Cornel West is one of the most publicly known philosophers today, and perhaps the most well known African American philosopher. While West has taught at Harvard, Princeton and Yale, he is also a very active social commentator and political activist. His writings tend to deal with relevant real world issues — in his books, he has analyzed wide ranging social problems having to do with race, class and justice.
Many of his main beliefs stem from his Christian background, which he mixes with his belief in democratic socialism, a somewhat rare combination. Growing up he was influenced largely by the church his family attended, but also by the Black Panther Party and the writings of Karl Marx. West has sometimes come into conflict with administrators because of his activism, which eventually led to his resignation at Harvard.
Interesting Facts About Cornel West
- Do you know that the first African American who earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University was Cornel West?
- In 2001, he taught at Harvard University. Due to the dispute between him and Lawrence Summers, the then president of Harvard University, he left the university. The dispute was highly publicized. When he was in Harvard, he taught an introductory class on African-American studies.
- After he ended his teaching career in Harvard, he was in Princeton as Professor of African American studies until 2011.
- The role of race, gender and class in American society is always used as the main theme in various works of West. There are various traditions that contributed to his understanding such as transcendentalism, neopragmatism, black church, Christianity and Marxism.
- West also appears in various programs like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Real Time with Bill Maher as a commentator related to the social and political issues.
- You can see his appearance in some Hollywood movies like The Matrix Revolutions and The Matrix Reloaded.
Famous Quotes By Cornel West
- We have to recognise that there cannot be relationships unless there is commitment, unless there is loyalty, unless there is love, patience, persistence.
- Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.
- 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.
- I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.
- I have tried to be a man of letters in love with ideas in order to be a wiser and more loving person, hoping to leave the world just a little better than I found it.
- You must let suffering speak, if you want to hear the truth.
- Of course, the aim of a constitutional democracy is to safeguard the rights of the minority and avoid the tyranny of the majority.
- I must feel the fire of my soul so my intellectual blues can set others on fire.
- You can’t really move forward until you look back.
- 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.
- In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.