‘a self-aggrandizing, victimology sermon’

I had no intention at all of even mentioning today’s vile interview with the hideous Cornel West (if you want to read it, it’s here), but Dorothy just sent me a link to this great response (thanks, too, to Claire):

Melissa Harris-Perry (The Nation): Professor Cornel West is President Obama’s silenced, disregarded, disrespected moral conscience, according to Chris Hedges’s recent column, “The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West went Ballistic.” In a self-aggrandizing, victimology sermon deceptively wrapped in the discourse of prophetic witness, Professor West offers thin criticism of President Obama and stunning insight into the delicate ego of the self-appointed black leadership class that has been largely supplanted in recent years.

West begins with a bit of historical revision. West suggests that the President discarded him without provocation after he offered the Obama for America campaign his loyal service and prayers. But anyone with a casual knowledge of this rift knows it began during the Democratic primary not after the election. It began, not with a puffed up President, but when Cornel West’s “dear brother” Tavis Smiley threw a public tantrum because Senator Obama refused to attend Smiley’s annual State of Black America.

Smiley repeatedly suggested that his forum was the necessary black vetting space for the Democratic nominees. He needed to ask Obama and Clinton tough questions so that black America could get the answers it needed. But black America was doing a fine job making up its own mind in the primaries and didn’t need Smiley’s blessing to determine their own electoral preferences.

Indeed, when Smiley got a chance to hold candidate Clinton “accountable” he spent more time fawning over her than probing about her symbolic or substantive policy stances that impacted black communities. Fiercely loyal to his friend, Professor West chose sides and began to undermine candidate Obama is small and large ways. Candidate Obama ceased calling West back because he was in the middle of a fierce campaign and West’s loyalties were, at best, divided. I suspect candidate Obama did not trust his “dear brother” to keep the campaign secrets and strategies. I also suspect he was not inaccurate in his hesitancy……

Read the full post here

41 Responses to “‘a self-aggrandizing, victimology sermon’”

  1. 1 GGail
    May 17, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    West and Smiley fall under my “venom” heading and I don’t waste my precious time in their direction.

  2. 2 Eleroy
    May 17, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Good write-up by Melissa Harris-Perry even if she was not as clear and strong in her televised response to a clearly pathetic, petty, jealous, envious and juvenile Cornel West!!!

  3. 3 PoliticalJunkessa
    May 17, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Corny and Smiley are so over.

    As I said in a previous post, I’m convinced there’s some perceived personal slight somewhere — some blow to their outsized egos, that’s probably behind this. They’re wrapping their pettiness up in some fake-ass intellectual critique of PBO (supposedly on behalf of the entire black community they supposedly speak for), but really it’s some jealous b.s.

    • 4 Doris
      May 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm

      I think Ed said that Cornell was not invited to the inauguration and inferred that this may have pissed him off. He also said that the Congressional Black Causus has ignored him. Ed did a good job of making him look petty and Melissa did a good job too. As you stated, jealousy is his problem. That’s what this sista thinks!

  4. 7 Theo67
    May 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    I’m not sure how a statement suggesting that the President is “a white man with black skin” helps the black and other minority communities. What they are implying is that black people cannot accomplish great things, or be graceful or successful or live outside a label. As I said before, the young children who look up to the President and are inspired by his authentic person (such as the Booker T. Washington graduates) – those kids tell the real story about who is working for their futures, and who is perpetuating the social prison that has kept them back. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are two reasons why the Republicans get away with their racism.

    • 8 Eleroy
      May 17, 2011 at 11:36 pm

      Well put Theo!!!

    • 9 cuphalffull
      May 18, 2011 at 5:51 am

      The kids tell the story. Dignity, community, compassion, diligence, releasing your talent, reaching out for guidance and support, self referencing, and ultimately what motivates us all, competence, autonomy and relatedness; those are the things the President is promoting and that is what BTW school is doing a great job of making happen.

      Spiritually speaking I believe you can only overcome evil with good. Our President and his wife are making the good their priority.

  5. May 17, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    I was watching Ed’s show on MSNBC but when I heard Cornel West was a guest on his show, I quickly turned off the show and got on my laptop to check in on The Obama Diary… Hey ya’ll…..

    God please answer my prayers can tavis and cornel shut the hell up…

    • 12 Doris
      May 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm


    • 13 COS
      May 18, 2011 at 12:57 am

      I did the same Michele. I turned away when it was time for Ed to interview him, I have never seen out on the street or part of a rally fighting for any good causes. Al Sharpton is always on the job and he always has PBO back. I am AA and I cannot stand Tavis Smiley and West. Melissa’s article was a very good critique of him. He is so envious and jealous of PBO.

