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Michael Eric Dyson has a bone to pick with Cornel West. But some think that 10,000 words was a bit much and overkill. In a post for The New Republic, Dyson aired his grievances against his former friend, Cornel West. Dyson basically labeled West angry and although once a great academic, has let his bitterness towards President Obama destroy him.

From The New Republic:

West’s aggressions brought me great sorrow. In his anger toward me I was forced, for the first time, to entertain seriously the wild accusations levied against him: that he was consumed with jealousy of Obama, that he simply couldn’t abide the rise of a figure who eclipsed most other black personalities for the time being and who, for many, even competed with King for recognition as the “greatest black man in American history.” I still don’t buy those theories, but I do think West’s deep loathing of Obama draws on some profoundly personal energy that is ultimately irrational—it’s a species of antipathy that no political difference could ever explain. It is sad to think that West aimed at me because my criticism failed to comport with his shrill and manic dispute with the president; our lost friendship is the collateral damage of his war on Obama.
West has sacrificed friendships and cut ties with former comrades because he insists that only outright denunciation of Obama will do. It is a colossal loss for such a gifted man to surrender to unheroic truculence: If a mind is a terrible thing to waste, then the loss of a brilliant black mind is more terrible, more wasteful. At precisely the moment when we could use the old West’s formidable analytical skills to grapple with the myriad polarities that glut the political horizon, the new West, already in the clutches of a fateful denouement, has instead sought the empty solace of emotional catharsis.
If West was once Tyson in his glory, he is Tyson, too, in his infamy. Once great, once dominant, once feared, he is now a faint echo of himself. Like Iron Mike, West is given to biting our ears with personal attacks rather than bending our minds with fresh and powerful scholarship.

Some people took issue to the airing of Dyson’s dirty laundry on The New Republic and how shouldn’t have the need to take jabs at a former friend.


Clutchettes, what do you think about Dyson’s essay?


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  • bigups

    There’s a viciousness, a teeth-sucking, eyerolling disparagement of each other that runs rampant through African-American culture. From the fact that my black middle school students revel in videos of their pairs whipping each other’s asses to the art form called “the dozens” that is unmatched in the comment sections of black gossip columns to the infinite supply of black women on TV tryin to snatch each other by their hair and bring each other down wtih such arfully stinging vocabularies, (THOT, jump-off…) and with such a comfort with violence. This is why West should have been more cautious in his attack on the president because he knew that a black president who has been everything but lynched by right-wing congress and tea party operatives, was going to be squeezed in from the other side by the self-defeating voice of the black street. But West has not demonstrated wisdom, not at all. Sigh. If anything is encouraging, it’s pictures of Michelle, her husband and daughters together as a family somehow transcending the feral assault that they are under from both sides.

  • Chazz A

    The disagreement between these two well educated black men should have never taken place on a public platform. Instead, they should have sat down and had a private face to face discussion, like we all used to do back in the day.
    The title of this article seems to reduce Dr West and Dr Dyson to characters similar to the ones on those ridiculous reality shows. Nothing positive will come from bantering one another SMH


    Cornel West acts like a douchebag. Sometimes. Barack Obama is the POTUS not the POBA. Goddamn it!

    • BSuga

      On contrary he is the President of Black America, just like White America, Latino America, Asian America,Jewish America, etc. Why is advocating for Black people met with dismissive responses from him and his supporters that he’s not the President of Black America? Who asked to be? When Latinos were questioning him about immigration he did not respond I am not the President of Latino America. Why? When LGBT wanted DOMA dismantled he didn’t day I am not the President of LGBT America? Are Black people not allowed to call his attention to issues that affect us ( his most loyal) base)?The Black community deserve the same degree of legitimacy as every other group that is being consistently patronized by the White House and advocating for their group’s self interest. He would NEVER and HAS NEVER said this to any other group. And the fact that people use this as some kind of defense is just, sad.

  • /.

    It’s generational.