Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Those Who Attack Cornel West for Speaking Up Usually Can’t Defend Their Point of View.

December 24, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

(ThyBlackMan.com) Some are up in arms over Cornel West and his most recent critique of the Obama Administration.  During the Smiley and West radio show this week, Professor West asked if Barack Obama and other Washington politicians would be so sensitive to gun violence were it not for the fact that the Sandy Hook kids were white.  Here is part of what Dr. West had to say:

“They’re either cowards or hypocrites when it comes to this issue of our precious children. By cowards I mean they care but they don’t have the courage to move forward and act. Or they’re hypocrites which is to say they say they care but deep down they don’t care especially when it relates to South Side of Chicago, Harlem, children across the board…”

Of course Dr. Cornel West’s remarks were met with the standard cries of “hater” that somehow became a significant part of black political discourse over the last four years.  Personally, I think the term should be banned for anyone who expects to be taken seriously.   Using the term “hater” to describecornelwest-obama every person who critiques your hero effectively turns you into nothing but a simple-minded cheerleader who follows the crowd.  We need more leaders in the black community, not followers.

The ironic thing about those who attack Cornel West for asking our politicians to do more for black people is that the attacks are reflective of the collective self-esteem problem that many of us have had since slavery.   Somehow, we were convinced long ago that when a black man gets “a big important job” in the White House, he is somehow too important to be concerned with petty issues like the deaths of black babies, families who can’t afford to eat or millions of black people unjustly trapped in the criminal justice system.  I beg to differ.

The challenge to those who want to call Cornel West a hater is simple:  If he’s wrong, then PROVE IT.  Show documented evidence that the Obama Administration would be or has been equally responsive to the deaths of black children as they are to white ones.  For every child who died at Sandy Hook last week, there are at least 10 children who’ve died on the south side of Chicago over the past three years. So, anyone who believes that there has been parity in the administrative response to gun violence is as delusional as any card-carrying member of the KKK.

Someone recently asked me, “Where were Cornel West and his criticism during the Clinton and Bush administrations?”   I responded, “He was right where he is right now.  But people expected him to change his tune because there was a black man in office.  Also, people didn’t start listening until we got a president that everyone felt black people should unanimously support without ever questioning his leadership.”

Dr. Cornel West has been incredibly consistent when advocating for poor, black and brown people in America.  What also remain consistent are the forces of oppression coming from those who don’t feel that the preservation of black life is worth any significant investment of political capital.   Had Barack Obama been president during the Civil War, the slaves would never have been freed, largely because Abraham Lincoln had to take serious political risks in order to secure passage of the 13th amendment.  I have yet to see any example in which the Obama Administration has taken an equivalent risk on behalf of black people (he is even afraid to grant commutation to drug offenders sentenced under laws that have expired).  In that regard, Cornel could be right about the president’s cowardice, at least when it comes to people who look like his wife, Michelle.

Attacking Cornel West, calling him a hater, and saying that you want him quiet is the easy way out.  The natural corollary for such an attack on Cornel West is to somehow presume that the beloved figures in the Obama Administration are doing all they can to support the black community.  To date, the evidence is simply lacking.

If you want to shut down the critique of Cornel West, then PROVE-HIM-WRONG.  If you can’t do that, then you don’t have a leg to stand on.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit http://BoyceWatkins.com.



13 Responses to “Those Who Attack Cornel West for Speaking Up Usually Can’t Defend Their Point of View.”
  1. natalie says:

    well stated world girl!

  2. worldgirl says:

    Bravo to Seattle Guy and those 2 last posters talking about get a haircut is indicative of the kind of silliness and inability to express a viewpoint that is rampant in our community. No intelligent rebuttal to anything, just some grade school insults, like this is an episode of Def Comedy Jam.

    West and Smiley criticized Bush for years. If you didn’t know, you weren’t paying attention. Stop deifying Obama! He’s an elected official, not God!

  3. ladyday61 says:

    Why didn’t we hear som much from Tavis, Watkins, West during the Bush years. They wait for this President to come out with their commentary. They’re just like old king fish Cain. Get a haircut, get a job, get a life.

  4. ladyday61 says:

    West and Smily just need to get out the closet and enjoy life.

