September 12, 2013
By Blair Adams
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
One of the most opinionated political commentators, Dr. Cornel West, has incited a new round of controversy by calling Rev. Al Sharpton a “Bonafide House Negro of the Obama Plantation.”
During an Aug. 30 interview with radio host Tavis Smiley, West spoke of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. He said the celebration included some wonderful speakers, but most of the country didn’t get a chance to hear them because speeches made by Sharpton and President Barack Obama “sanitized” Dr.Martin Luther King’s vision.
“Instead, we saw of course the coronation of the bonafidehouse negro of the Obama plantation, our dear brother Al Sharpton, supported by the Michael Dysons and others who’ve really prostituted themselves intellectually in a very ugly and vicious way,” West said of Sharpton’s speech.
West said the anniversary of the March on Washington was a beautiful thing. “I was there in D.C. to see the magnificent expression of, like, faces and sparkling eyes of everyday people of all colors, hungry, thirsty for justice, hungry, thirsty for truth.”
“Brother Martin himself, I think, would’ve been turning over in his grave,” West said. “King would have wanted people to talk about Wall Street criminality, he wants people to talk about war crimes, or drones dropping bombs on innocent people.”
West’s comments call back to an April 30, 1967 speech by King entitled “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam”, in which the civil rights leader said:
“I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.”
The hostility between West and Sharpton is nothing new. During a July interview on Democracy Now, West referred to Sharpton, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry as being “brought and paid for by the Rent-a-Negro network.”
According to audio found on Mediaite, West said, “if this anniversary happened during the Clinton presidency we would have seen the same thing.”
“Martin Luther King Jr. would just shed tears if he could see Black leadership personified by Sharpton at this point in time,” said West.
“Black leadership is just so sold out, it’s so bought out, it’s so differential and it’s so subservient,” he added.