Dr. Cornel West gave host Chris Wallace a talking-to about the context of race and poverty behind the George Floyd protesters' looting.
I don’t think there’s anybody who can out-talk West, a Harvard Divinity School Professor. He certainly seized control of the discussion when he appeared on yesterday’s Fox News Sunday.
West hardly provided an uplifting message. But it was a compelling one. He also made a lot of sense. He did not condone looting but he did provide a sympathetic understanding of its cause.
“We’re dealing with moral meltdown and spiritual breakdown,” West said. But he called “the collapse of the legitimacy of leadership” a “deeper crisis.”
“The problem is we have a system that’s not responding and seems to be unable to respond” to that, West said.
In a rare moment when Wallace was able to get a word in edgewise, he challenged West for calling America “a failed social experiment.” Wallace called that “way too far” given the “substantial progress made with black education and black income and that fact that a black president was elected and re-elected.
“I’m not saying there hasn’t been progress,” West replied. Quoting Malcom X, he added, “You don’t stab folk in the back nine inches, pull it out three inches and say you’re making progress.”
Then he continued.
WEST: I’m talking about the black poor and working class – all poor and working class. … I don’t measure black progress in terms of black elite, how many black faces you have in high places. That’s wonderful, that’s beautiful. I’m concerned about the least of these.
The problem is, we’ve got a system, my brother, that rationalizes legalized loot, Wall Street greed, Wall Street crimes. Legalized murder too often. And keep in mind, when the police kill fellow citizens, they kill white brothers and sisters, too. Their lives are precious, too. That’s wrong, too.
WEST: If we’re more concerned about the property and spillover than the poverty, decrepit school system, dilapidated housing, massive unemployment and under-employment, we’re going to be doing this every five, every 10, every 20 years. …We got to make sure we don’t pass it on to our younger generation.
I'm not a democratic socialist, which West is, but he's always worth listening to.
Watch him below, from the May 31, 2020 Fox News Sunday.