Black Voters Beware! Cornel West Is Coming To A Town Near You

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[Column: Beneath The Spin]
A lot of people ask me why I’m so focused on Cornel West.

The reason is simple. I grew up with brothers like West in the hood. They were a dime a dozen, so I know exactly what he’s about - nothing.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s a wealth of both knowledge and intellect in the Black community. Johnny Cochran came out of the hood and so did Colin Powell, Barack and Michelle Obama, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and, Charlie Parker.

Langston Hughes came out of the hood and hell, so did I.

So contrary to what's reflected in the media, a large part of this nation's most valuable resource is lying dormant in the inner cities across this nation, because there, you've got to be sharp just to survive.  

What's generally reflected in the media are the dregs of the Black community. For every 'gangsta' in the hood, there are literally thousands of young people struggling to get ahead. But the problem is, far too many of us have allowed the media to define who we are; so we no longer have respect for our own intelligence.

As a result, many young people tend to have more confidence in the intelligence of people like Cornel West than they have in their own ability to think.

Many of our young people are simply taking the media's word for the fact that Cornel West is supposed to be this powerful intellect instead of actually assessing what West is saying, for themselves.

The problem is they’ve been brainwashed into believing that the White man’s water is wetter than their own. So when they hear the words "Harvard" and "Princeton" connected to Cornel West’s name, they simply assume that he possesses a greater ability to think than they do. And that he can see things that they can't.

That's nonsense and it didn't use to be like that. Brother's used to define themselves based upon their ability to think, not by how 'fresh' their tennis shoes look. In fact, unless they ran track, they didn't even wear tennis shoes. Their primary goal in life was to get away from having to wear tennis shoes.

I remember how much pride my grandparents took in me when I went off to college. And later, when I got my degree, they stopped debating issues with me at altogether.

It was like all of a sudden I went from being one of the kids to becoming the head of the family. I remember my grandmother used to say, "Well, Eric, you’re educated, so you know about all that stuff. We don't understand it."

They didn't understand it? They understood enough to waltz through the Great Depression while White folks were throwing themselves out of windows, and then managed to become financially secure in a world that threw every stumbling block before them that it could muster - and without busting a sweat bubble.

I knew my grandmother was giving me much too much credit, but I didn’t say anything because my young ego had me soppin' up the props. But I knew within my heart that even though I’d gone off and gotten a degree, that she, and especially my grandfather, could think circles around me.  

Even back then, I understood that there was a big difference between innate intelligence and its attendant wisdom and knowledge, as opposed to simply going out and picking up a degree.

You see, if a ghetto kid who dropped out of high school has an IQ of 140, and a brain surgeon has an IQ of 120, due to his education, the brain surgeon may be in possession of more information, but he'll never be able to connect the dots as efficiently as that high school dropout -- because the kid is smarter, and he always will be.

Well, I had enough education to recognize that my grandfather was naturally smarter than me, and regardless of how much education I obtained, he always would be; in fact, he was so smart that he had the wisdom not to humiliate me by ramming that fact home.

Because the fact is, no institution of higher learning can confer either intelligence, knowledge, or wisdom upon any individual.

The only thing that Harvard, Princeton, Yale, or any other institution can confer upon an individual is a receipt indicating that the individual paid his tuition and occupied a seat where knowledge was shared. While the receipt might also indicate that the individual was able to regurgitated the information once or twice, it cannot certify that any of the information was absorbed, or can be effectively manipulated.
So what my grandmother failed to understand was, my degree didn’t certify that they’d taught me to out-think her. The only thing it certified was that I had been exposed to and learned to regurgitate the thoughts of dead White folks. It said absolutely nothing about whether or not I’d learn to think for myself. After all, George W. Bush obtained a receipt from Yale; and we all now have a firsthand knowledge of how little that was worth.

Therefore, it’s important that we in the Black community learn that the very same thing is true of Cornel West, Boyce Watkins, and many other so-called public "intellectuals." While we should have all of the respect in the world for education, we must also have a clear understanding of what constitutes an education.

