Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cornell West vs Barack Obama

Dr. Cornel West made the following comments about the president during an interview:
It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation. When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother.

Not only is President Obama lambasted as a Kenyan anti-colonialist by the likes of Newt Gingrich, he's also framed as a wide-eyed surrogate of "upper middle class white and Jewish men" by the likes of West. Some Americans question the President's citizenship while other Americans question his "blackness". What an interesting position for President Obama.

Reading Dr. Cornell West issues with the President, it appears he's angry that Obama didn't return his phone calls during the presidential campaign, the president did appear at Tavis Smiley's 2008 forum on the state of Black America, and West wasn't invited to the inauguration. Now a host of Black scholars, including Princeton Associate Professor Melissa Harris-Perry, spar over West's remarks against the President. Bloggers are in a frenzy on the subject.

Putting all the personal attacks aside, there are legitimate questions to be discussed,i.e. jobs and unemployment, the economy, the War in Afghanistan, the deficit, climate change, etc. These are the meaningful issues that merit debate far more so than "Obama blackness"..
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