Totally entertaining video of Cornel West critiquing Ta-Nehesi Coates. Because Ta-Nehesi equated Barack Obama and Malcolm X. Worth a quick watch. https://www.theroot.com/watch-cornel-west-gets-real-about-his-beef-with-ta-neh-1821403221
I think there is truth to both of these articles. I haven't read Coates much so I don't know how accurate West's critiques are. I read West's piece in the Guardian and I guess I didn't see it as a personal attack as much of a very harsh critique that might be mis-representing some of of Coates's views, and it doesn't seem to come from a spirit of dialogue, more scolding. I heard Coates interviewed on the Intercept and thought he sounded pretty thoughtful, grappling with the imperialism question. I just hate how every disagreement becomes thing big drama about personalities and ego on the internet. I think it's a way to avoid the substance of what people are saying. And I think Coates should write a rebuttal that in longform, not on twitter.
This article pretty well sums up my feeling about this conflict. http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2017/12/on_cornel_west_s_reckless_disappointing_broadside_against_ta_nehisi_coates.html?wpsrc=sh_all_dt_fb_ru
I appreciate that, Rinku. Sounds like wise words to keep in mind for all communications. Also I appreciate your implication (if I am hearing you right. Am I?) that we need to nurture our young. Coates is already taking a lot of heat. I am not advocating for West to be silent or inauthentic, though. Even if done regrettably, I think it's important for critics to speak out. I also agree that meanness and personal attacks have no place in our movement community. I didn't realize how much hubbub had happened around this topic when I posted. It seems like white critics and almost everyone has jumped on West's bandwagon which feels like way too much. I would love for our blessed community to lift each other up, even when we disagree.
I don't disagree with the two of you, but I'm not down with Dr. West's pattern of going after young, prominent Black intellectuals. He's mean and personal about it, so it is, in fact, hard to take the substantive critique seriously. Numerous people have responded to this one, including an even-toned Coates (until he could take no more and deleted his Twitter account). Good critique requires discipline.
What a great point, Chaiti. I appreciate the reminder. Many's the time I have found myself in what feels like a personal conflict but is really a structural defect due to racism, sexism and the like. Also, I really appreciate hearing Cornel West's dissent. It feels like a beacon of hope to me in a sea of pro-Obama propaganda. I really like what West said about "we come from a culture that wants to lift EVERY voice". Wouldn't that be a wonderful reality.
I think we are conditioned in this society to reduce ideological differences to personal gripes. West and Coates are coming at things differently and it would be interesting for them to discuss the content of their ideas. It's not a personal attack, it's a disagreement and people should engage with the ideas in it, not the drama of it.