Dr. Cornel West: 'Nothing Will Stop or Distract My Work'

Dr. Cornel West: 'Nothing Will Stop or Distract My Work'

Amid Dr. Michael Eric Dyson's recent controversial profile "The Ghost Dr. Cornel West" in the New Republic, West says he wants to focus on "what really matters" and that he will not be distracted by anyone attempting to assassinate his character.

Published April 23, 2015

Dr. Cornel West made it clear Thursday that he will not take his eyes off the prize amid a controversial profile written about him in The New Republic by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, his former friend and mentee.

"The escalating deaths and sufferings in Black and poor America and the marvelous new militancy in our Ferguson moment should compel us to focus on what really matters," said West in a statement on his Facebook page.  

He continued, "The life and death issues of police murders, poverty, mass incarceration, drones, TPP (unjust trade policies), vast surveillance, decrepit schools, unemployment, Wall Street power, Israeli occupation of Palestinians, Dalit resistance in India, and ecological catastrophe."

On Sunday, Dyson's "The Ghost of Cornel West" set the Internet ablaze and had many wondering why Dyson would write a personal and critical essay publicly on West. Others felt that as public intellectual figures, it was appropriate for Dyson to write on West's supposed fall from grace.

In the piece Dyson writes, "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.... He has squandered his intellectual gift in exchange for celebrity."

Dr. Cornel West did not state Dyson's name verbatim, but took him to task over his attempt to assassinate his character. 

"Character assassination is the refuge of those who hide and conceal these issues in order to rationalize their own allegiance to the status quo," said West. "I am neither a saint nor prophet, but I am a Jesus-loving free Black man in a Great Tradition who intends to be faithful unto death in telling the truth and bearing witness to justice."

Follow Natelege Whaley on Twitter: @Natelege_

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(Photos from left: Charles Norfleet/Getty Images, Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Written by Natelege Whaley

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