Cornel West speaks at Hofstra University
At Cornel West’s event at Hofstra University, West mentioned various issues that plague American Society today. Issues that he feels need to be addressed with the upcoming presidential election. These issues are social neglect and misery, weapons of mass distraction and the social construction of race.
West spoke about the citizens suffering from social misery. Americans cannot turn their back on the ones who are truly suffering. These are citizens who feel like they do not matter or that no one cares about them. We need a president that is going to highlight the suffering and allow those who are suffering to speak. In order for this to manifest there needs to be more moral public outrage.
In addition, as far as the campaign is concerned, West stated while billions of dollars were used on a campaign; teachers in Chicago protested the dilapidated schools lacking funding in their districts. Especially in Chicago where only one out four schools has art programs and most of the schools are missing instruments. This elicits a serious American issue of class and poverty, justice and economic equality for everyone.
West also talked about weapons of mass distraction; which includes: forms of the media, the internet, smart phones, designer labels, etc. These are the things that feed the minds of individuals and distract them from issues of importance. Such as: politics, healthcare, poverty, etc. Young people need to educate themselves on these issues and be aware of what can happen when they are not involved.
What Cornel West said that stuck out the most was: Who really cares about the poor Black Child? Meaning who really cares if the child is not being prepared for college? Who cares if the schools have old textbooks and are lacking resources, money and technology? Most people would turn their back on such issues and offer responses that claim that Blacks have done this to themselves. They are poor because they want to be poor. However, that is an ignorant and distasteful stereotype. There will be no growth in the American society unless one lets go of their presumptions and prejudices. Blacks work just as hard as any other race if not harder because they have to constantly fight stereotypes, and break down barriers society has restricted them with.
Blacks not having access to great schools are a public issue not a private issue within the race. This is because education is an institutional foundation that secures the success and well-being of a student early on in life. Once this foundation is cracked or non-existent it ruins the chance of a Black child ever being able to compete against their peers of other races or social class. West understands that this issue of poverty, race, and education is a public issue that must be addressed and eliminated.
West also said that he salutes the Occupy Wall Street Movement because it is movement where people are fighting against economic poverty. It is a movement acknowledging working class people, reminding America that their lives are important as well. The Occupy Wall Street Movement in some ways is what Karl Marx believed in. The poor people and the working class people of this nation have woken up and have begun to raise their voices. They want justice, not revenge.
Overall, Cornel West spoke about the construction of race and how perceptions conceived about one based on their race or financial status is wrong and irrelevant. There are many social factors that are put in place that allow people to be superior and inferior in a nation. It is up to the Citizens now to aware one another and pursue justice for those suffering from the dehumanizing effects of avarice in this nation.