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Race Matters by Cornel West


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I just read through Race Matters by the Princeton professor, Cornel West. I enjoyed reading it and am curious about what others think of this book?

He has a chapter devoted to Black Leadership in which he pretty much defines what a Black leader of today (it was written in the 90's, but still, today) should consist of:

"THE CRISIS IN BLACK LEADERSHIP can be remedied only if we candidly confront its exizstence. We need national forums to reflect, discuss, and plan how best to respond. It is neither a matter of a new Messiah figure emerging, nor of another organization appearing on the scene. Rather, it is a matter of grasping the structural and institutional processes that have disenfranchised, deformed and devistated black America such that the resources for nurturing collective and critical consciousness, moral committment, and courageous engagement are vastly underdeveloped. We need serious strategic and tactical thinking about how to create new models of leadership and forge the kind of persons to actualize these models. These models must not only question our silent assumptions about black leadership - such as the notion that black leaders are always middle-class - but also force us to interrogate iconic figures of the past. This includes questioning King's sexism and homophobia and the relatively undemonic character of his organization, and examining Malcom's silence on the vicious role of priestly versions of Islam in the modern world. "

He continues,

"To be a serious black leader is to be a race-transcending prophet who critiques the powers that be (including the black component of the Establishment) and who puts forward a vision of fundamental social change for all who suffer from socially induced misery. "

He talks about other topics in the book as well, but I'm interested in discussing different opinions on the book and things you agree with and/or disagree with. And if anybody wants to compare/contrast it with other books, that'd be nice too.

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To me this seems to have been written by an illiterate:

"...new models of leadership and forge the kind of persons to actualize these models..."

what the hell kind of phrase is that? Actualize?

Why quarrel over syntax? Lets discusss the semantics of it. He's just saying that

We need serious strategic and tactical thinking about how to create new models of leadership

and

We need serious strategic and tactical thinking about how to forge the kind of persons to actualize these models.

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Cornell West is a leftist radical. Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister. West calls him a "homophobe". That tells you all you need to know. Throw his crap in the trash bin and move on.

Dean Collins has it right. The number one cause of the majority of problems in the black community is the destruction of the family, and the resulting 70% out of wedlock birth rate. If you look at statistics of black kids with two married parents living in the same home, there is almost no disparity with the rest of the population. Lack of education, crime, drugs and poverty all flow directly from the lack of stable two parent families.

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Do blacks want to follow a leader such as Bill Cosby who advocates more parental involvement, or someone such as Jesse Jackson who has never met a camera he didn't like?

I don't think they want to follow Cosby because he hit them with what a lot of people think but don't say. Jackson just wants to mollycoddle them.

I also find it the irony in this post about parental involvement and Jesse Jackson :laugh: :laugh: Didn't he have some kids with another woman while he was married or something?

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Do blacks want to follow a leader such as Bill Cosby who advocates more parental involvement, or someone such as Jesse Jackson who has never met a camera he didn't like?

The way you're making it is like West is advocating for a 'President of Black America'. This is not what he's talking about.

The issue he brings to the table is that too many of the leaders of today either try to just ignore the problems of race relations in America, or they focus solely on them and try to use them as their stepladder into success; in particular we have too many people who try to be the 'president of black america,' while ignoring the means of speaking only of the isses that are Politically correct to talk about.

I mean, the honesty of Cosby in his remarks was something true about america today. However, the lack of charisma with which he gave them made him seem as a negative person towards Black America. Why cab't people emerge who, as Cosby did, are not afraid of talking about the 'other' issues; but at the same time a guy who knows how to talk in front of a camera and how to talk about the lack of education in a segment of Black America without calling them stupid.

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Cornell West is a leftist radical. Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister. West calls him a "homophobe". That tells you all you need to know. Throw his crap in the trash bin and move on.

Dean Collins has it right. The number one cause of the majority of problems in the black community is the destruction of the family, and the resulting 70% out of wedlock birth rate. If you look at statistics of black kids with two married parents living in the same home, there is almost no disparity with the rest of the population. Lack of education, crime, drugs and poverty all flow directly from the lack of stable two parent families.

