cornel west, michael eric dyson, politics, opinion, Tavis Smiley, Al Sharpton, intellectuals, President Obama,

West Responds To Dyson Article; Elevating The Conversation

Public intellectual and social critic Cornel West responded to Michael Eric Dyson’s article. That didn’t take long, and unlike Dyson’s article, it wont take you long to read in it’s entirety either. Responding to Dyson’s 10,000 word missive on Thursday morning, West comes back, not even mentioning Dyson by name. In three paragraphs on Facebook, West elevates the conversation, centering his response on pressing matters of the day.

“The escalating deaths and sufferings in Black and poor America and the marvelous new militancy in our Ferguson moment should compel us to focus on what really matters: The life and death issues of police murders, poverty, mass incarceration, drones, TPP (unjust trade policies), vast surveillance, decrepit schools, unemployment, Wall Street power, Israeli occupation of Palestinians, Dalit resistance in India, and ecological catastrophe.

Character assassination is the refuge of those who hide and conceal these issues in order to rationalize their own allegiance to the status quo. I am neither a saint nor prophet, but I am a Jesus-loving free Black man in a Great Tradition who intends to be faithful unto death in telling the truth and bearing witness to justice. I am not beholden to any administration, political party, TV channel or financial sponsor because loving suffering and struggling peoples is my point of reference. Deep integrity must trump cheap popularity. Nothing will stop or distract my work and witness, even as I learn from others and try not to hurt others.

But to pursue truth and justice is to live dangerously. In the spirit of John Coltrane’s LOVE SUPREME, let us focus on what really matters: the issues, policies, and realities that affect precious everyday people catching hell and how we can resist the lies and crimes of the status quo!”

Well, and there you have it. Without dropping a dissertation in return, West shows Dyson to be petty, and unfocused on the major issues that affect millions of people. In Dyson’s case, I hope that freelance check was worth it for that TNR hit piece, cause he definitely played himself. West did not match Dyson’s word count, but answered the substantial accusations in a succinct fashion.

The best way to sum this up is, checkmate. Thoughts people?

Editors Note: I resisted the urge to add the words, “You Gon’ Get This Work” over Cornel West’s picture. It’s not magnanimous. *Smile*



  1. Yes West’s response, in my opinion, was all class. I think the bigger issue is why TNR paid Dyson to write this particle. I also have to wonder why West’s “reaction” was on Facebook and not some Black owned platform. It seems Black media is completely out of the loop when it comes to Black spokespeople. We spoke about this issue on our website as well:

  2. I hear you Troy. My issue is with the original article, the intent of the piece factors into where it was published. Would Ebony or Essence lend their platform to the tearing down of another Black intellectual?

  3. I was very disappointed to see that Dyson got an interview in Ebony to ‘defend’ his position. For Ebony, the person who has just performed a 15-20 page hit job really needs another 8 pages to make his final points! It is so blatantly one-sided. No wonder Cornel West calls them sellouts. This is what they are.

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