21 Greatest Cornel West Quotes

21 Greatest Cornel West Quotes

by / Comments Off / 568 View / Dec 11, 2014

Cornel West is a academic activist, author, and philosopher from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He grew up the son of a minister and went to Harvard University and then received a Ph. D from Princeton. He was the very first black person to graduate from Princeton with a Ph. D in philosophy. His activism work now focuses on gender and race roles in todays world.

“Analytical philosophy was very interesting. It always struck me as being very interesting and full of tremendous intellectual curiosities. It is wonderful to see the mind at work in such an
intense manner, but, for me, it was still too far removed from my own issues.”

“As long as you’re scared you’re on the plantation.”

“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.”

“I must feel the fire of my soul so my intellectual blues can set others on fire.”

“Like King, we need to put on our cemetery clothes and be coffin-ready for the next great democratic battle.”

“Market moralities and mentalities– fueled by economic imperatives to make a profit at nearly any cost– yield unprecedented levels of loneliness, isolation, and sadness. And our public
life lies in shambles, shot through with icy cynicism and paralyzing pessimism. To put it bluntly, beneath the record-breaking stock markets on Wall Street and bipartisan budget-balancing
deals in the White House lurk ominous clouds of despair across this nation.”

“Nihilism is a natural consequence of a culture (or civilization) ruled and regulated by categories that mask manipulation, mastery and domination of peoples and nature.”

“None of us alone can save the nation or the world. But each of us can make a positive difference if we commit ourselves to do so.”

“Of course, the aim of a constitutional democracy is to safeguard the rights of the minority and avoid the tyranny of the majority.”

“That’s why love is so inseparable from any talk about truth and death, because we know that love is fundamentally a death of an old self that was isolated and the emergence of a new self
now entangled with another self, the self that you fall in love with.”

“The Enlightenment worldview held by Du Bois is ultimately inadequate, and, in many ways, antiquated, for our time. The tragic plight and absurd predicament of Africans here and abroad
requires a more profound interpretation of the human condition — one that goes beyond the false dichotomies of expert knowledge vs. mass ignorance, individual autonomy vs. dogmatic
authority, and self-mastery vs. intolerant tradition.”

“The need of black conservatives to gain the respect of their white peers deeply shapes certain elements of their conservatism. In this regard, they simply want what most people want, to be
judged by the quality of their skills, not by the color of their skin. But the black conservatives overlook the fact that affirmative action policies were political responses to the
pervasive refusal of most white Americans to judge black Americans on that basis.”

“Those who have never despaired have neither lived nor loved. Hope is inseparable from despair. Those of us who truly hope make despair a constant companion whom we out-wrestle every day
owing to our commitment to justice, love, and hope.”

“To accept your country without betraying it, you must love it for that which shows what it might become. America — this monument to the genius of ordinary men and women, this place where
hope becomes capacity, this long, halting turn of ‘no’ into the ‘yes’ — needs citizens who love it enough to re-imagine and re-make it.”

“To be a Christian is to live dangerously, honestly, freely – to step in the name of love as if you may land on nothing, yet to keep on stepping because the something that sustains you no
empire can give you and no empire can take away.”

“To be an intellectual really means to speak a truth that allows suffering to speak.”

“To be great in our times too often means to have great prosperity and no moral magnanimity at all.”

“Too many young folk have addiction to superficial things and not enough conviction for substantial things like justice, truth and love.”

“Without the presence of black people in America, European-Americans would not be “white”– they would be Irish, Italians, Poles, Welsh, and other engaged in class, ethnic, and gender
struggles over resources and identity.”

“You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people, if you don’t serve the people.”

“You can’t move forward until you look back.”