Professor Cornel West has expressed his displeasure with more mainstream black academics in the past, but now that Melissa Harris-Perry has her own show on MSNBC it seems that the scholar has ramped up his attacks on her in particular. In a recent interview with Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine, West said of Perry:

“I have a love for the sister, but she is a liar, and I hate lying … she’s become the momentary darling of the liberals, but I pray for her because she’s in over her head. She’s a fake and a fraud. I was so surprised how treacherous the sister was.”

Treacherous? Cornel West has always had a flair for hyperbole, but really?

His claim stems from his belief that she does not speak for the best interests of black America and instead is a liberal plant, put in place to pacify us and mainstream our thinking. He and Tavis Smiley, talk show host and his partner in the “Poverty Tour,” have spoken out many times against Barack Obama and the ways in which he enables economic oppression. Melissa Harris-Perry has been supportive of the administration, also departing from the West-Smiley agenda in that she expresses a more modern, feminist viewpoint.

The crabs in a barrel image comes to mind very quickly here, which is a shame because we really need a united front of black leadership and accusing folks of “treachery” for not snapping into line with any particular agenda cannot lead to that. There’s always room for dissent among our leaders but does it really have to come to this?

Melissa Harris-Perry’s new show premieres on February 18 on MSNBC.

What do you think?




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  • BellaG

    Cornel West has mental issues..Case closed.

  • i think that mhp might be a ‘liberal plant’: she’s clearly in obama’s pocket. that doesn’t mean that west isn’t a self serving caricature of himself using ‘the people’ as a guise for his own ego and entitlement.

    if west is angry about what she wrote in the nation, he should really just be mad at himself. there was nothing at all off-base or below the belt in what mhp wrote. she won that exchange, west came back with stupid attacks and now she’s just moving on to better things.

    like west, early in his career, mhp offers some good insights. and, like west early in his career, i’ll be skeptical of her race performances and alliances.

  • Jealousy, envy, foolishness! These two guys have been in the public eye with their dramatics for years and simply cannot accept Melissa’s success. One day black people will learn to stand together even when there is disagreemenet. That’s one of our biggest problems. Instead of embracing success, they take the “good ole white boys” route that blacks are incompetent, over their head, or lucky. That’s what they say about our President. Please find a barbershop and a dentist and stop your nonsense. Ten years ago they complained that there are no opportunities in media for blacks, now that we see some advancement, they appear to say, OK, you’re right Mr. Charlie, we’re not competent enough to be seen and heard in the National media. I’m not impressed with his big words and theatrics! You’re an embarrassment!