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Pirate Smile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-17-11 02:39 PM
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Melissa Harris-Perry on Cornel West:"self-aggrandizing, victimology sermon deceptively wrapped in.."
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Edited on Tue May-17-11 02:49 PM by Pirate Smile
Cornel West v. Barack Obama

Melissa Harris-Perry

Professor Cornel West is President Obamas silenced, disregarded, disrespected moral conscience, according to Chris Hedges recent column, The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West went Ballistic. In an self-aggrandizing, victimology sermon deceptively wrapped in the discourse of prophetic witness, Professor West offers thin criticism of President Obama and stunning insight into the delicate ego of the self-appointed black leadership class that has been largely supplanted in recent years.

West begins with a bit of historical revision.
West suggests that the President discarded him without provocation after he offered the Obama for America campaign his loyal service and prayers. But anyone with a casual knowledge of this rift knows it began during the Democratic primary not after the election. It began, not with a puffed up President, but when Cornel Wests dear brother Tavis Smiley threw a public tantrum because Senator Obama refused to attend Smiley's annual State of Black America. Smiley repeatedly suggested that his forum was the necessary black vetting space for the Democratic nominees. He needed to ask Obama and Clinton tough questions so that black America could get the answers it needed. But black America was doing a fine job making up its own mind in the primaries and didnt need Smileys blessing to determine their own electoral preferences. Indeed, when Smiley got a chance to hold candidate Clinton accountable he spent more time fawning over her than probing about her symbolic or substantive policy stances that impacted black communities. Fiercely loyal to his friend, Professor West chose sides and began to undermine candidate Obama is small and large ways. Candidate Obama ceased calling West back because he was in the middle of a fierce campaign and Wests loyalties were, at best, divided. I suspect candidate Obama did not trust his dear brother to keep the campaign secrets and strategies. I also suspect he was not inaccurate in his hesitancy.

Furthermore, Wests sense of betrayal is clearly more personal than ideological. In Hedges' article West claims that a true progressive would always put love of the people above concern with the elite and privileged. Then he complains, I couldnt get a ticket to the inauguration with my mother and my brother. I said this is very strange. We drive into the hotel and the guy who picks up my bags from the hotel has a ticket to the inauguration... We had to watch the thing in the hotel.Let me get this straight--the tenured, Princeton professor who collects five figures for public lectures was relegated to a hotel television while an anonymous hotel worker got tickets to the inauguration! What kind of crazy, mixed up class politics are these? Wait a minute

As tenured professors Cornel West and I are not meaningfully accountable, no matter what our love, commitment, or self-delusions tell us. President Obama, as an elected official, can, in fact, be voted out of his job. We cant. That is a difference that matters. As West derides the Presidents economic policies he remains silent on his friend Tavis Smileys relationship with Wal-Mart, Wells Fargo, and McDonald's--all corporations whose invasive and predatory actions in poor and black communities have been the target of progressive organizing for decades. I have never heard him take Tavis Smiley to task for helping convince black Americans to enter into predatory mortgages. Ive never heard him ask whether Tavis' decision to publish R. Kelleys memoirs might be a less than progressive decision. He doesnt hold Tavis accountable because Tavis is his friend and he is loyal. I respect that, but I also know that if he were in elected office the could not get off so easily. Opposition research would point out the hypocrisy in his public positions in a way that would make him vulnerable come election time. As a media personality and professor he is safely ensconced in a system that can never vote him off the island. I think an honest critique of Obama has to begin by acknowledging his own privileges.

edit to add a couple more because...why not:

Moore Award Nominee

"I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men. Its understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, hes always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. ... He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want, - Cornell West.

The classic West bullshit: "my dear brother". I am sorry to say I put West in the same category as Gingrich as intellectuals whose reputation as such I could never find any serious evidence for. And I have really tried hard to understand West, charming and eccentric as he is.

No save get, as the computers used to say.

Cornel West Uncovers The Disturbing Truth

You are familiar with the hypothesis that Barack Obama genetically inherited a disposition toward radical Kenyan anti-colonial thinking through his absent father. Now comes Cornel West, inevitably expressing his bitter disappointment with Obama's corporate sellout ways, explicating the opposite hypothesis:

I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men, West says. Its understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, hes 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. When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening. And thats true for a white brother. When you get a white brother who meets a free, independent black man, they got to be mature to really embrace fully what the brother is saying to them. Its a tension, given the history. It can be overcome. Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.

He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want, he says.

He's a secret believer in Kansan pro-colonialism!

