Race Matters

West, Cornel

“Preeminent African-American intellectual of our time” according to Henry Louis Gates, Jr. , who joined forces with West at Harvard in 1994, a year after the publication of West’s best-selling Race Matters. The Gates-West union presented, in the words of the The Village Voice, “formidable opposition to Eurocentrists and Afrocentrists alike.”

A paradigmatic public intellectual, West, professor of Afro American studies and the philosophy of religion, has collaborated with bell hooks and Tikkun editor Michael Lerner; he is also honorary co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America.

West cuts a singular figure in public life with his Afro, three- piece suits, and desultory mix of impassioned class analysis and preacherly solicitations. Alternately calling himself a “prophetic pragmatist” and “prophetic Marxist” in Race Matters, West heavily criticized middle-class blacks as “decadent” and urged whites to stop “ignoring the psychic pain that racism has inflicted on the urban poor.

” West’s… Continue reading