America loves pitting black intellectuals against each other, but today's activists need both Coates and West.
One crucial question is why now in this moment has his apolitical pessimism gained such wide acceptance? Coates and I come from a great tradition of the black freedom struggle. He represents the neoliberal wing that sounds militant about white supremacy but renders black fightback invisible.
This wing reaps the benefits of the neoliberal establishment that rewards silences on issues such as Wall Street greed or Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and people.
Coates rightly highlights the vicious legacy of white supremacy — past and present. He sees it everywhere and ever reminds us of its plundering effects. In short, Coates fetishizes white supremacy. He makes it almighty, magical and unremovable.
For Coates, defiance is narrowly aesthetic — a personal commitment to writing with no connection to collective action. It generates crocodile tears of neoliberals who have no intention of sharing power or giving up privilege.
When he honestly asks: You defy them when you threaten that order. Is atheism the reason for Ta-Nehisi Coates' pessimism on race relations? Note that his perception of white people is tribal and his conception of freedom is neoliberal.
Racial groups are homogeneous and freedom is individualistic in his world. I had never seen so many white people cheer on a black man who was neither an athlete nor an entertainer.
And it seemed that they loved him for this, and I thought in those days Does the profiteering of fatalism about white supremacy and pessimism of black freedom fit well in an age of Trump — an age of neo-fascism, US style? Coates wisely invokes the bleak worldview of the late great Derrick Bell.
But Bell reveled in black fightback, rejoiced in black resistance and risked his life and career based on his love for black people and justice.
Needless to say, the greatest truth-teller about white supremacy in the 20th century — Malcolm X — was also deeply pessimistic about America. Yet his pessimism was neither cheap nor abstract — it was earned, soaked in blood and tears of love for black people and justice. He reveals this when he writes: For example, there is no serious attention to the plight of the most vulnerable in our community, the LGBT people who are disproportionately affected by violence, poverty, neglect and disrespect.
The disagreements between Coates and I are substantive and serious. It would be wrong to construe my quest for truth and justice as motivated by pettiness. Must every serious critique be reduced to a vicious takedown or an ugly act of hatred?
Can we not acknowledge that there are deep disagreements among us with our very lives and destinies at stake? Is it even possible to downplay career moves and personal insecurities in order to highlight our clashing and conflicting ways of viewing the cold and cruel world we inhabit?
We refuse to disconnect white supremacy from the realities of class, empire, and other forms of domination — be it ecological, sexual, or others. The same cannot be said for Ta-Nehisi Coates.
He is the author of Race Matters Topics.Race Racism and the Wisconsin Idea. Scott Walker and Paul Ryan broke from Wisconsin’s long progressive history.
But as liberals search for what went wrong, they must not ignore the state’s legacy of systemic racism and inequity. With a new introduction, the groundbreaking classic Race Matters affirms its position as the bestselling, most influential, and most original articulation of the urgent issues in America's ongoing racial debate.
Cornel West is at the forefront of thinking about race. In Race Matters he addresses a range of issues, from the crisis in black leadership and the myths surrounding black sexuality to. Cornel West. (). Race Matters. Boston: Beacon Press. Summary (Download Race Matters download as a PDF) West looks at how race affects both black and white Americans politically and personally, offering constructive criticism to both liberal and conservative approaches to the problem of racism.
When the emails started coming in, I ignored them. By day’s end, my voicemail and email inboxes were filling up with links to the Guardian, followed by links to Facebook pages and blogposts devoted to Cornel West’s takedown of Ta-Nehisi Coates.I felt like I was being summoned to see a schoolyard brawl, and, now that I no longer use social media, I was already late.
Dr. Cornel West. Dr. Cornel West is Professor Emeritus at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris.
― Cornel West, Race Matters. 54 likes. Thus, an enforceable race-based -- and later gender based -- affirmative action policy was the best possible compromise and concession. Progressives should view affirmative action as neither a major solution to poverty nor a sufficient means to equality.
We should see it as primarily playing a.