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  -Melissa Harris-Perry on Cornel West:"self-aggrandizing, victimology sermon deceptively wrapped in.." Pirate Smile  May-17-11 02:39 PM   #0 
  - Huge k and r.  Kdillard   May-17-11 02:42 PM   #1 
  - Hi. I'm replying here because this is a really good letter to Sully I wanted to post in this thread.  Pirate Smile   May-17-11 06:54 PM   #32 
     - Thank you. Great read that hit the nail on the head.  Kdillard   May-17-11 08:38 PM   #47 
     - Ooo, excellent post, along with the OP...glad you're posting it as a stand-alone.  BlancheSplanchnik   May-18-11 08:49 AM   #91 
     - This whole TCK thing  nonperson   May-18-11 01:47 PM   #148 
        - Well, that's not the argument West is making.  Kind of Blue   May-18-11 05:45 PM   #167 
  - Two increasingly irrelevant assholes who no longer speak for my community.  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 02:44 PM   #2 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-17-11 02:54 PM   #3 
  - Deal in hyperbole much? Where did I say "only Obama". Reading  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 03:20 PM   #11 
  - nope, but Obama is more popular among most black people than  JI7   May-17-11 04:05 PM   #19 
  - Agreed  EC   May-17-11 03:00 PM   #6 
  - Yeap, few if ANY listen to Tavis because of his tantrum...he can't even point to anything else being  uponit7771   May-17-11 03:02 PM   #8 
  - Amen !  jaysunb   May-17-11 06:26 PM   #30 
  - This whole Cornell vs. Obama BS has been illuminating  Number23   May-17-11 07:26 PM   #35 
     - "he has lost his damn mind".  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 09:45 PM   #52 
     - Melissa Harris-Perry called him a birther because of that (on Ed's Show). She said he is essentially  Pirate Smile   May-17-11 10:09 PM   #54 
     - I'll have to TIVO the replay, unless someone posts a video here.  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 10:43 PM   #65 
     - It's strange to me, too, because Cornel is friends with Michael Lerner.  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:24 PM   #59 
     - Ditto! Whenever I hear Tavis' voice these days, I can't reach the tuner  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 10:39 PM   #64 
        - Next time you can stomach to hear him, count the number of times he says "right quick"  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-18-11 09:32 PM   #173 
     - "Has he always sounded so anti-semitic?"  Number23   May-17-11 11:00 PM   #66 
     - BRILLIANT!! You are speaking for me, here, too! This is exactly how I feel...  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:22 PM   #58 
     - His self importance go the best of him. Too bad for West, he is the loser in this broohaha.  Pisces   May-18-11 11:35 AM   #137 
     - Man, you hit the nail on head no doubt. I'm thrown back, it's like it's a movie or something. The...  uponit7771   May-18-11 12:12 PM   #140 
  - K & R!  young but wise   May-17-11 02:55 PM   #4 
  - Well done.  jaxx   May-17-11 02:56 PM   #5 
  - "....Furthermore, Wests sense of betrayal is clearly more personal than ideological..."  uponit7771   May-17-11 03:00 PM   #7 
  - Oh, SNAP!  frazzled   May-17-11 03:08 PM   #9 
  - What's odd is that they threw their support behind Hillary Clinton after that  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:26 PM   #60 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-17-11 03:18 PM   #10 
  - Prof West can be entertaining, but Melissa's argument is solid and trustworthy.  AtomicKitten   May-17-11 03:23 PM   #12 
  - I said it in that other thread and will repeat.  OKNancy   May-17-11 03:41 PM   #13 
  - The comparison of him to Gingrich as "intellectuals" is particularly cutting.  Pirate Smile   May-17-11 04:22 PM   #22 
  - "He is just as bad as Dinesh D'Souza."  liberation   May-18-11 10:29 AM   #112 
  - Good lord that was satisfying.  Sheepshank   May-17-11 03:43 PM   #14 
  - LOL Indeed!  Solomon   May-18-11 09:50 AM   #98 
  - K&R...  These Eyes   May-17-11 03:44 PM   #15 
  - agreed.. don't understand why people put him on a pedestal.. he really is just vindictive, not  BREMPRO   May-18-11 10:49 AM   #120 
  - Absolutely Correct!  Kind of Blue   May-17-11 03:47 PM   #16 
  - K&R! THANK YOU, Melissa Harris-Perry! n/t  jenmito   May-17-11 03:48 PM   #17 
