Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Dr. Cornel West: Most of Today’s Black Leaders are For Sale.

February 24, 2014 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) One of the easiest ways to keep black people enslaved in America is by enslaving our minds.   Barred from an adequate education or true sense of history, many of us are wired to love our oppressors more than we love ourselves.  Even during Black History Month, you’re quite likely to hear us celebrating assimilation far more than liberation.  ”The first black man to play in the major leagues was….,” or “The first black person to attend Harvard University was….” isn’t followed by the fact that going to the major leagues meant leaving behind the negro leagues, or that going to Harvard might mean neglecting our powerful HBCUs.

This doesn’t mean that these achievements don’t deserve recognition, but it means we must be careful.  When we talk about what it means to be black and what it means to make history, we must understand the importance of writing our own history instead of having it fed to us.  We must also learn to reject the temptation to embrace the subtle Jim Crow of flawed integration and learn to appreciate the sturdy value of self-reliance.  Self-reliance, in its various forms, will not only help alleviate the crisis of black unemployment, it will also help us to avert the toxic brainwashing which comes from having descendants of your oppressors controlling your access to media and education.2013cornelWEST

One place to start might be with the political neutering of Dr. Martin Luther King, who was a radical freedom fighter who has been reduced to a snippet in a McDonald’s commercial.  Dr. Cornel West has taken issue with the morphing of Dr. King and is speaking regularly to resurrect the real Dr. King from the spiritual grave.   Despite being hit by propaganda of the worst kind (most of those who try to write off Dr. West as worthless aren’t actually listening to his speeches), Cornel West continues with a kind of persistence that has to be admired.  If anything were to undermine the legacy of this extraordinary scholar, it would be that the purity of truth is just too much to digest in a world that is built on hurtful and ugly lies.

I meet public figures all the time and most of them are great speakers.  But when I listen to Dr. West, I listen even more carefully.  Why?  Because I know that when he speaks, I am witnessing black history.   There isn’t a scholar on the planet as prominent as West saying the things that he is saying right now, and saying them as consistently as he has been for the last 20 years.   Long after the Obama era is done and the president and First Lady have retired to Martha’s Vineyard with the rest of the black elite, Dr. West and his disciples will continue speaking for those who do not have a voice.  I get a sense that he understands that the persecution he is receiving for not going with the popular program is more built on him “messing things up by talking” than by anyone being able to actually do a point-by-point analysis of the exact words that are coming out of his mouth.

Also, a study of black history will show you that Dr. Cornel West has more in common with Martin Luther King than any prominent black public figure in the world today.  Similar to Dr. King, West speaks ferociously about an unconditional love for  black people.  Most politicians, entertainers and athletes have bought into some kind of post-racial corporate puppet-speak, since many of them feel that talking directly about black people will somehow limit economic opportunities.  They also seem to feel that standing up for black people means that you’re playing for the losing team (since too many of us are broke, don’t support our community, and are politically gullible).

Like Dr. King, West speaks regularly against the American military machine, which is being consistently accused of horrendous war crimes.  Also, both King and West, raised in the black Baptist tradition, are/were fearless advocates for the poor, and were chastised (even by other black people) for the things they said. When Dr. King died, he was extremely unpopular.  This was largely because he was saying many of the things that Cornel West is saying right now.

Of course there are millions of white Americans who respect Dr. Cornel West, but I’ve rarely seen any mainstream public figure of his stature show such a consistent and unapologetic willingness to face the lion’s den on behalf of black American issues.  You don’t get this from most of our black politicians, many of whom speak of black people as an afterthought, despite immense suffering taking place as a direct result of state-sponsored policies.  Many of these policies continue to expand economic inequality, educational inequality and mass incarceration.   What’s unfortunate is that some have told us that these conditions are our own doing, which is a clear manifestation of white supremacist thinking (i.e. White and gay people can ask for help from your government, but if you ask for the same help, then you’re begging for a handout)

I respect Cornel West because he tells the TRUTH.  Even more than myself, Dr. West was invited to sit at the table of the black political elite and collect large paychecks at the expense of righteous advocacy for black, brown and poor people.  In those meetings behind closed doors that most of us do not get to see, you’re told that it’s a maniacal strategy to speak out for people who don’t seem to even care about themselves.  The Democratic Party knows that black people are easily silenced and pacified, and any person who expects black America to ask for more is typically paid off or discredited in some way.