An education is the consumption of knowledge, regardless of whether we consume that knowledge at Harvard, or at the corner library. Knowledge is knowledge, and it's free. So Harvard's knowledge is no knowledgeable than anyone else's; you just pay more for it, and it comes with public relations support. So if you can't afford to go to college, you seek your knowledge somewhere else.

What most of us fail to understand is, a person cannot be educated. Each individual must educate herself or himself. Therefore, to allow someone else to educate you is not education at all - it's indoctrination.

Thus, while having a string of letters behind one's name makes for an excellent calling card and has immeasurable economic value, it says absolutely nothing about an individual's ability to think.

Titles, robes, badges, and all of the other accouterments of alleged knowledge and stature are society’s way of dictating who we listen to, and that’s not always in our best interest. So unless we’re dealing with a highly specialized area of knowledge --like medicine, for example-- we should never give anyone else’s ability to think priority over our own; because when we allow someone to think for us we're also allowing them to control us.

Simply having influence over the minds of other people is big business. It can be worth literally millions of dollars to any person who can convince you and others to let him control your attitudes, thinking, and behavior. During the 2008 primaries, one preacher in the South charged Hillary Clinton a specific dollar amount for every brain that he controlled in his congregation. 

Tavis Smiley and Cornel West have portrayed President Obama as the Bogeyman.

Can you imagine how much money the billionaires in the Republican Party, if they had the opportunity, would be willing to pay them, not to actually deliver the vote, but to merely keep Black people away from the polls?

(Cornel and Tavis plan to host town halls in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia from September 12 to 15; all critical for the election's outcome)

Cornel West has engaged in the tactic of dividing the vote. West joined forces with Ralph Nader in the 2000 election and helped to get George Bush elected.
But if you confront members of the Nader/West coalition with the fact that they helped to elect George Bush, they’ll immediately begin to obfuscate and engage in intellectual gymnastics in an attempt to avoid responsibility for the horrific fate that they brought upon this country.

They’ll say things like, "It’s not our fault that Gore lost. He just didn’t fight hard enough for a recount." But by using such arguments what they’re actually saying is, "Gore just didn’t work hard enough to undo the damage that we’d done."

But here are the facts: Gore lost the 2000 election to Bush in Florida by 537 votes, and the Nader/West coalition peeled off 97,488 votes from Gore in Florida alone. So don’t take my word for it, you do the math.

The bottom line is this – Cornel West is more than partially responsible for the very poverty that he's reportedly being paid $10,000 a speech to complain about as a result of Gore's defeat; period, and case closed.

That's why back in the hood we used to routinely dismiss people like Cornel West. We recognized them as self-serving individuals who couldn't be trusted, because they would do or say anything to get attention.

So even if we allowed them to hang around, the minute they opened their mouths we’d simply tell ‘em to shut the hell up and that would be that.

But back then, people like West were simply a source of irritation, under the current circumstance, however, West’s propensity for self-service and chasing public attention is in direct conflict with what’s in the best interest of the Black community.

I have a Google Alert on both Tavis and West. I call it the Mutt and Jethro Alert. I'm about to add Boyce Watkins to the Google Alert as well.

One of my primary missions in life has become getting Black people to see Tavis and West for who and what they are: two ruthlessly self-serving and dangerous individuals who crave public attention so desperately that they're willing to drag the entire Black community under a bus to get it.

Think about it.

Tell me one thing that Cornel West has said in his 30 years of public prominence that’s been either profound, or even the least bit memorable?

Let me answer that for you-- not a damn thing. Cornel is best known for two things - slandering the first Black President of the United States and publicly calling his Black female colleague professor, Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, a liar and a fraud.

Never mind that he was grossly disrespectful to the President of the united States, Dr. Harris-Perry, and Black women in general; it got him public attention, and that's all he cared about. This from a "brother" who claims ton love his people; yet, has never taught at a school that the average Black person can even afford to eat lunch at, in his career.

So in the hood we had a rule of thumb regarding people like West - "Never trust a brother who's always trying to be the coolest thing in the room, because he’s putting so much brain power into his image that there’s nothing left for him to think with.

Hood Rat Wisdom 101.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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