  - ha! sounds like a huge arsehole.  Whisp   May-17-11 03:53 PM   #18 
  - "and do it East as well".  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 04:22 PM   #23 
  - Methinks Cornel West is threatened by a charismatic man of action  CakeGrrl   May-17-11 04:05 PM   #20 
  - Obama makes him and Smiley irrelevant relics of the past.  Solomon   May-18-11 09:53 AM   #100 
  - and she's his colleague  tishaLA   May-17-11 04:09 PM   #21 
  - For those who are thoughtful.....they already understood what Melissa Harris-Perry is writing about  FrenchieCat   May-17-11 04:34 PM   #24 
  - Thanks, Frenchie.  elleng   May-17-11 04:53 PM   #26 
  - Well said !  jaysunb   May-17-11 06:29 PM   #31 
  - LOVE HER!  elleng   May-17-11 04:51 PM   #25 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-17-11 05:07 PM   #27 
  - Outside places like DU, West is a jealous joke. And Perry's article is spot on.  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 05:43 PM   #28 
     - EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!! n/t  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:28 PM   #61 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-17-11 05:57 PM   #29 
  - *bust out laughing*  Hutzpa   May-17-11 07:09 PM   #33 
  - Between Tavis and Cornel.. who needs enemies..  Peacetrain   May-17-11 07:21 PM   #34 
  - Corny's mortifying, self-pitying BS got over 300 recs here  Number23   May-17-11 07:29 PM   #36 
  - Funny dat....there are more Black Duers responding to this thread (and we are few here)  FrenchieCat   May-17-11 07:51 PM   #38 
  - Folks here have always preferred to talk "at" us  Number23   May-17-11 08:02 PM   #42 
  - Hear! Hear!  Karenina   May-18-11 01:07 PM   #145 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-18-11 06:26 PM   #168 
  - Every third post I make on this topic is being deleted  Number23   May-19-11 06:51 PM   #177 
  - Exactly, and at FDL recently too. Everyone wants to tell African Americans how they should feel  stevenleser   May-21-11 02:51 PM   #180 
  - I don't believe that it's merely a coincidence, either. Sadly!!! n/t  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:29 PM   #62 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-17-11 11:55 PM   #70 
  - Wow, Cornel hit a nerve.  woo me with science   May-17-11 07:47 PM   #37 
  - Nerve called.....  FrenchieCat   May-17-11 07:52 PM   #39 
  - ...  woo me with science   May-17-11 07:54 PM   #41 
  - DAMN you hit the nail on the head. It is exactly that -- a 1970 victim mentality  Number23   May-17-11 08:09 PM   #44 
     - The irony is that West is doing the exact thing that he claims Obama is doing.  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:31 PM   #63 
        - Yep. Perry cuts him to the nitty when she calls him out on being pissed that  Number23   May-17-11 11:08 PM   #67 
  - It wasn't Cornel that struck a nerve, it's the people here who  Solomon   May-18-11 09:58 AM   #101 
     - "because he's black." Really?  woo me with science   May-18-11 10:12 AM   #106 
  - More good reads  ProSense   May-17-11 07:54 PM   #40 
  - Thanks for posting they are  FrenchieCat   May-17-11 08:02 PM   #43 
  - Thanks!  Pirate Smile   May-17-11 08:18 PM   #46 
  - This made me cry as I thought about the hell my nieces & nephews went through....  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 10:11 PM   #56 
  - Sometimes I think it's what the president is mixed with -  Kind of Blue   May-18-11 12:32 AM   #72 
  - and not just if you're "mixed"  CitizenLeft   May-18-11 01:42 PM   #147 
     - Fantastic post.  Number23   May-18-11 06:35 PM   #169 
        - thank you, #23  CitizenLeft   May-18-11 09:17 PM   #172 
  - THANK you, my sister!!!  EffieBlack   May-17-11 08:15 PM   #45 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-17-11 08:57 PM   #48 
  - Obviously,  ProSense   May-17-11 09:29 PM   #49 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-18-11 08:06 AM   #84 
     - Hmmm?  ProSense   May-18-11 08:17 AM   #85 
        - Deleted message  Name removed   May-18-11 08:38 AM   #90 
           - Really?  ProSense   May-18-11 09:02 AM   #93 
  - someone sounds a smidge upset!  dionysus   May-17-11 09:40 PM   #50 
  - Make room, I want to dogpile on too!  here_is_to_hope   May-18-11 11:01 AM   #126 
  - the "messiah" shit is all played out. i'll give you a retro point for "nattering", but overall it's  dionysus   May-17-11 09:43 PM   #51 