  5. JR says:

    As far as I’m concerned, I welcome Dr. West and Tavis and Dr. Watkins criticizing the president. You can’t be satisfied with the overall situation here in this country and what is happening under the watch of the 44th president…and that being said, that should give even more motivation for us to step forward against him and Congress…however, the most important thing is not being used against them…that is power.

    The black caucus can scream from North Capitol Street to Pennsylvania Avenue all they want, but without no financial backing they can’t influence anyone. This situation is like being face-to-face with a truck and you’re trying to push it out of your way…problem is you’re an ant in comparison. No matter how hard you try, the truck won’t budge and if you aren’t careful that truck’s gonna move and squash you.

    Now in reference to the last suggestion by Satchel, although there may be some movement or progress by going after city and county governments, major moves aren’t made unless you build from within. Every other ethnic group seems to get that but us…once you get that done, then you can have everything else come to you

  6. James Davis says:

    Criticism Is Helpful , But Solutions Are Better

    Criticism comes first. We all should stand and applaud our brothers and sisters when they have the courage to state the truth. This characteristic, that of telling the truth, is so rare in our society that when it is done and done well, it stills garners headlines. Truth however is always in search of a solution, because truth has to a yield, if there is to be change, to a solution. Change is what we seek not rhetoric!! It is my sincere hope and wish, having exposed the truth, we press forward in demanding solutions, not just when it comes to gun control, but the high rate of black unemployment, which is another issue this Administration refuses to face squarely. Go to http://www.sslumpsum.com The voices of deception which legitimize this Administration’s policies, when it comes to blacks, can not be drown out with criticism, but they can be drown out with solutions. You see, solutions when presented, require men and women to take a position. And when we take positions, our true nature is exposed.

  7. Dcarter910 says:

    I will outline what it takes to get things moving both in the black community and then in Washington.

    1. Outspoken black leaders like Mr. West gather like minded supporters and tour the country providing a concise and consistent message of political neglect. They MUST do this in areas of the constituents of black caucus members.

    2. This must be done, non-stop between the election period of the black caucus members.

    3. They must convince the black constituents to demand a specific set of changes from Washington that will help the community but does NOT request more welfare. Instead, policies that will help employment, schools and reduce crime.

    The black caucus members will be forced to go back to Washington with a specific set of demands or else they will lose their office. This will have the black caucus members run to the president (obama or whoever else). There will be no support, especially from this president and that will pit the black caucus against the presidential office. The black caucus will have to return to their constituents and inform them of the lack of presidential support. This will anger black voters and promote changes in the black community in how they view the President, their congressional representatives and the lack of response for their reasonable demands (as outlined by the black leaders).

    Right now they dont know what to ask for, and who should be held accountable. It sounds like common sense but most dont even understand how government works, poor blacks and whites alike.

    (Black leaders like Mr. Smiley,Mr. West should)
    Help them know what they should be asking for (be very specific), outline who is not responding to their demands (senators/representatives), and allow the pressure from the bottom to force measurable change to the top. Make the representatives and senators fight the president for change and when they have to fight the president for change they themselves will be the most outspoken critics which will lend much more credibility to the systematic exploitation of minorities.

  8. SeattleGuy says:

    That was only one side bar sorry. The first article re: DHS and WH collaborating with each other to crush the occupy movement was the sidebar. I put it there b/c I couldn’t find an email address for Dr. Watkins and I’d like him to speak on the topic. I know they read the comments section. That’s all I was trying to do there.
    As stated, I don’t agree with Tavis’, Cornel, or others who aren’t on MSM outlets on all topics. My point is that I do agree with their effort to not be afraid to disagree with the President or Valerie Jarrett, Holder or Susan Rice etc. Mr. Watkins is right to point out that some of them have flip flopped. If the flip flopping is genuine – I don’t have a problem with that so long as that is due to changing for the better and not political.. Sometimes I feel like it’s a journey in finding truths.

    Me personally, I was one of those people. I didn’t even pay attention to alot of political issues until about 2/3 years ago just after Obama was elected and I’ll be the first to admit I had blind expectations. But with that being said, I’m more upset at those who try to crush fair “black on black” critiquing of the president because that only leads to turning a blind eye to things that need to be addressed.

    Ground up movement – you hit on a interesting point. It is about ground roots movements. The last few months I’ve tried to do somethings here locally. (although I like my distractions from time to time), the challenge is to get people to awaken, become motivated and participate.

