The Ghost of Cornel West

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson for The New Republic

[The irony is that, as highly charged as his criticism has become, West is, in some ways, not that different from Obama. The president has long wished to be the grand architect of bipartisanship, the conciliator of left and right, the bridge between conservatives and liberals. West used to fancy himself a similar figure; at least he did when he was riding high on best-seller lists as a progressive icon. West sought to account for the suffering of black America by steering between the arguments of conservative behaviorists and liberal structuralists. He thought it was important to acknowledge self-inflicted injuries as well as dehumanizing forces. As Stephen Steinberg, a sociologist at Queens College, has argued, West set himself up as “the voice of reason and moderation between liberals and conservatives,” as the “mediator between ideological extremes.” Obama has similarly argued that black folk must cultivate moral excellence at home and in the community even as he admits the government must help fight black suffering.]

Read the full article | THE NEW REPUBLIC



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