Cornel West “Liberal Self Righteousness in the Name Of Black People Being Offended!”

by February 6, 2019

How Do You Atone for Past Racism?

COOPER: “I certainly hear what you’re saying. We talked about this before, about expanding the definition of white supremacy. It’s easy to focus on a photo and be blind to other inequalities. In terms of, you know, this is obviously, as you say, this is one man. There are plenty of people who have done stupid things, inappropriate things, racist things, horrible things in their past, in high school, in college. You know, this in medical school. What is the process for overcoming that? What is the process for not having your life be damned by something you did, some racist act that you did or that you said? How do you atone for that?”

In the process of criticizing West, Black America has chosen to ostracize the premier philosophical mind of our time; such an unwarranted decision is unwise and unnecessary. There is no doubt that West’s prophetic voice and criticism of multiple inequalities is a crucial portion of how Black America progresses toward liberation. In many ways it is ironic that so many of our people do not possess the wisdom to recognize why a brilliant mind like West must not be ignored under any circumstances. (

West offers excellent insights on the experiences of Americans of color but also on what it means to be an American in general. Obviously, Dr. West is largely critical of America, and with good reason. He is not afraid to acknowledge the systemic racism in America. He writes eloquently and harshly about America’s history of race-based injustice, but he is not a cynic or a nihilist.

We highly recommend Dr. West’s book “Race Matters”. In this classic book, he takes on structural racism in America and the pervasive dimensions of the bigotry that is directed not just at black Americans but at all subaltern groups. The book will anger everyone who thinks and cares about people. As well it should; the truth about discrimination and oppression in American society should anger everyone. Dr. West details the problems of race, but Dr. West keeps the faith and never loses an optimism that we can overcome our past and our predilection for misunderstanding and hostility. Cornel West on race is the redemptive Cornel West on justice and justice is what love looks like. He does not pretend that hope is easy, as he discusses in Hope On a Tightrope.

Further reading and viewing:

A 2014 interview on Bill Moyers: Cornel West on America’s “Historical Amnesia”

Cornel West on David Letterman, one of the few times the corporate media took notice of Dr.West

A 2016 interview: Cornel West: Justice and Accountability are Necessary to End Tension over Killings by Police

Great video of Dr. West at his best: Dr. Cornel West on Hope, Love, and Justice

And finally, this article inspired by Dr. West’s theme of love as justice.

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