Dr. Cornel West rocks Saint Sabina with righteous truth

By Chinta Strausberg
Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West shakes up Saint Sabina with righteous truth calling Father Michael L. Pfleger his “soul-mate, soul companion” who works with him “at the cross, in the blood, with a smile, throwing down for justice”…. and detailing black history like no other can.
West acknowledged many people including Ariel President John Rogers, Dorian Carter from Ariel, Senator Jacqueline Collins, activist Wallace “Gator” Bradley, Leonard Langston, and many others.
West said he still hasn’t gotten over the death of 70-year-old Nick Ashford of Motown and Soul Train’s Don Cornelius and others.  “There is a sense in which we were losing them before they die because the very tradition that they were absenting is being pushed to the margins and the peripheral.”
He spoke of Whitney Houston as being “high-level genius” and not just talent and one who was “good looking.” These days, Dr. West said, talent is not just based on talent. Referring to Houston, he said she was a “good looking  black sister. These days if you don’t look a certain way you hardly even have a chance to become a star,” said West.
Saying some talent today is predicated on anything but talent, West said, “It’s a cultural superficial spectacle and it’s all about titillation, stimulation…so you may have your body stimulated but your soul may not be stirred but as long as they got your money…then all they want is success.”
West said he has gangster in him and he still has “gangster proclivity. Nothing but the blood turned me around, but I can still break loose any moment. Ain’t nothing but the Holy Ghost holding me together.”
Saying he has been covered with the word by his mother and others, West said he is “full of righteous indignation like Jesus in the temple I can’t stand the fact that so many folks are catching hell and not enough people care about that….concerned about that.”
Referring to Black history, West asked, “Where is the love? Who really cares”? “Who is willing to pay a price? It’s not about popularity.”
West also spoke about the wars saying we should not be killing the daughters and sons. “Collective punishment is immoral. It’s illegal. I don’t care what color the President is. Ordering the bombs is wrong.”
Looking back at black leaders like Frederick Douglas, Ida B. Wells, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., West said, “ When you look at those firing prophetic figures, they are the leaven in the American Democratic loaf. There would be no American democracy without Fredrick Douglas, without Ida B. Wells, without Dr. Martin Luther King,….”
Referring to some blacks who may have felt hating whites would be the right thing to do after they enslaved African Americans, West said that would not be acceptable. “They said no. Not at all. We’re not gangsters. Even if we’re defeated for the moment, we will have our dignity and our magnanimity. We’d rather have some sense of morality than win and be thought to be like them. That is a fundamental lesson
of black history even in this highly confused age,” he stated.
Dr. West what is needed today is free speech by people who are willing “to pay any cost because as you bear witness it gets you in contact with the tradition that produced you and like the Sankofa bird you refuse to move forward without moving backwards first to get connected to your source so that your roots become the very winds on your back.
“We need more free speech, plain speech, frank speech, too much deodorized speech. I want to keep it funky,” said West explaining that is why he keeps company with Bootsy Collins, an American funk bassist, singer and song writer.
He also criticized the New York Police department for allegedly shooting 18-year-old Marley Graham, who did not have a gun, in the Bronx earlier this month after he ran into his home. West said Graham was shot for allegedly having marijuana. “Now, you get that kind of surveillance for a marijuana bag and yet we have a major catastrophe on Wall Street and they can’t investigate or prosecute one of the gangsters or criminals who engaged in predatory lending, market manipulation, insider trading. That is how racist the criminal justice system is,” he bellowed.
“”We’re in deep trouble…,” he said. “
The poor are being left behind, West said. “Who eats on K Street as a lobbyist for poor children, for the poor widows, for working people? Well, we have trade unions. That’s only 11 percent. Democracy becomes an oligarchy. One percent at the top. Thank God of the Occupied Movement. They have the courage to stand up. We’re tired of the corporate greed. We’re tied of the roll of big money in politics. We’re tired of arbitrary military power against the week.”
“A lot of folk in the black community” say, “well, it looks too vanilla for me.” “Anybody who speaks the truth and willing to bear witness for the weak and vulnerable, Christians ought to be right there. Not black enough for you? Blackness is not a moral category. If folk are talking about people, you’re pushing. Are you just talking about the poor on the vanilla side? What about those on the reservations, our indigenous brothers and sisters? What about the brown brothers and sisters? What about the yellow brothers and sisters? What about the black ones”?
When people ask about student loans, West said, “ They are upset because investment banks that are sitting on $2.3 trillion dollars at this very moment have assets to interest free loans but students must pay 21 percent interest on their loans. That is not fair. That is not just. They have a right to be deeply upset about that, and we ought to be upset about some of the loans we have to take in terms of the interest, but we get played off each other so easily.”
Speaking of blacks who fought for our rights and have died, West said, “those who came before had an integrity. They were never up for sale whether you agreed with them politically or ideologically. Angela Davis was a Communist. I’m a Christian. I love her because she was never up for sale. That is the kind of Christianity we need and that is the only way we’re going to keep the blessed black history alive.”
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.