One day, stop for a second and try to see if you can create a moment of truth: Listen to your favorite black political leaders and see how much they speak out for you relative to what they are doing for gay Americans, immigrants and other groups. Are they doing as much for you as they are for everyone else?  Are they speaking on your behalf of you as much as they are for everyone else?  Do they have as much concern for dying black children in the street as they do when it happens to somebody else?  One of the residual effects of Jim Crow is that we have learned to become comfortable with second class citizenship:  Black people just don’t matter that much, so we excuse others when they overlook us.

Some of us have been trained, via low collective self-esteem, to make excuses for so-called leaders who ignore black America.  We assume they are too busy or that they have better things to do.  But what I find so ironic is that the same politicians who make all the time in the world to come and collect African American votes don’t have time to return our calls when we ask them for support in alleviating our suffering.  The same rappers who sell the hood experience all around the world for millions don’t have the mandate to use their massive resources to uplift the communities that gave them their street credibility.  Athletes can exploit the black urban experience for an NBA infomercial, but are trapped into remaining silent about the traumatic experiences that destroy so many black families today.

The reason public figures get away with this political and economic robbery is because EVEN WE DON’T BELIEVE WE DESERVE THEIR SUPPORT.  Maybe it’s time to stop making so many excuses and start seeing things for what they really are.  Everyone must be held accountable.

This week, I had the chance to hear Dr. Cornel West speak at St. Sabina church in Chicago about the importance of loving your people, even if others make you feel ashamed for doing so.  He speaks on the importance of sharing the truth, no matter what, having integrity in the face of oppression and not selling out to the highest bidder.  After you hear this speech, you’ll understand why his words will live long after he is gone.  Those who stand with Dr. Cornel West as he speaks for poor, black and brown people are on the right side of history.  Racial tyranny cannot prevail.

Take a listen to Dr. West’s speech at this link.  (—-

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.



10 Responses to “Dr. Cornel West: Most of Today’s Black Leaders are For Sale.”
  1. Arthur Brand, Jr says:

    99% of “black leaders”, are just “Pattyrollers” for the democrat party….blacks vote democrat by 95%, but the democrat party is ignoring this historical black unemployment, as they are pushing for amnesty for illegals….more illegals are working in this country than there are legal black Americans working in this country, but we see The Congressional Black Caucus fighting for amnesty for illegals….this is modern day slavery…….

  2. Marcus Vessey says:

    Wattree…lol you think I am Boyce? Good for you champ. Good for you.

    Let’s get back to the issue at hand. First of all you claim progressiveness, but your thoughts, writings and philosophy is not progressive.

    You ARE a shill for the liberal agenda. Why you deny it I don’t know. At every given moment for as long as I have seen you write or comment on this site you abjectly defend all things left.

    It is as if you have no ability to critically reason outside of the narrow rubric of liberalism. Grow up man.

    We need solutions that transcend political convention and policy and every thing you do tries to bring us back under that false hope.

    Either you are pro-Black or you aren’t. Brother, if your writings are a true reflection of your ideological position….

    You ain’t.

  3. Wattree says:

    Boyce(let’s lay the Marcus crap to rest),

    I’m not a shill. I’m flat-out against the Republican Party, and any Black man who can’t see why is a fool. Only an idiot would condemn the Bogeyman to embrace the Devil.

    But speaking of shills, when are you coming out of the closet as the Republican you are. As long as you don’t, everything you do or say is a fraud. It you profess to be “The People’s Scholar,” the people have a right to know your political persuasion. You might as well come on out with a sense of dignity, because if you don’t, I’m going to put the evidence together and drag you out of your Republican broom closet – in fact, I fired the opening salvo today (http://wattree.blogspot.com/2014/02/a-message-to-dr-boyce-watkins.html).

