Dr. Cornel West was an honorary guest at Howard University’sbookstore, in Washington, D.C. on September 23 to sign and discusshis book, Democratic Matters: Winning the Fight AgainstImperialism.
The motive for his book, according to West, is that “we are invery deep trouble because we are in the dark, but there is a sourceof light.”
“We [African Americans] must muster thecourage to think critically, the courage to take action and thecourage to hope,” West said to summarize his book.
West empowered the listening crowd to becomeaware of what is going on around them politically. Hedescribed President Bush as dangerous and his running mate Kerry as”milk-toast;” the adjectives used were to arouse critical thinkingabout the characteristics of the two candidates.
Finding your own voice is one way to takedemocratic action says West, but the only way to find your ownvoice is to bounce them off other voices in conversation.
“We live in a nation that has legalizedbribery and normalized corruption,” West said. “Democracy iseveryday people taking back power from the elite who are misusingand abusing power. There is no reason why there are 44million people without healthcare.”
According to West, we need to muster thecourage to care for children because 20 percent of children in thenation’s capital are impoverished, 48 percent of them being Black,and 32 percent white.
He even spoke about the Hip Hop artists whoare publicly becoming involved in the electoral process and saidthat other public figures need to use their fame for somethingbigger than themselves to make a difference in democracy.
“We don’t need anymore constantan Hip Hopartists, but more poetic Hip Hop artists who speak about making adifference, like Kanye West,” stated West.
To end the discussion West touched on thethirst and hunger he has noticed in younger generations forsomething more than material values.
“Today I see a young generation at HowardUniversity and other places who want to pierce through materialism,poverty, and emptiness. You all need to dig deep withinyourselves and connect with others for a cause bigger thanyourselves; and also know your history so you can change yourfuture,” West advised.
West is a professor of Religion and AfricanAmerican Studies at Princeton University in New Jersey. Hehas won numerous awards including the American Book Award and hasearned more than 20 honorary degrees.
Also appearing at the Howard University BookStore this week were Toure’, author of Soul City, on September 23and comedian Wanda Sykes, author of Yeah, I Said It, on September24.