Saturday, May 21, 2011

One Rapper's Take on Obama

At first I thought it might be a stretch to put a Cornel West piece on a music blog, but then I realized that the man is a noted MC, so I guess it's okay to post about him on here.

I assume some of you already read about his Obama critiques, most notably that he's a "black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.”

This Washington Post article touches on the fact that West also said: "As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation."

The article then goes on to brilliantly quote this piece in The Nation, wherein the author notes that West "has spent the bulk of his adulthood living in those deeply rooted, culturally rich, historically important black communities of Cambridge, MA and Princeton, NJ."

I certainly think West has some interesting things to say, but he made a total fool of himself with the Obama comments. He seems to completely disregard any component to Washington politics other than Obama himself. It's almost a teenage perspective on government. West is always a good interview subject, but he'd be about as good a president as he is a rapper.


drischord said...

The Nation article also rips into Tavis Smiley. Sounds like there's a history between him and the author. I do think his ego has noticeably swollen in recent years.

Quinapalus said...

As usual, Ta-Nehisi Coates has something interesting to say on the subject:

drischord said...

That was really good. So was the Adam Serwer piece he linked to. This line stuck out to me:

"To some degree this is just a part of adolescence, but most people have grown out of this kind of racial pageantry by middle age. West has not, but perhaps worse, he assumes the president has not."

I was remarking that West seems to have a teenage view of government and politics. And these guys are pointing out that he probably also has a teenage view of race. As Serwer says:

"West demands to know why Obama isn't sitting at the black table in the dining hall, while reminding him that he's only welcome there by his graces. What you eventually learn is that peace is not something the "gatekeepers" have to offer and is the last thing they want you to find."