    People have been begging me to do it for well over a year now, but I’ve been reluctant to do it, because I don’t believe you’re PURPOSELY trying to deceive the people to feather your own nest like Tavis and West. I think you’re simply deluded in your beliefs, and you don’t have the courage of you convictions.

    So I’m putting you on notice, brother. Well-intentioned or not, by not telling the people who you are, and what you truly believe, you’re engaging in a form of deception – and I’ve made it my personal mission to make deluding the Black community a thing of the past, and other writers have agreed to joined me on that mission. So if you don’t come out of the closet on your own, and have to be dragged out, you’re going to lose all of your public credibility – just like Tavis and West are in the process of doing now.

    And finally, please don’t take this in the wrong way. I know how this sounds, but it is NOT my intent to threaten you in anyway, it’s just my way of giving you a heads-up on what’s on the horizon, because in spite of everything, including the fact that I view you as grossly naïve, I still sorta, kinda, like you.

    So there you have it, something to think about.

    Peace, brother.

  4. Marcus Vessey says:

    Wattree you have been consistently exposed as a liberal shill. It is obvious even though you attempt to persuade folds that you are intellectually independent you do nothing but champion the dejour liberal of the day.

    I don’t agree with everything C West says, but at least he is consistent over the years and authentic, which is much more than I can say for anyone you advocate for (see liberal status quo which hasn’t helped Black folks look at the data).

