*The often controversial and outspoken Cornel West is back at sippin’ tea and serving shade to melenated folks who remain silent on racial bias and police brutality, and especially those who refuse to criticize President Obama for not being radical enough on race and poverty.
West’s latest target is Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. Last week, Cornel slammed Coates in a post on his Facebook page, ripping him as “a mere darling of White and Black Neo-liberals, paralyzed by their Obama worship and hence a distraction from the necessary courage and vision we need in our catastrophic times.”
West also said “Coates’s fear-driven self-absorption leads to individual escape and flight to safety – he is cowardly silent on the marvelous new militancy in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Oakland, Cleveland and other places.”
Coates has not responded West’s remarks, though it triggered a frenzy in social media, with many users accusing West of petty jealousy. Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University who wrote scathing takedown of Cornel in the April issue of The New Republic, described West’s Facebook post as an “acrimonious dirge,” a “bitter, nasty, sorrowful blue note,” and “despotically and willfully intolerant of the gifts and talents of those who may potentially eclipse him.”
Read West’s full passionate statement below. Do you agree that he is “jealous and petty” or are his arguments and assessments often valid?
Cornel West’s Facebook post about Ta-Nehisi Coates:
Dr. Cornel West
July 16 at 10:53am · Edited ·
In Defense of James Baldwin – Why Toni Morrison (a literary genius) is Wrong about Ta-Nehisi Coates. Baldwin was a great writer of profound courage who spoke truth to power. Coates is a clever wordsmith with journalistic talent who avoids any critique of the Black president in power. Baldwin’s painful self-examination led to collective action and a focus on social movements. He reveled in the examples of Medgar, Martin, Malcolm, Fannie Lou Hamer and Angela Davis. Coates’s fear-driven self-absorption leads to individual escape and flight to safety – he is cowardly silent on the marvelous new militancy in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Oakland, Cleveland and other places.
Coates can grow and mature, but without an analysis of capitalist wealth inequality, gender domination, homophobic degradation, Imperial occupation (all concrete forms of plunder) and collective fight back (not just personal struggle) Coates will remain a mere darling of White and Black Neo-liberals, paralyzed by their Obama worship and hence a distraction from the necessary courage and vision we need in our catastrophic times.
How I wish the prophetic work of serious intellectuals like Robin DG Kelley, Imani Perry, Gerald Horne, Eddie Glaude commanded the attention the corporate media gives Coates. But in our age of superficial spectacle, even the great Morrison is seduced by the linguistic glitz and political silences of Coates as we all hunger for the literary genius and political engagement of Baldwin. As in jazz, we must teach our youth that immature imitation is suicide and premature elevation is death. Brother Coates continue to lift your gifted voice to your precious son and all of us, just beware of the white noise and become connected to the people’s movements!