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Cornel West: My critique of Obama is not personal

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Presidential Distinguished Speaker Series in Morgan State University, October 21, 2021

Osaretin Iyare, is a graduate student at Morgan State University

 

(WEAA) —Cornel West says his strong critique of Barack Obama, the first Black American president, was about Obama’s drone campaign, support for wall street, inaction on mass incarceration, as well as the struggles that concerned African Americans, and not out of personal vendetta.  

 

West accused the former president of pandering to Wall Street by saying, “I stand with, I would protect you.” Adding that individuals who were found to have committed fraudulent activity should have been prosecuted and not allowed to walk off, describing it as a “contrast in the levels of justice.”

 

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PHOTO CREDIT: SEBASTIAN KIM/INTERVIEW MAGAZINE

 The former Harvard University professor said, for African Americans aspiring to the top job, it is not about winning the election but what you do when you get there, “What are you willing to push in terms of a program for poor people.” He said there was no moral ground for people to be homeless, suffering, and without education, while one percent of the population held 42 percent of the wealth.

 

West, the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at the Union Theological Seminary, spoke at the Presidential Distinguished Speaker Series in Morgan State University on the Tasks of Black Intellectuals in our Time.

 

Don’t be an echo, find your voice.

 

West, a renowned speaker and author of "Race Matters," said black intellectuals should not be limited to only those in the academia but any individual who is “falling in love with human beings such that you’re willing to live and maybe even die for them.”

 

 West said three critical areas of vocation, tradition, and revolution are the hallmark of intellectuals. Adding that, an intellectual must find their voice, speak the truth from their heart without pride.

 

 He challenged black intellectuals to be original, push out fear, give up popularity to sacrifice and serve. West said it was necessary to possess a revolutionary but tender spirit and fortify themselves for a long-distance battle for freedom.

 

Dr. David Wilson, President of Morgan State University, in his opening remarks, said it was necessary at this time in the nation’s history to reimagine an America that is inclusive, just, and fair for everyone. He added that the speaker series was designed to “bring some of the nation’s leading and most provocative thought leaders from various disciplines” to the institution, as well as “expose the university community to a broad range of views… and promote mind expansion.”