Although they may have accepted the invitation, ideological allies Cornel West & Tavis Smiley were none too pleased to reply to GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s recent commentary on modern racism in the US.

While speaking with CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday, Cain uttered, “I don’t believe racism in this country today, holds anybody back in a major way.” Cain went on to blame a weak economy for most of the troubles plaguing the Black community. He continued,

“I have seen blacks in middle management move up to top management in some of the biggest corporations in America,” the candidate explained. “They weren’t held back because of racism. No, people sometimes hold themselves back because they want to use racism as excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve.”

First up for response was Cornel West who pretty much referred to the GOP hopeful as an ill-advised basehead:

“Well, black people have been working hard for decades… I think he needs to get off the symbolic crack pipe and acknowledge that the evidence is overwhelming. And I think he also knows that if brother Anthony Davis — a brother who was just put to death — were a white Wall Street banker brother, that the response in the nation would have been very different as opposed to a poor black brother.”

CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux drew some ire when eliciting a response from Tavis Smiley. The advocate for African American affairs said Cain is simply speaking directly to his right wing base, and accused cable networks, including CNN, for falling for old “the banana in the tailpipe” trick.

“It just troubles me, respectfully Suzanne, that CNN and MSNBC and Fox News and all these cable channels go for this nonsense. They fall for — if I can quote Eddie Murphy — you fall for the banana in the tailpipe, and every time that Herman Cain says something ridiculous or crazy, blaming poor people for being poor, calling protesters anti-capitalist or suggesting that racism doesn’t hold people back… There is racial disparity based upon race, in every aspect of human our human endeavors in this country there is a racial disparity element that is a part of it – it’s almost silly to respond to it because the evidence is so overwhelming.”

On the defense Malveaux countered, “Well, Tavis, I certainly don’t think that CNN is falling for anything by simply bringing up this discussion… That’s his point of view and he certainly is rising in the polls among the Republican candidates there.”

Obviously heated, Smiley interrupted the CNN host to explain, “My point, respectfully, anyone who listens to what Herman Cain says and asks a question, ‘Does he have a point?’ A point about what?” Smiley asked. “The numbers — it’s so evident. It’s so abundantly clear. There’s such great clarity here that race is still a factor. You covered the president in the White House. Why does President Obama have a Secret Service detail that there’s no comparison in history for any president… and we’re talking about whether he has a point about racism in America, Suzanne?”


Peep the entire clip of the CNN Newsroom discussion:

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