Cornel West
Harvard University
On November 18, 1994, academic, activist, and philosopher Cornel West addressed the National Alliance of Black School Educators at a conference in the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Dr. West’s speech, captured in this video recording, focuses on the experience of African Americans in America, a culture that, according to West, is steeped in the “pernicious and vicious” influence of white supremacy. West argues that 1994 is one of the “more frightening and terrifying moments” in the history of the United States, and he laments the election of Newt Gingrich as well as the leadership positions of such figures as Strom Thurmond and Orrin Hatch. He urges the audience to adopt an approach to democratizing American politics by not only resisting white supremacy but also male supremacy, heterosexual supremacy, and any other attitude that dehumanizes other people. West also deplores the decline of “non-market values” such as kindness, community, and love, contending that “market culture” leads to “market morality,” in which every part of human life is commodified.
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