Has the black family ever been intact ? Seems like the same problems that exist now existed back when black families were first brought here and broken up and subsequently sold.

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Cornell West is a leftist radical. Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister. West calls him a "homophobe". That tells you all you need to know. Throw his crap in the trash bin and move on.

Dean Collins has it right. The number one cause of the majority of problems in the black community is the destruction of the family, and the resulting 70% out of wedlock birth rate. If you look at statistics of black kids with two married parents living in the same home, there is almost no disparity with the rest of the population. Lack of education, crime, drugs and poverty all flow directly from the lack of stable two parent families.

Well, see...Here you're reading a little too much into that one word West used. West had a chapter where he gave praise to King for his style and many other aspects of Dr. King that many leaders today lack. He did in his last chapter say,

These modern models must not only question our silent assumptions about black leadership - such as the notion that black leaders are always middle class - but must also force us to interrogate iconic figures of the past. This includes questioning King's sexism and homophobia and the relatively undemocratic character of his organization, and examining Malcolm's silence on the vicious role of priestly versions of Islam in the modern world.

He's saying that even though there are people that Black America sees as great people of the past, the leaders of today should not be afraid to question their actions as if they could do no wrong.

I don't necessarily agree with his statements about King being "homophobic" (my lack of references on the subject would make me too uninformed to come to a concrete conclusion); but I do agree that the people of the past need to have their policies inspected so that leaders of today can build policies which are improvements based on the leaders of yesterday.

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The more leaders the better, the more education the better. The less vitriol and hate at Leaders (Rice, Powell, Steel, etc.) by other leaders would be great also.

Everything starts with education, there are quite a few issues brought up each year that seem ludicrous compared to the public education of inner cities. Which is one of the main reasons I bring up the achievable dream in Newport being tried in ANY other city like Ward 8 in D.C. to see if it works and then work towards making whatever comes out of that state by state..... (THAT will fix 60% of the problem right there!).

*Note* I believe ripping families apart from the outside can create family overall as opposed to voluntarily doing which breaks the family overall, but thats just my immediate thought looking at the post....

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Cornell West is a leftist radical. Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister. West calls him a "homophobe". That tells you all you need to know. Throw his crap in the trash bin and move on.

Dean Collins has it right. The number one cause of the majority of problems in the black community is the destruction of the family, and the resulting 70% out of wedlock birth rate. If you look at statistics of black kids with two married parents living in the same home, there is almost no disparity with the rest of the population. Lack of education, crime, drugs and poverty all flow directly from the lack of stable two parent families.

I was reading a book called "Losing the race" by John Mcwhorter and he names stats that agree with the statement you just made. It was something on the level of two parent black families were doing just as well as two parent white families. So I agree that a primary focus needs to be on rebuilding the Black family.

But the breakdown of the Black family is not an easy "flip-a-switch" problem. I mean, the problems of death, disease, divorce, drugs, and a lot of other things are leading to the separation in Black America. So we cannot talk about 'fixing' the Black Family without 'fixing' these other problems as well.

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True, but that doesn't mean that they are the ONLY leaders one should have. Proverbs says that A wise man seeks to discuss and learn more rather than just to state his opinion.

One of our Country's biggest failures is the lack of education, in the school system, with regards to relationships and parenting. Some would argue that these skills should be taught at home by the parents. Agreed. But with the considerable amount of children being born out of wedlock, and a 50% divorce rate, proper role modeling usually isn't available.

Others will argue about the content of such education, and culturally, this is the largest obstacle. Multible styles of approaches to disapline would have to be presented, for example. But anyone who still thinks that most maladapted adult problems (crime, addictions, unemployment...) are not a direct result of poor parenting, ala Nature>Nuture, needs to study psychology, and statistics. Consider this, a child's personality is almost completely formed by age two. And children are amoral until around the age of 8.

