Cornel West Uses ‘N-Word’ to Describe Black Leadership’s Deference to Obama

July 30, 2013 - 10:10 AM

Cornell West

Liberal activist Dr. Cornel West (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Liberal activist and scholar Dr. Cornel West last week used the ‘n-word’ to describe black leadership  that he said is “subservient” to President Barack Obama.

“We’ve got a black leadership that is deferential to Obama, that is subservient to Obama, and that’s what n-----izing is. You keep folks so scared. You keep folks so intimidated. You can give them money, access, but they’re still scared. And as long as you’re scared, you’re on the plantation,” West said in a July 22 interview on “Democracy Now!”

West criticized the president for not saying “a mumbling word until now” about what West calls “the new Jim Crow.”

“But President Obama, speaking about his own life experience, going from saying, ‘Trayvon Martin could have been my child,’ to ‘Trayvon Martin could have been me,’” host Amy Goodman said.

“Well, no, that’s beautiful. That’s an identification. The question is: Will that identification hide and conceal the fact there’s a criminal justice system in place that has nearly destroyed two generations of very precious, poor black and brown brothers? He hasn’t said a mumbling word until now. Five years in office and can’t say a word about the new Jim Crow,” West said.

“And at the same time, I think we have to recognize that he has been able to hide and conceal that criminalizing of the black poor as what I call the re-n-----izing of the black professional class. You’ve got these black leaders on the Obama plantation, won’t say a criminal word about the master in the big house, will only try to tame the field folk so that they’re not critical of the master in the big house,” he said.

West said Rev. Al Sharpton has “unleashed” the rage over the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who said he fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teen, in self-defense during an altercation.

“That’s why I think even Brother Sharpton is going to be in trouble. Why? Because he has unleashed—and I agree with him—the rage. And the rage is always on the road to self-determination. But the rage is going to hit up against a stone wall. Why? Because Obama and Holder, will they come through at the federal level for Trayvon Martin? We hope so. Don’t hold your breath,” West said.

After Zimmerman’s acquittal, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department would review evidence to see whether federal charges are warranted.

“And when they don’t, they’re going to have to somehow contain that rage. And in containing that rage, there’s going to be many people who say, ‘No, we see, this president is not serious about the criminalizing of poor people,’” West said.

“We’ve got a black leadership that is deferential to Obama, that is subservient to Obama, and that’s what n-----izing is. You keep folks so scared. You keep folks so intimidated. You can give them money, access, but they’re still scared. And as long as you’re scared, you’re on the plantation,” he added.

West, a professor at Union Theological Seminary, also taught at Harvard University and Princeton University. In 1980, he became the first African-American to graduate from Princeton University with a PhD in philosophy.

West is also co-host of the “Smiley & West” radio show with Tavis Smiley, and author of numerous books, including one written with Smiley called “The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto.”