Cornel West, the prominent Princeton University professor and civil rights activist, claims that blacks are again being pushed to be back of the bus while gays are moving forward in society under Obama.
West made these comments on the Smiley & West radio show in the context of last week’s US Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage.
The professor told co-host Tavis Smiley that he applauded the Supreme Court decisions which he termed a magnificent triumph for gay rights, but he also added the following reservation:
“We’re living in an age where we black folk are just being pushed to the back of the bus in terms of our visibility in terms of our suffering in terms of the intensity of our exclusion, especially our poor black youth, especially, with the new Jim Crow and so on. And we have to be honest about that. Again this has something to do of course with what history books will say. The irony of the age of Obama in which black folks found themselves pushed to the back, our gay brothers and lesbian sisters more and more pushed to the center.”
He added that the gay marriage/DOMA decision puts in him the same camp as former VP Dick Cheney which makes him very uncomfortable. He and Cheney don’t agree on much of anything other than that gays should be treated with dignity, West noted.
West also lamented that in the same week that the high court validated gay rights it “gutted” the Voting Rights Act.
You can listen to the entire podcast discussion of the Supreme Court decisions here.
An erstwhile Obama supporter, West has been vocal in his criticism of the president in various policy areas, including the drone policy which he considers a war crime. In a February discussion with Smiley, West had to this to say about the overseas deployment of lethal drones:
‘…We’ve been talking about this for a good while, the immorality of drones, dropping bombs on innocent people, it’s been over 200 children so far. These are war crimes. I think we have to be very honest, let us not be deceived — Nixon, Bush, Obama, they’re war criminals. They have killed innocent people in the name of the struggle for freedom, but they’re suspending the law, very much like Wall Street criminals. The law is suspended for them, but the law applies for the rest of us. If you and I, brother Tavis, if we kill an innocent person, we’re going to jail.”
Do you agree or disagree with Cornel West’s point of view on either of these issues?