I found the Cornel West speech rather interesting because of the way that he used his words and his expressions during his speech. Cornel West is one of the leading African American individuals that appeared in a lot of programs. He used to be a professor in Albert and now a professor at Princeton University. He is controversial because he is outspoken and is very engaged socially. “Getting to know Cornel West has been one of the genuine pleasures of my life,” Gates said. “I have never met a person who combines genuine passion for the plight of human beings less fortunate than he with intellectual insight and the capacity on his feet to communicate both that depth of comparison and to propose solutions that would cure the suffering that he is describing (Morrison, 45).
Cornel West brought up several points in his speech that covered a lot of topics in society today. The first topic that West brought upon the audience was about Americans and how they are spoiled and how we don’t have a sense of sentimental history. When we talked about this in discussion, we felt that he meant that American’s focus on the future and don’t dwell on the past. This is unsentimental because we don’t just sit down and think of the past randomly. For example, we just don’t think about historical events even like taking over other countries land or the importance of it. This is because America is only concerned really what is happening presently and in the future. He also brought up another point about America and how we are obsessed with comfort.
When we discussed this point in class, we felt that he meant that America always has to be the best at what is convenient for them. West once described America as a “hotel civilization” – “obsessed with comfort and convenience and contentment.” A hotel is “a fusion of home if you have the cash to pay.” When you leave the room it’s dirty, but when you come back it’s clean. He said that in a hotel you are shielded from the unpleasantness of the world outside the hotel (Morrison, 66-67). I agree with this statement because American’s really do just expect the best all the time if you’re middle and upper class. West states “the twentieth century was the most horrible century in mankind.”
According to the textbook, race is a socially structured category of people who share biologically transmitted traits that members of a society consider important (Macionis, 300). West brings up the topic race in his speech about having a “chocolate city.” These are the young African American men that are jobless because of this time bomb (Marchand, 2011). West also talked about white supremacy in his speech. When West talked about white supremacy, he thought that whites still think they are superior to any race. He felt that it’s not about who is poor or wealthy, it’s about the transcended racial issues (Marchand, 2011). In my opinion, I feel that whites aren’t superior to any other race. According to West, “Now that we have a black president, people think there is no more racism.” I feel that racism still occurs today but it isn’t as bad now as it was in the past. I feel that since Obama is our president now, different races are starting to come together more. Since this speech was spoken ten years ago, racism probably occurred more at that time. According to the textbook, today people are more willing to define themselves as multicultural (Macionis, 302). I think that this is a great thing because people are realizing the importance of different cultures and ethnicities.
West also brings up economy in his speech. Ten years ago, America was economically unstable. This depression caused people to loose their jobs and for most, couldn’t even find jobs. West talks about the connection between private life and public places. In the class discussion, we talked about joint businesses and joint affairs. If a person couldn’t find a job, they should go to new lands because if you stay, you won’t survive (Marchand, 2011). I agree that many people come here to America to look for many jobs and ten years ago most couldn’t find jobs. Today, society is getting better economically and jobs are opening up for all ethnicities. According to the textbook, in the past, white men were the mainstay of the U.S. labor force. However, the nation’s proportion of minorities is rising rapidly such as African American, Hispanics and Asians (Macionis, 340).
West refers to humans to being evil in his speech. When he refers us humans to being evil, he’s talking about humans being homophobic, racist, genocide and more. For example genocide is the systematic killing of one category of people by another (Macionis, 311.) An example of this category of people would be the killing of the Jews just for being Jewish. Humans today are very judgmental and don’t really care that they are really hurting the other person when doing so. West also brings up avoidance and denial amongst humans. For example, if a human sees a black man, they’ll eliminate the word “black” because they feel that would be racist because we are all human. We cannot deny our racial issues because it goes back to our history and civil war (Marchand, 2011). Cornel West is very well qualified to make speeches like this because he is a doctor and comes from a very smart qualified background. He is a professor at Princeton and obtained his M.A. and PhD in Philosophy at Princeton University.
He also used to teach at Yale, Harvard and the University of Paris. He has written nineteen books and edited thirteen books. Some of his best-known books are Race Matters and Democracy Matters. Some television shows that he’s appeared on are the Bill Maher Show, Colbert Report, CNN and C-Span. West I biased on the topics of racism between the blacks and whites and also poverty. Overall, West is a very well educated man that is very daring and courageous, but he is also very racist and for his race which is African American. It was hard talking about some of these ideas that he brought up because I felt very offended when he was comparing us to the African American race and made it seem like white’s thought that they were better the African American’s or any other race. There are several points that West brought up in his speech that made the audience probably think about society today and how we can always better ourselves.
Macionis, J. J. (2011). The School. In Society the basics (11th ed.). Boston: Prentice Hall. (Original work published 2007) Marchand, J. (2011) Class discussion
Morrison, J. (2004). Cornel West. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/ books?id=EcwI2eX_aJYC&pg=PA66&lpg=PA66&dq=are+americans+obsessed+with+their+comfort?+cornel+west&source=bl&ots=2Ln82omrvz&sig=sIpWX9xra_ih74q0qUdfKYy1c80&hl=en&ei=rdWtToTDLYLl0QG07bXNDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CCcQ6AEwBQ#v= onepage&q&f=false