  - Anyone who uses the term "Obama Messiah Meme"  CakeGrrl   May-17-11 11:42 PM   #69 
  - Are you shitting me?! Did you read West's quote on "fear of the free Black man"  vaberella   May-18-11 02:46 AM   #76 
  - The reason why people are tearing into "West's semi-racialized views" is to marginalize  leveymg   May-18-11 08:22 AM   #86 
     - Are you kidding me?  vaberella   May-18-11 08:36 AM   #88 
     - He's using the term DNA as a metaphor for black identity, which is traditionally that of  leveymg   May-18-11 08:52 AM   #92 
        - lol  NatBurner   May-18-11 09:24 AM   #94 
        - I don't presume to fully understand West. Perhaps, you can explain his statement better?  leveymg   May-18-11 10:40 AM   #117 
        - I think Melissa Harris-Perry touched on it very well---it's unhinged nonsense. n/t  vaberella   May-18-11 11:10 AM   #129 
        - right. u had me at messiah, btw  NatBurner   May-18-11 12:10 PM   #139 
           - i love you, man  Number23   May-18-11 06:39 PM   #170 
              - good to see u back  NatBurner   May-19-11 06:58 AM   #174 
        - Exactly...n/t  vaberella   May-18-11 11:10 AM   #128 
        - Keyboard please....  Tarheel_Dem   May-21-11 01:08 PM   #179 
        - FYI---I'm Black....and no.  vaberella   May-18-11 11:18 AM   #130 
           - West is saying that Obama, the politician, has betrayed  leveymg   May-18-11 12:58 PM   #143 
           - Stop digging,already.  Swede   May-18-11 02:23 PM   #150 
              - Fine.  leveymg   May-18-11 02:50 PM   #153 
           - you're both black enough and white enough for me Vab! great post!  dionysus   May-19-11 07:57 PM   #178 
     - Oh  ProSense   May-18-11 08:38 AM   #89 
     - "the spell of Obama worship" wow is that line so bitter and stale by now....  dionysus   May-19-11 01:43 PM   #176 
  - Are you really one to lecture about political discourse?  MadBadger   May-18-11 07:23 AM   #83 
  - An academic who needs to bump up with reality a bit more nt  flamingdem   May-17-11 09:52 PM   #53 
  - Does my "dear brother West" explain why Obama married a BLACK woman? n/t  jenmito   May-17-11 10:10 PM   #55 
  - Mainly it's seen as a way for Obama to prove himself as one of the Black community.  vaberella   May-18-11 03:06 AM   #80 
  - She's absolutely amazing!! She made West look like a fucking fool.  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:17 PM   #57 
  - Exactly.  disndat   May-18-11 09:52 AM   #99 
  - I never thought I would have to unrec an article from the brilliant Melissa Harris-Perry  Cali_Democrat   May-17-11 11:14 PM   #68 
  - You see this as a vile attack...  BklnDem75   May-18-11 12:07 AM   #71 
  - I thought West's criticism of Obama was a bit over the top  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 02:37 AM   #75 
     - "fear of the free Black man" was just a "bit over the top" fo r you.  vaberella   May-18-11 02:56 AM   #77 
     - Are you serious?  BklnDem75   May-18-11 07:22 AM   #82 
        - That's how some roll.  vaberella   May-18-11 08:33 AM   #87 
        - I am serious  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 10:23 AM   #108 
           - Uh huh...and nothing good came from Cornell West's statement, but you defended that one. n/t  vaberella   May-18-11 11:19 AM   #131 
           - I thought some of West's criticism of Obama was over the top  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 11:50 AM   #138 
              - What ever good point should have been lost when he suggested Obama's DNA affected his policies.  vaberella   May-18-11 03:11 PM   #156 
                 - Perhaps I should have been more specific  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 03:30 PM   #158 
                    - I think I should be more clear.  vaberella   May-18-11 03:48 PM   #161 
                       - " Any other point he may have made within that context or argument...was negated"  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 04:03 PM   #163 
           - That's a bit selective  BklnDem75   May-18-11 02:37 PM   #151 
              - I view West as a brilliant man  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 03:36 PM   #159 
                 - So he's above being taken to task? Why?  BklnDem75   May-18-11 03:43 PM   #160 
