Rather than mention Dyson by name or reference what he wrote in his story in The New Republic, “The Ghost of Cornel West,” West used issues affecting African Americans and the poor to drive his point home via Facebook.
“Character assassination is the refuge of those who hide and conceal these issues in order to rationalize their own allegiance to the status quo,” West posted Thursday (April 23) as he indirectly addressed Dyson’s comments, particularly the one of West claiming to be a “prophet.” “I am neither a saint nor prophet, but I am a Jesus-loving free Black man in a great tradition who intends to be faithful unto death in telling the truth and bearing witness to justice.”
In his story and in an interview with The Root, which both surfaced last weekend, Dyson claimed West’s personal attacks on President Barack Obama and activists like himself who defended the commander-in-chief contributed to the end his 35-year friendship with West.
Although folks wondered about West’s response, Dyson felt that a reply was unlikely (“He doesn’t write.”) in light of West’s penchant for not putting his thoughts in written form.
Nevertheless, Cornel West has spoken. Scroll below to read his Facebook post in its entirety:
The escalating deaths and sufferings in Black and poor America and the marvelous new militancy in our Ferguson moment should compel us to focus on what really matters: The life and death issues of police murders, poverty, mass incarceration, drones, TPP (unjust trade policies), vast surveillance, decrepit schools, unemployment, Wall Street power, Israeli occupation of Palestinians, Dalit resistance in India, and ecological catastrophe.
Character assassination is the refuge of those who hide and conceal these issues in order to rationalize their own allegiance to the status quo. I am neither a saint nor prophet, but I am a Jesus-loving free Black man in a Great Tradition who intends to be faithful unto death in telling the truth and bearing witness to justice. I am not beholden to any administration, political party, TV channel or financial sponsor because loving suffering and struggling peoples is my point of reference. Deep integrity must trump cheap popularity. Nothing will stop or distract my work and witness, even as I learn from others and try not to hurt others.
But to pursue truth and justice is to live dangerously. In the spirit of John Coltrane’s LOVE SUPREME, let us focus on what really matters: the issues, policies, and realities that affect precious everyday people catching hell and how we can resist the lies and crimes of the status quo!