Another part that caught my eye:
“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West says. “It’s understandable. 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. When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother. When you get a white brother who meets a free, independent black man, they got to be mature to really embrace fully what the brother is saying to them. It’s a tension, given the history. It can be overcome. Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.
“He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want,” he says. “He’s got two homes. He has got his family and whatever challenges go on there, and this other home. Larry Summers blows his mind because he’s so smart. He’s got Establishment connections. He’s embracing me. It is this smartness, this truncated brilliance, that titillates and stimulates brother Barack and makes him feel at home. That is very sad for me.
Cornel West is entitled to define who is truly black and who is not? If I’m going to be politically correct or, better said intellectually honest, I’ll recuse myself for being white to judge this, but I believe it is fair of me to say that is one helluva hand grenade West tossed there. I knew that it would rankle some people. Joan Walsh articulates where all of this has gone pretty well:
The diversity of African-American opinions about the West-Obama tangle has been fascinating. And the ways that race comes into play when debating the achievements of our first black president shouldn’t be surprising. But it’s starting to obscure more than it reveals.