  6. 14 Claire
    May 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Greatly enjoyed Dr. Harris-Perry’s response. I have attended several of her lectures and am always impressed with her work. West is lost forever. He has zero credibility. Just the sight of him makes my skin crawl.

  7. 15 Tulips
    May 17, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    If you watched his vile interview with ED tonight. you seen nothing but envy, hate and a clear vandetta against The President. It like the look GG has when he is hating on the president. Like Ed said it seems to be personal a jealousy that he has that is beyond politics. Sad to see any individual make a fool out of himself like Cornel West did tonight, He is through just like newt, gg, jane hamsher and thee rest. One thing president obama has manage to do is bring out phonies and shed a light who is really the problem in American politics. Its on both sides. Since President Obama has been in office he has uncovered a lot of the people true self. Pay attention he is showing us who to trust.

    • 16 Doris
      May 17, 2011 at 11:39 pm

      Well said.

    • 17 Puddin'
      May 18, 2011 at 12:17 am

      Tulips (my favorite flower by the way) you speak the truth and nothing but the truth…”Since President Obama has been in office he has uncovered a lot of the people true self. Pay attention he is showing us who to trust.” cornell and tavis are very small people and they are getting even smaller from my view point! I like Prof Harris-Perry’s mention of tavis’ relationships with Wal-Mart, Well’s Fargo and McDonald’s…little old me have been screaming this so loud to my friends, since the day he started hatin’ on the then candidate Barack Obama.

    • 18 cuphalffull
      May 18, 2011 at 5:53 am

      Great insight. The President does tend to make the narcissists, the haters and the liars show themselves, doesn’t he.

    • 19 Luci1119
      May 18, 2011 at 3:54 pm

      Yeah, like what have you done for ME lately??

  8. 20 nathkatun7
    May 17, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    PJ, I think you put it very well: this is indeed pure and simple “jealous b.s.” The Black community voted overwhelmingly for President Obama. The last time I checked, neither Dr. West nor Tavis Smiley were ever elected by the vast majority of Black people to represent them. Dr. West and Tavis Smiley absolutely have a right to criticize the President, so long as they make it clear that they speaking for themselves, and refrain from claiming, or pretending, to speak “on behalf of the entire black community.”

    From my vantage point, it seems that the main objective of Dr. West’s constant bashing of President Obama is to promote divisions in the black community, so as to discourage African Americans from voting. In many ways, Dr. West has become the black spokesman for the PL.

    • 21 Eleroy
      May 18, 2011 at 12:36 am

      And West is being paid handsomely to whip up this faux outrage too!!!

      This is a man threatened by the success of a brilliant man who has all but rendered West and his ilk irrelevant!!!

      Remember, Cornel West made his living and won notoriety by being this loud arbiter of black victimhood and the gate keeper to the downtrodden blacks who by the way, he never actually interacts with!!!

      He has sold books and singularly benefitted from this scam for so long recently joining forces with the other much lesser intellectual tavis smiley, to try to up the ante!!!

      President Obama has been very bad for the Cornel and Tavis scam business and they are determined to destroy President Obama!!!

      They have hooked up with the Arianna Huffington destroy Obama movement, but like all things money driven and held together by a mutual desire to destroy a good and decent man, they are all simply self-destructing and doomed to fail!!!
      Pathetic lot!!!

      • 22 Theo67
        May 18, 2011 at 12:44 am

        How do they sleep at night?

      • May 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

        Aces Eleroy. You nailed it all the way.

      • 27 majii
        May 18, 2011 at 3:14 pm

        Good post, Eleroy,
        I’d like to add that the majority of blacks in America don’t know either of these tools and don’t care who they are, or what they have to say and will not stand around taking advise from them that undermines PRO. I would say that our loyalty to PBO is unwavering because we know what he has had to deal with before, and after, becoming POTUS. Our history has also taught us that we always have some loudmouths like West and Smiley who will always place their egos before us and the good of the country. They need to realize that the type of attitude they’re displaying toward PBO is not endearing them to many blacks in this country. The reaction is the opposite of what they’re expecting because it’s extreme disgust instead of admiration.

  9. 28 Betty's Girl
    May 18, 2011 at 12:12 am

    West is damn fool. I never paid much attention to him (I can’t stand the way he speaks) but anyone with half a brain knows his attack is too personal and below the belt. It is down right racist. He should be treated just like Trump and all the others. He seems completely unstable.