  5. Wattree says:

    Dr. Boyce Watkins said the following:
    ??”One place to start might be with the political neutering of Dr. Martin Luther King, who was a radical freedom fighter who has been reduced to a snippet in a McDonald’s commercial. Dr. Cornel West has taken issue with the morphing of Dr. King and is speaking regularly to resurrect the real Dr. King from the spiritual grave. Despite being hit by propaganda of the worst kind (most of those who try to write off Dr. West as worthless aren’t actually listening to his speeches), Cornel West continues with a kind of persistence that has to be admired. If anything were to undermine the legacy of this extraordinary scholar, it would be that the purity of truth is just too much to digest in a world that is built on hurtful and ugly lies.”
    Dr. Watkins, there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.
    The Black community wasn’t doing great under Clinton, but we were doing a lot better than we are today. And one of the primary reasons that we find ourselves in the condition that we’re currently in is during the 2000 election Ralph Nader and Cornel West teamed up and got Bush elected.
    Clinton’s vice President, Al Gore, lost the 2000 election to Bush in Florida by 537 votes, and the Nader/West coalition peeled off 97,488 votes from Gore in Florida alone. So, again, West is one of the big reasons that the Black community is in the shape that it’s in today. Under Bush, the country was hemorrhaging 850,000 jobs a month. So by criticizing Obama about the condition of the country, Cornel West is like a guy who walks into a restaurant and shits on the floor, and then calls the Health Department because the owner can’t get it up fast enough.
    And please keep this in mind – the worse the Black community is doing, the more money that Tavis and West make talking about it, because Tavis owns a publishing company where he and West write books about it, a production company, where he and West do televisions shows about it, and he owns a speakers bureau, where Cornel West makes $30,000 a speech just to talk about the Black misery that he helped to create.
    It’s easy for West to espouse his intellectually pure, but existentially impractical ideals that divide the people by advocating that we be so demanding of the Bogie Man that we promote the Devil. He doesn’t have to live with the disastrous results. Once he and Ralph Nader helped to get Bush elected in 2000, West simply slithered back into his Ivy League cocoon while the Black community went through eight years of Hell under Bush, and continue to suffer the consequences.
    In addition, Cornel West preaches a better sermon than he’s willing to live. In spite of all of his rhetoric about his love for Black people and the community, he never taught at one Black school, or even a school that the majority of young Black people can even afford to have lunch in without mortgaging their family’s home, in his entire life. If West truly loved Black people like he claims, he’d be teaching third grade in the hood, or at the very least, teaching at one of our great Historically Black Colleges or Universities. But no, that’s not good enough for him. His ego requires that instead of living among the people and teaching Black students, that he don the costume of the resident “Negro radical,” and gesticulate at Harvard or Princeton for the entertainment of the children of the very corporate manipulators that he’s railing against. Hypocrisy doesn’t come any more glaring than that. But, believe it or not, it gets worse.
    Isn’t it funny that Tavis and West seems to Talk about everything bad that’s happening to the Black community, EXCEPT, Tavis’ part in the Wells Fargo “Ghetto Loan” scam where Tavis helped to herd over 30,000 Black and Hispanic homeowners into a situation that led to the lost their homes AND their life savings? The Department of Justice said that it was the second largest housing discrimination case on record – and this from two individuals who try to associate themselves with Martin Luther King.
    “On July 12, 2012 Charlie Savage reported in the New York Times that Wells Fargo Bank agreed to pay $175 million to settle the discrimination suit which, according to the Department of Justice, targeted over 30,000 Black and Hispanic borrowers for subprime loans with a higher interest rate than for similarly situated White borrowers between 2004 and 2009.”
    “Smiley was the keynote speaker, and the big draw, according to Boston [host of “Moneywise”] and Keith Corbett, executive vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending, who attended two of the seminars. Smiley would charge up the audience — and rattle the Wells Fargo executives in attendance — by launching into a story about how he hated banks, and how they used to refuse to lend him money for his real estate projects in Compton, Calif., and elsewhere… But what appeared on the surface as a way to help black borrowers build wealth was actually just the opposite, according to a little-noticed explanation of the “Wealth Building” seminar strategy, contained in a lawsuit recently filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.”
    Then, in response to President Obama’s remarks on race in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict, Tavis Smiley tweeted, “Took POTUS almost a week to show up and express mild outrage. And still, it was as weak as pre-sweetened Kool-Aid.”
    That was a very curious remark considering the fact that Tavis Smiley and Cornel West traveled all across the country on a bus under the pretext of being so passionately concerned about poverty in America that they just HAD to take a stand – but of course, that was BEFORE the election, and when they had books to sell. But after the election was over, and they didn’t have any new books to sell, they couldn’t bring themselves to walk down the street from Tavis’ office to support the Black Friday demonstrations taking place all across the country against Wal-Mart – Tavis’ major sponsor, a member of ALEC, and the biggest abuser of the working class in America today.
    And not only did they fail to attend ANY of the demonstrations taking place across the country against Wal-Mart, they didn’t even issue a comment of support. All we’ve heard coming from the Smiley/West camp are crickets – and as everyone knows, that’s extremely uncharacteristic of Cornel West, who’s renown for being willing to trade a kidney for a sound byte. Thus, that just about says it all about those two. All subjective assessments aside, the facts alone suggest that Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are two of the most blatantly self-serving hypocrites that the Black community has ever suffered.
    According to Scott Collins in his article, Tavis Smiley’s bumpy 10th anniversary with PBS, in the Los Angeles Times:
    “Such is the life of a public-television personality. Unlike most TV hosts, who simply do their jobs and collect a paycheck from a network, Smiley has to go out and raise most of the money for his program, which costs between $7 million and $8 million a year to produce. PBS generally contributes about $1 million of that sum. The rest comes from corporate sponsors, which Smiley has to round up himself.
    Congress.) But Wal-Mart covers only about a quarter of the costs” (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-tavis-smiley-pbs-20131212,0,6312121.story#ixzz2ndW5CAp5).
    And therein lies the problem – and, the reason for the prescription in the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics that “Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.” You cannot serve two masters. In the instance above, Tavis Smiley had to choose between the public’s right to know, and his personal self-interest, and the public lost – and it’s not the first time the public lost to Smiley’s self-interest.
    “The sluggish economy and reduced corporate spending have threatened the show’s viability. But luckily for Smiley, Wal-Mart, a longtime sponsor, stepped up again, this time with a three-year commitment. (PBS can only offer a maximum of two years on renewals because, as a government-supported entity, it must be periodically authorized by
    Now add the following to the mix. In his article, “My Republican Party has Abandoned Me,” Black Republican activist, Raynard Jackson, says the following (http://www.freedomsjournal.net/2012/10/31/my-republican-party-has-abandoned-me/):
    “For many years, I have approached the party and its supporters about underwriting programs to bring together Blacks who are Republican or lean Republican so we can weave them into every facet of the party structure. The answer is always, no! But, twice this year some of these same people have approached me about funding for some election year tricks that they (White Republicans) have conjured up and simply need a Black face to execute the plan. On these two separate occasions, these funders were willing to spend upwards of $20 million to have me organize a national campaign to identify Blacks who would be critical of President Obama.”
    Now, you do the math