You can't lead a horse with broken legs out of death valley. To think that

a couple a charasmatic individuals can make a difference with a few inspirational speaches is ridiculous. Kids are not going to indentify with these people. They are identifying with musicians, athletes, thier parents, and thier piers. And once they become teens and adults, it's very hard to change thier belief systems. And if you are a well adjusted successful adult, you will probably not relate or understand the mentality of those that aren't so how could you lead them?

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A kid without proper parenting, is like a dog without being trained.

They will just do what they feel like.

But you're acting like parents say "I'm not gonna be a good parent!" Thats not the case at all. The problems regarding parenting are directly connected to the problems with drugs, murder, divorce and other problems as well.

If it were as simple as sending parents to a class on parenting, I dont think the problems would be as serious, but how can a parent be a good parent if that parent is actually on drugs?

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I don't think the schools have the time or money to raise unparented kids(wether they live with their parents or not).

With thinking like that, you are basicly trying to replace the parent. Because that's what it will take.

I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about.

Even for the kids with parents, there are problems if those parents are bad parents. Thats a serious problem since we have the influence of drugs and violence on many of the parents, thus having a direct and indirect impact on the kids.

Even if the option of replacing the parent was one that I supported, do you realize the problems with adoption in america as it is? I mean, what you'd be doing is just putting a bunch of kids into a foster home so that like 20 people can watch over like 2000 kids. Yeah, thats a much better situation???

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But you're acting like parents say "I'm not gonna be a good parent!" Thats not the case at all. The problems regarding parenting are directly connected to the problems with drugs, murder, divorce and other problems as well.

If it were as simple as sending parents to a class on parenting, I dont think the problems would be as serious, but how can a parent be a good parent if that parent is actually on drugs?

No parent sets out to be a bad parent. But how they ultimately become can only be blamed on them, or credited to them if they do good.

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Bingo.

No need to waste any more time with that shat.

The problem with the threads I normally start is that I'll ask a question and the haters will always come out in full force and make me look stupid for even suggesting the idea. I wouldn't be suprised if a moderator came in and said that my title was too excessive, as they did last time.

Maybe this isn't the place to discuss the issue. It'd be nice to be able to filter the stupid remarks so that we could try to have an intelligent discussion. But I guess having high expectations for the members here at Extremeskins.com is a bad idea.

My mistake.

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But I guess having high expectations for the members here at Extremeskins.com is a bad idea.

My mistake.

I understand you may feel persecuted, but calling out the message board you are trying to have discussions on is not the answer. :rolleyes:

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The problem with the threads I normally start is that I'll ask a question and the haters will always come out in full force and make me look stupid for even suggesting the idea. I wouldn't be suprised if a moderator came in and said that my title was too excessive, as they did last time.

Maybe this isn't the place to discuss the issue. It'd be nice to be able to filter the stupid remarks so that we could try to have an intelligent discussion. But I guess having high expectations for the members here at Extremeskins.com is a bad idea.

My mistake.

Where did anyone make you look stupid? People are giving their opinions, you don't like them? What expectations did you have?

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I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about.

Even for the kids with parents, there are problems if those parents are bad parents. Thats a serious problem since we have the influence of drugs and violence on many of the parents, thus having a direct and indirect impact on the kids.

Even if the option of replacing the parent was one that I supported, do you realize the problems with adoption in america as it is? I mean, what you'd be doing is just putting a bunch of kids into a foster home so that like 20 people can watch over like 2000 kids. Yeah, thats a much better situation???

I didn't say replace the parents. I said that would take too much time and money.

It's not an easy problem to fix.

One thing we as a society needs to do, is stand up and say what's right and wrong.

Even tell some people "Hey listen, I don't want to see you go down with drugs. So I can't be around you any more like this. Call me when you sober up."

At the same time everyone should get involved in the community.

Church is one great institution that does help in building a better society.

Big Brother programs.

Basicly anything that helps make this world better place. Every little bit helps.

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Has the black family ever been intact ? Seems like the same problems that exist now existed back when black families were first brought here and broken up and subsequently sold.

It's not like an out of control domino effect. The problem can be fixed very effectivly. But that takes action on the part of the individual to want to change.

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