  10. 29 Sue in Minnesota
    May 18, 2011 at 1:18 am

    Excellent read by Andrew Sullivan @ The Dish, May 17 2011 “Obama as The Third Culture Kid”……..I think all who appreciate President Obama will be pleased.

    • 30 Chi
      May 18, 2011 at 3:21 am

      It was an excellent read Sue…
      There is a group that meets where I live and it’s a brilliant crowd of world smart people who’ve lived incredibly amazing and exciting lives from childhood amongst diverse cultures…

      It comprises every race and creed, children of diplomats, academics, restless spirits, hippies…traverses every continent but very familiar with the word and lived for too long as expatriates in strange lands one learned to love…

      President Obama is indeed the very best of a TCK!

  11. 31 Puddin'
    May 18, 2011 at 2:15 am

    I just finished watching the “goodnight” video of the President and First Lady, and I couldn’t help but to think that cornel and tavis are just jealous…straight up jealous and so very unhappy..they wish…

  12. 32 Chi
    May 18, 2011 at 3:24 am

    Shame on Cornell West…

    May 18, 2011 at 9:31 am


  14. 34 Mrs. JVD
    May 18, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I am so beyond done with Cornell and Tavis. Their irrelevancy was only a matter of time and the more they try to drag President Obama into it, the greater their irrelevancy gets. For two supposedly very intelligent men, it’s hard for me to understand why they do not seem to see this? I guess they’re just so blinded by their envy, it’s pathetic.

    I was most disturbed and disgusted by Dr. West’s hissy fit about not getting a ticket to President Obama’s Inauguration:

    “I couldn’t get a ticket [to the inauguration] with my mother and my brother. I said this is very strange. We drive into the hotel and the guy who picks up my bags from the hotel has a ticket to the inauguration… We had to watch the thing in the hotel.”

    Very telling, indeed! SMDH

    • 35 DreamChaser57
      May 18, 2011 at 9:58 am

      Hmmmm, that is very telling – West’s comment belies his true spirit. That guy at the hotel was a blue collar worker, that guy may not have had more than a high school education, that guy maybe did not go around talking in five syllabic words -yet he had a ticket, good for him. Obama’s campaign values every day people – they valued and respected their money, at that level no one ever attempted to just rely on the people and have exclusive loyalty to the people. Here it is 2011 – and he’s still whining.

  15. 36 DreamChaser57
    May 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I loathe both West and Smiley. I am seething right now. They both disgust me, plain and simple. They are egotistical superficial buffoons. The president is the embodiment of everything they’re not humble, articulate, transparent, genuine, passionate, accessible. Everyone who is black is not a friend of the black community. West, in my estimation, has a sense of entitlement, he feels his stature entitles him to have the ear of the president – he’s shown himself to be nasty and small. They have the nerve to challenge his blackness, as if blackness is a commodity that you can purchase at Wal-Mart. As if blackness is synonymous with poverty and ignorance. Now they (West & Smiley) are the self-proclaimed and self-appointed door keepers to blackness and all who enter must get approval from them? Clinton and her campaign during the long arduous 2008 bid for the democratic nod was vicious and a lot of things from her camp had negative racial connotations to it – Sharpton made a good point, at Tavis’ Black Union Address, Clinton should be accountable for that garbage. Smiley and West love notoriety – they want to defame and disparage Obama and then are amazed and confounded that they still cannot ride his coat-tails.

  16. 37 AnitaW
    May 18, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I shared the MHP article far and wide and asked my friends to do the same. We have to make sure we shine a light on the haters like Smiley/West. There should be no hole left for them to hide in when this is ever.

  17. 39 Titti
    May 18, 2011 at 11:23 am

    All I know about this joker is that he is a Harvard/Princeton Professor and Kanye West’s uncle. He is making an azz of himself by being bitter and petty – another educated fool. I just love how PBO is ignoring these fools.

    • 40 Pinkbunny
      May 19, 2011 at 12:24 am

      Wow then that explains how Kanye West got his boorish behavior from. He got it through the family genes!

  18. 41 anniebella
    May 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    All I want to know is what has West done to end poverty? Have he quit that elite job at that nearly white college and gone to the inner city and taught at a school there. This West Is a disgrace. He is jealous of Obama and he felt that he the great Cornel West was over look. How dare Obama treat me that way, do he know who I am? It’s clear the one with the problem is Mr. West.

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