Don’t Go Cornel West, Young Man

Former Harvard University and current Princeton University professor Cornel West is a made moron.

From Mediaite:

Prof. Cornel West Tells Ed Schultz That President Obama Is ‘Afraid Of Free Black Men’

On [Wednesday’s] The Ed Show, host Ed Schultz invited Princeton University’s Professor Cornel West onto the show to “grade the president” on his accomplishments – and his shortcomings – so far. West had previously made a few rather attention-grabbing comments about the President that appeared on, including that Obama “lacks backbone,” that he is a “black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs” and a “black puppet of corporate plutocrats” in addition to being the “head of the American killing machine.”

That’s just idiotic.

But more dangerous is this, from Yvonne Abraham’s Sunday Boston Globe column:

This is absolute buffoonery, especially since it comes from a man cosseted in the Ivy League for decades. It would all be laughably over the top, except for the fact that West’s darts reach way beyond his frenemy-in-chief, and right into our neighborhoods.

His comments made me think of the delightful fourth grade boys I met last month. The kids, from Roslindale’s Conley Elementary School, went to Harvard as part of a Boston public schools initiative called Impact 300. The point of the trip was to show African-American boys, who trail every other group in the schools academically, that they can aspire to college educations.

When some of those boys get to middle and high school, they’ll face a phenomenon called “acting white,’’ the perception that if they excel in school, they’re somehow less black.

Abraham cites several specialiists who reinforce her position:

Roland Fryer, Harvard economics professor, has found that black male high achievers have notably fewer friends in school than their peers. And Kennedy School education specialist Ronald Ferguson, who addressed the kids at Harvard (“Any place in the world that you’re interested in is where you’re supposed to be’’), has found that just the fear of being seen as acting white is enough to distort young people’s behaviors, including making them less willing to express a desire to excel academically.

Obama raised this issue here in his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, saying we must “eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white.’’

But it’s not just liberals who are boarding this bandwagon. From the Weekly Standard’s review of Ron Christie’s new book, Acting White, The Curious History of a Racial Slur:

A strong and destructive internal attitude impedes black accomplishment. And this attitude is encapsulated, Christie says, in the high-school taunt “acting white,” aimed by black students at peers who pay attention in class and do their homework. When “hard work, diligent study, and eloquent communication skills” become cause for derision and abuse, the result is a powerful deterrent to success. It is a phenomenon based on a misguided notion of group loyalty. Its strength resides in a fear of ostracism.

Strong and destructive, indeed.

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