Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dr West's Biblical Politics

Let me begin by stating, I LOVE Dr Cornel West. I appreciate his unwavering love I respect him for keeping his Afro. For supporting hip hip. For being a brilliant, thoughtful, and brave man (publicly saying what's unpopular because you believe that truth trumps politics, is the height of bravery). With that said, Dr. West...I've got a bone to pick with you!

First, let me give your statement verbatim. You said "When I got the news that my dear brother Barack Obama, President Obama, was going to put his precious hand on Martin Luther King Jr.’s bible I got upset. And I got upset because, you don’t play with Martin Luther King Jr. and you don’t play with his people. By his people what I mean is people in good conscience, fundamentally committed to piece and truth and justice." You go on to say "All the blood sweat, and tears that went into producing a Martin Luther King Jr. generated a brother of such high decency and dignity that you don’t use his prophetic fire as just a moment in presidential pageantry without understanding the challenge that he presents to all of those in power no matter what color they are, no matter what color they are. So the righteous indignation of a Martin Luther King Jr. becomes a moment in political calculation and that makes my blood boil.” I'll point out that this is your very passionate, and extremely well educated opinion. I don't mean in any way to say that your opinion isn't valid, or that you have no right to state it. I do take issue with the inherent hypocrisy. To criticize the use of MLK's bible for political expediency while using your affinity for Dr King to further your own politics is blatantly and transparently hypocritical. The idea that Dr King's "people" would somehow not include his own family (MLKIII was present and presented the bible) is questionable.

You are correct in being offended by the atrocities committed by the administration in the area of human rights. Obama isn't flawless and I appreciate your usual critiques, especially rare coming from anyone of our hue. Black and brown suffering hasn't decreased under this president. The suggestion that it should have is seeped in a different type of delusion...that Black people in power will behave differently than anyone else. No, that's not where you went astray. Dr King as a unifying figure...when the very book you're concerned about (the bible) was written about a figure who most Christians would argue did way more for peace than MLK ever could. How could you be MORE upset about WHOSE bible it was? Your words would ring truer if you were offended by the use of the bible, period. What you've done is extend the apparent pissing match that you & Tavis Smiley have engaged in for years with Obama. Speaking of hypocrisy, while the two of you complain about Obama's lack of an agenda for poor people, has Tavis spoken openly about the millions he received from Wells Fargo as a spokesman for their predatory mortgage lending arm? Practices which have been universally denounced as unfair and causing further damage to the very people whose agenda he allegedly champions?

Again, I have loads of respect for Dr West. But, this issue seems less about right/wrong and more about grandstanding. This issue seems more about your ongoing "Obama won't acknowledge me" campaign than anything Dr King stood for. Because, the bible (and other holy books) have been used for centuries to justify the marginalization of black, brown, AND white people. Doesn't THAT make your blood boil?


  1. Great insight as usual

  2. Look, I love Dr. King. He was able to see through so much bullshit, and people killed him for the talent. Real. I generally like Cornell West too. He brings something interesting to a conversation, constantly. Sadly, I keep coming back to a line from, 'New Jack City', where Judd Nelson says, "It's not a black thing, or a white thing. It's a death thing." He was talking about crack, but I'm not. Still, his message sort of took hold. I think it has more to do with Dr. King's message. People should treat people decently. Is that too much to ask? I mean, is it?

  3. As usual, spot on.

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