Cornel West’s View From Ferguson

The orator, activist and scholar Cornel West is summoning brave voices of black leadership from our past in his new book, Black Prophetic Fire.

I asked him if he wanted us to see Birmingham in 1963 in the protests that got him arrested in Ferguson, Missouri this fall — after the long and troubled investigation of the killing of the black teenager Michael Brown by a police officer — and whether at a time when our politics feels less relevant and more strained than ever, his might be a voice that people need, if only to answer to the Sean Hannitys of the world.

Guest List
Cornel West
preacher, philosopher, and author of Black Prophetic Fire.

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  • Pete Crangle

    An excellent conversation. A generosity of spirit is what I hear in it. Thank you Chris & thank you Professor West.

  • Potter

    Thank you for the re-connection to Cornel West and this love-ly conversation. Is this regression or ( also) reawakening by Ferguson and New York. Bill DeBlasio said in his speech yesterday that this struggle goes back to slavery. Yes of course, and it’s a struggle that belongs to all of us that has not registered as such,

    My notes, the gems from this one with West:

    Despair is vice, unavoidable. Love justice, not hatred and revenge, is the way (… i.e. the courage to take the higher moral and spiritual ground. “The black prophetic tradition is a leaven in the American loaf….”).

    From the late (and missed) Tony Judt( who keeps resonating, reverberating): we’ve lost our link to the social democratic tradition—we must act on our intuitions of pending catastrophe ( **with a smile and style says West… this is the blues!)

    West: Our media is not telling us the truth…. we have a market driven media (this is no news but what do we do about it?)

    We need a just policy regarding the Middle East. Our senator Elizabeth Warren is great but she needs education about our relationship with Israel vis a vis the Palestinians and the “peace process”. (note to myself: write to her)

    Every generation has to meet the call to fight social domination—to struggle to love, laugh, and live, before the worms get us. (with dance, music, art)

    More than ever it seems West believes in the power of love (and his is an example to feature and embrace).

    Comment: People of color have to get out there and exercise their rights at the ballot box too. Yes assemble when a catastrophe happens, but before and after. Others will join. Look at what these recent mid-term elections brought. The government becomes the enemy, not the solution, as Ronald Reagan intimated. More so now because you can’t move the government easily we are so gridlocked and ruled by money interests.

  • Roseann

    I love Dr. West! If I rob a bank the full force of the law would be upon me, Wall Street crashed economies all over the world and they got bonuses. Our world is so screwed up because most people equate their self worth with how much money they earn. I know the wealthiest people are the most evil in most cases. Since advertising and the whoring media have reduced people to ” consumers” not humans just a commodity. I was once told by a boss of mine that I should show more respect to a certain person because he had a Ph.D. and was very wealthy. NOT, who cares! We are a stupid society we idolize people who’s claim to fame is they are on TV or play with a ball! Most people pushing for social change or doing good for the world we have never heard of. Those in our society who enjoyed the safety and benefits of being union members, now collecting pensions speak out against unions! These are my experiences that make my head hurt! And for Stevie Wonder…what a disappointment he is at Hillarys fundraiser.