ANALYSIS: Is Anyone Black Enough for Cornel West?

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  • Is anyone black enough for Cornel West?

    Not only is West criticizing President Barack Obama at every turn, but now, for reasons that are unclear, West has taken aim at MSNBC, calling it a “Rent-A-Negro” network and then criticizing Rev. Al Sharpton for being on the “Obama plantation.”

    “I think that it’s been decrepit though, brother. I mean, you get a focus on some of the upper middle class folk. I mean, what I call the ‘rent-a-negro’ phenomenon on MSNBC…’” West told his sidekick, Tavis Smiley, this week on Smiley’s radio program.

    So every black person who appears on MSNBC is not a legitimate African American? Melissa Harris-Perry is a Rent-a-Negro? Eugene Robinson is a Rent-a-Negro? Karen Finney is a Rent-a-Negro? Sharpton is a Rent-a-Negro?

    West, a former Princeton University professor, also complained that Sharpton is on “the Obama plantation”, which keeps Sharpton from criticizing Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

    And why is West so obsessed with references to slavery? Why does every black person who disagrees with West have to be labeled as an Uncle Tom or somehow associated with a “plantation,” or a Stepin Fetchit mentality?

    Why can’t a black person who disagrees with West offer a different opinion without being called a sell out?

    “Deep down in his soul, I think he really does feel a fire, but he can’t allow that fire to in any way spill over toward the White House. Why? Because he’s still too tied, he’s too uncritical, he’s too deferential, he’s too subservient as it were and as long as that’s in place, we’re going to find ourselves unable to tell the fundamental truth,” West said about Obama.

    Here’s how West criticized Obama in an interview in 2011: “I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men.  It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white…When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening.”

    West has the right to criticize Obama, but that’s not the problem: It’s the way West has attacked the president in such a hateful manner that has caused some black Americans to question West’s reasoning and his bizarre behavior.

    West’s comments about MSNBC and Sharpton come one day after West called Obama a “global George Zimmerman” during a rambling critique where West accused Obama of being hypocritical in his response to the Travyon Martin killing and George Zimmerman’s acquittal.

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