Dr. Cornel West ripped Wednesday’s 50th anniversary commemoration of the March on Washington in his radio show with Tavis Smiley on Friday, lamenting that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself would have been rolling in his grave seeing how his “I Have A Dream” speech was honored.
“You not only got a tame Martin Luther King Jr., but there was a real sense in which who he really was at the end of his life hardly surfaced at all,” West told Smiley. “And we saw, of course, the coronation of the bonafide house negro of the Barack Obama plantation, our dear brother Al Sharpton.”
As Mediaite reported, West has used that rhetoric in the past against Sharpton, an MSNBC host who made his name as a civic activist. West also said Sharpton was aided by people like Michael Eric Dyson and others who “have prostituted themselves intellectually in a very ugly and vicious way.”
When Smiley asked how much the event was dulled by the presence of President Barack Obama, West responded that there would have been a similar effect had it been held during Bill Clinton’s presidency, with perhaps Rev. Jesse Jackson being more willing to “step out of the Clinton plantation.” But the current state of Black activist leadership, West said, would have led King to cry.
“He would want the people to talk about Wall Street criminality,” West said of King. “He wants people to talk about war crimes, or drones dropping bombs on innocent people. He wants people to talk about the new Jim Crow and the privatization of education and the various ways in which the well-to-do — the oligarchs and plutocrats — are getting away with murder. You didn’t hear that whatsoever.”
Listen to audio, as posted by Mediaite on Friday, below.
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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