  6. bigbo says:

    It’s time for a new song one that might upset many call it mother’s don’t let ur babies grow up to accommodate their marginalization in american society, a spin off of don’t let ur babies grow up to be cowboys.

  7. cicero says:

    Love Dr.West in his work. I still object to the old narrative that athletes and gangster rap needs to be the focus of the leadership for the black community.

    Who forms this debate of whether an athlete or rapper should lead us, as if waka flaka and Michael Jordan had a background in public speaking and debative qualities mixed with a thirst for history. Coupled with the fact they could lose everything including life….much less were they ever given a forum too speak out?

    Black ppl Your being set up for failure when your given choices and neither one is very good. Let’s frame our own debates…

    The debate and weight of the argument should first be placed on the black political establishment in place. At the top… How’s Obama workin for you, is he telling you he has your back or to pull your own self up….?

    Still that is placing too much weight on one man who obviously doesn’t feel the calling to be his peoples hero. Its a beautiful narrative and the risk is high and the reward would be in the black community. Who knows if a man of his power even views that with any real substantial value?

    After all being the president of the USA is a hotter title then the peoples champ…I guess?

    I do feel a public servant is responsible… Not Charles Barkley…placing to much value in television… Way too much, maybe we need to start there, after all blacks aren’t represented well on TV. I’m not talking number of roles or shows; which is low, but the message which they deliver. That should force us out of this pop culture reality life being replicated in the streets…

    You are what you eat, I try not to focus on the low hanging fruit, so let’s peel the onion.

    I feel the author’s best point.,,, we need to do a microscope checkup on every public figure in leadership….

    Morning show host, TV pundits…don lemon rev al …etc etc maybe to the likes of Cosby, and listen and run over there resume.

    I know STEVE HARVEY, dissed Dr.West….n got a lot of TV deals after???
    Mr Cosby love sounding like a old white guy…young ppl pants hanging low, but mr Cosby had fat Albert as the first TV cartoon blacks had and we was playing in the dumpster… Sheesh sell a child a dream not harsh reality…smh
    Don lemon…self explanatory… Ugh
    Rev al …where’s ya church?

    And the list goes non to those you say won’t participate…

    Oprah and Tyler Perry…. That’s almost 3 Billion dollars and two large studios with the ability to put out high quality materials….

    We wanted to make the adults laugh and not educate them with the values that truly made you successful…. Dressing like a woman ain’t what made you … And being a good servant/slave isn’t what made you one of the most powerful women in the world.

    I think they worry about tomorrow when ppl would die for a day of their past… You can’t take nothing with you… If I were in there shoes, I probably would be laying next to MLK right now ….

    So if I was the establishment, I’d say these that I named are perfect to be our public leadership…
    They remain quite, submissive, and ready to buy the next home, 40k purse, yacht, mansion, etc, child like, with loyalty issues…
    So…perfect. The minority will never materialize the threat of their return to greatness… Who’s next…let’s look at other demographics

    S. Americs TV, media, celebs???? Idk
    West Indian???? Idk

    How about mainstream white America? O you thought b/c they were white… Lol… This is about power and money to a certain extent….

    Thus this whole thing needs a comb over…. Unity, we are all going through the b.s. or at least 99% of us are going thru the b.s.

  8. CD Smith says:

    Will that speech come with translation?

    I have heard Dr. West speak many times before.

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