  9. Satchel says:

    @ SeattleGuy

    I like the fact that you have comment that are well founded and stated with intelligence. However, including 4 Side Bars distract from the discussion and would be welcomed by me in an article on any one of your Side Bars subjects.

    I cannot join you in applauding West and Smiley, but MSN will follow its agenda no matter what Dr.West, Smiley or Dr. Watkins may say. I believe one should pick his battles wisely and engage where there is a chance to win. No one could call out “Hater” if a Doctor of Economics (Watkins), Doctor of Black History (West)and a Media Star (Smiley), would use their education and talents to formulate a plan and apply pressure from the bottom (Neighborhoods, City councils, Congressional Districts) where the problems exits, rather that at the top were they cannot win.

  10. Candace McCarty says:

    Through tears of sorrow

    I pray that our collective voices

    Will be elevated to a decibel never heard before

    The horrific tragedy in Connecticut

    Has broken our hearts

    I pray that we can work together

    To examine our humanity

    Sad, but true

    Race matters

    And so does


    Where do we go from here?

  11. jdgwisd says:

    Dr. Watkins, I have to disagree with you on a few fronts concerning Dr. West and his continued criticisms of the current POTUS. One of my major complaints is that Dr. West has the expectation that the President has the ability to wipe away the social, moral, and economic ills of Black America. The President can influence, execute laws that are written to benefit Black America, and also demand that polices are in place to help our people. Congress introduce laws, the president executes them, the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of said laws. I’m tired of ivory tower “profits,” who decry the decay of our communities, but do not set into practice their ideas in our communities. I’m usually the first person to critize the president on his political views, but I recognize that he is a politican, not the next coming of Fredrick Douglass or Dr. Martin Luther King. It’s foolish to have that expectation. As a politican, Mr. Obama is hoping to take advantage of a tragedy in order to move a powerful lobby towards some sort of gun control. It is a very dangerous thing. Dr. West has the right to critize, but I would bet that the criticisms he faces would lessen if he would spent more time on exhibiting Afroeconomics, instead of being an American “profit.”

  12. war on poverty says:

    West is not a member of the general public. He was cognizant of Obama’s background yet he toured the Country endorsing him as the President of hope and change. West can be perceived as a HATER because now he acts as though he is abhorred that Senator Obama who neglected his poor constituency has the audacity to continue this vile behavior as President.

  13. SeattleGuy says:

    Dr. Watkins,

    Side Bar

    FBI Investigated Occupy Movement as ‘Domestic Terrorists, Criminals’ from December 23, 2012

    Dr. Boykins, please read the above article. You have to write a follow up article to it.

    We have a black president and black police chief (Eric Holder). There policies and agendas aren’t advancing the black community when the black influence at the top of the political food chain is unprecedented (Obama, Holder, Rice, Jarrett, etc). Our foreign policy (regarding Africa), economic policy domestically (regarding manufacturing base) and what’s happening in the executive branch with Holder is just perpetuating what’s already been in place.
    AL SHARPTON, MSNBC AND JOURNALISTIC STANDARD by Glenn Greenwald / Salon.com 2011

    “The segment also described Sharpton as “now a trusted White House adviser” and recounts that “given his loyalty and his change from confrontational to accommodating, the administration is rewarding him with access and assignments.”

    So the White House has “golden microphoned” Sharpton. Given him $, while also silencing him and his ability to criticize. Sad but true!
    I applaud Cornell West, Tavis, this site and others for attempting to break away from the MSM. I don’t agree with everything said, but at least the non-MSM are forums where we can openly criticize without being called racists or sellouts. If you’ve noticed, the left MSM media outlets hate criticism and will come down hard on any dissenters – so much for open dialogue and free speech.

    There are several things that Obama and Holder could do even without legislation from the Senate and Congress. That’s the disappointing part of all this. The reality is that they both are “overseeing” the house for which they work for – The New World Order. My prediction is that people of color (blacks, Latinos, etc) will continually be used as the puppet of choice to carry our the NWO agenda.

    Why do I say that? Because when you put up a face of progress like Obama or Rubio for example, the first thing people start thinking about is race and how far we’ve come (and I do appreciate the progress). However, those who blindly support are being had because in reality the policies and outcomes don’t change.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!