and powerful positions,” Angela Davis told me before Obama’s nomination. “But then we have far more black people who have been pushed down to the bottom of the ladder….There’s a model of diversity as the difference that makes no difference, the change that brings about no change.” – Gary Younge
I found this interview between Sam Seder and Professor Eddie Glaude so fascinating. If you don’t do anything else please listen to this interview and note the points that Glaude makes about the difference in Cornel West’s personal feelings of deception and his very valid policy critiques of the Obama administration. I also found it worth noting that Sedar makes the case that West’s critiques mirror those of former Treasury Secretary Robert Reich but Reich doesnt get the label of “hater” and how on the right The Tea Party has the room, politically, to hold Republicans accountable to what I would consider harmful policies, but they are allowed to hold their politicians accountable and it seems that type of room is not permitted on the Left by progressives and the poor. Please hear this interview… Click the link below:
This is a very touchy area, one I’ve discussed recently as a guest of Mark Thompson on “Make It Plain,” a progressive radio show on Sirius XM. African-American callers responded by talking about their personal pain over Obama’s economic policies and wanting to push him, yet feeling compelled to defend him as America’s first black president — and not quite knowing how to do both. Every caller made clear that this is a real, visceral problem.
It’s also notable that, as always, class is still the dividing line. The most heated defense of Obama in the black online community seems to come from high-status professionals (or students studying for high-status jobs), people who see him as a peer. The people who called into Mark’s show? They’re living from paycheck to paycheck. That perspective makes a difference.
Sam Seder discussed this today with Eddie Glaude, chair of the the Center for African-American Studies and the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African-American Studies at Princeton University, and they address West’s statements. (Seder points out several times that West’s remarks sound identical to those made by Robert Reich.)
But see, white people don’t have the same type of emotional connection with a black president as black folks, and on this issue, I come from a place of privilege. I’m disgusted by the right wing racism and call it when I see it, but as a white progressive, I also feel perfectly entitled (key word “entitled”) to criticize Obama’s policies. Obviously, many black Americans don’t, and Professor Glaude pointed out that they should do the same thing we did under George Bush: Organize and push the policy to the left.
Scholar Cornel West’s scathing critique of President Obama’s liberal bona fides in a series of recent interviews has ignited a furious debate among African American bloggers and commentators.
The well-known Princeton professor and author, who has released rap albums and starred in Hollywood films, supported Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign but now calls the president a “black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.”
“I was thinking maybe he has at least some progressive populist instincts that could become more manifest after the cautious policies of being a senator,” West told Chris Hedges in an interview for the liberal political blog Truthdig.
Focusing on Obama and race, West said: “I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men . . . It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation.”
White House officials declined to respond to West’s remarks, which have sparked a hot conversation this week. And Obama aides have have been content to allow others to take up the president’s defense.
Several commentaries from African American scholars and bloggers have particularly disputed West’s take on Obama and race.
Melissa Harris-Perry, a Princeton professor of African American studies and politics, wrote a column for the Nation calling West’s comment “utter hilarity coming from Cornel West who has spent the bulk of his adulthood living in those deeply rooted, culturally rich, historically important black communities of Cambridge, MA and Princeton, NJ. . . . Harvard and Princeton are not places that are particularly noted for their liberating history for black men.”
Imani Perry (no relation), also a professor at the Princeton Center for African American Studies and a former professor of law at Rutgers, defended West on Twitter this week:
Cornel West opened the space. Period. And in my tradition we respect elders, period. Disagreement can be consistent w/that. And I can’t stand “piling on” attacks. Debate, dialogue, don’t mob!
As a student, Cornel West modeled 4 me, commitments 2 the poor and marginal AND scholarly excellence. Amazing footsteps. Required courage.
West has an impressive body of rigorous brilliant scholarly work that even many academics aren’t aware of. But he always has kept connections with regular folks outside of camera view. That’s really rare.
So…It saddens me that many ppl who attack him (or silently cosign) are the explicit beneficiaries of his advocacy and kindness. He has done so much for so many that folks don’t know about. And never asks anything in return. so, agree, disagree, whatever, but respect. – Susie Madrak
- Attacks on Cornel West Highlight Class Divide Among African Americans (crooksandliars.com)