                    - Nobody is above being taken to task  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 04:00 PM   #162 
                       - But, apparently, not his  BklnDem75   May-18-11 04:06 PM   #164 
                          - Parts of Cornel's analysis definitely had some vitriol  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 04:09 PM   #165 
  - I don't understand how you could see this as a vile attack. n/t  quiller4   May-18-11 01:42 AM   #74 
  - That's how some people roll. n/t  vaberella   May-18-11 03:02 AM   #79 
     - Especially that one. Obama could walk on water...  Solomon   May-18-11 10:03 AM   #103 
  - Yes, thank you. Same here.  Myrina   May-18-11 10:40 AM   #116 
  - I adore Melissa Harris-Perry  Mojorabbit   May-18-11 12:52 AM   #73 
  - Harris-Perry hit this out of the park. He talks about "fear of free Black man"  vaberella   May-18-11 03:02 AM   #78 
  - West does nothing but shovel shit that's covered with a flowery verbal coating  VeryConfused   May-18-11 07:11 AM   #81 
  - It is sad to see smart generally liberal intellectuals  blackspade   May-18-11 09:24 AM   #95 
  - "Fawning praise."  namahage   May-18-11 12:38 PM   #141 
  - Please point out her 'fawning praise'  BklnDem75   May-18-11 02:44 PM   #152 
  - Melissa Harris -Perry  latinaliberal   May-18-11 09:25 AM   #96 
  - Unrec  fascisthunter   May-18-11 09:33 AM   #97 
  - DITTO  Jim_Shorts   May-18-11 10:06 AM   #104 
  - Hmmm?  ProSense   May-18-11 10:07 AM   #105 
  - "Until dems can come to grips with critics like West this party is doomed"  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 10:20 AM   #107 
  - "They are dooming the party and Obama's reelection chances and they don't even realize it."  ProSense   May-18-11 10:24 AM   #109 
  - So your stance on the matter is that it was a simple critique?  BklnDem75   May-18-11 02:54 PM   #154 
     - no, but at this point I could care less if any of it was personal  fascisthunter   May-18-11 04:34 PM   #166 
        - He should've stuck with the critique  BklnDem75   May-18-11 09:08 PM   #171 
           - West's own fault. Indeed.  Karenina   May-19-11 11:41 AM   #175 
  - Cornel West is certainly entitled to his own opinion but....  FarLeftFist   May-18-11 09:59 AM   #102 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-18-11 10:27 AM   #110 
  - Yes, because  ProSense   May-18-11 10:32 AM   #113 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-18-11 10:47 AM   #119 
     - Wait  ProSense   May-18-11 10:55 AM   #123 
        - Yes- when it comes to final action, the Kochs get the tax breaks and the wars keep getting funded...  Dr Fate   May-18-11 10:59 AM   #125 
           - OK, but  ProSense   May-18-11 11:05 AM   #127 
              - You want a list of DEMS who voted to give the Koch Brothers tax breaks over the years?  Dr Fate   May-18-11 11:20 AM   #132 
                 - No,  ProSense   May-18-11 11:27 AM   #136 
                    - Oh- you want me to tell you what centrists are *saying* they agree with this time.  Dr Fate   May-18-11 12:55 PM   #142 
  - In fact,  ProSense   May-18-11 10:41 AM   #118 
     - AWESOME.We ARE meeting all those goals in post #110 then. Liberals are fools to say otherwise. n/t  Dr Fate   May-18-11 10:50 AM   #121 
        - It's pretty obvious  ProSense   May-18-11 10:57 AM   #124 
  - Dear Brother West  otohara   May-18-11 10:28 AM   #111 
  - Deleted sub-thread  Name removed   May-18-11 10:34 AM   #114 
  - I've read racist tripe before. West's rant qualifies.  LiberalAndProud   May-18-11 10:35 AM   #115 
  - Yup, yup. n/t  vaberella   May-18-11 11:22 AM   #135 
  - Melissa Harris-Perry is simply auditioning for the role  rjwin   May-18-11 10:51 AM   #122 
  - Right...that's why so many people on this thread and board support the argument.  vaberella   May-18-11 11:21 AM   #133 
  - "her only concern the collection plate" -- What horseshit!  AtomicKitten   May-18-11 11:22 AM   #134 
  - LOL! Is that all you have?  BklnDem75   May-18-11 03:16 PM   #157 
  - delete  polichick   May-18-11 12:58 PM   #144 
  - "Deracination," "white man with black skin,"  Bette Noir   May-18-11 01:27 PM   #146 
  - Don't forget..."fear of the free Black man" Because Obama is not a Black Man or Free. n/t  vaberella   May-18-11 03:02 PM   #155 
  - Ugh.  abelenkpe   May-18-11 02:13 PM   #149 

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