A lot of people ask me why I’m so fixated 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.
So 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 fools like Cornel West than they have in their own ability to think.