Cornel West links Reagan and the Religious Right to the KKK and reminds us, pace Plato, that the unexamined life is not worth living. After listening I am reminded that philosophy has been, should and can be all about the love of wisdom, and all I want to do is listen to Hip-hop and tell the Moral Majority to go to…
Link to the Festival of Faith and Music at Calvin College. Cornel West’s talk Hope on a Tight Rope is epic as is his interview of Lupe. Both are found here.
Ever since I read Democracy Matters I have appreciated West. In this book I also found a new appreciation for hip-hop. I grew up on Tribe Called Quest, De-la Soul, Souls of Mischief, Del the Funky Homosapien, Wu-Tang Clan, Mos Def, etc.
Hip-hop entered my world through the sound tracks of skate videos. If De La Soul was what Mike Carol chose as the con moto background to his lines through Embarcadero then they were who I needed to listen to. Though, like so many white middle class kids that grew up in suburbia much of the significance of this music was lost on me, looking back I am immensely thankful that the prophetic voices of Hip-hop were what helped shaped my young imaginary, verses the commodified, fabricated, violent, vacuous voices of Snoop or Dr. Dre. The messages that I heard in those days, while not all positive, have no doubt made me open in my academic studies and broader life to the voices of the poor and disenfranchised and thus have made me a better Christian, neighbor and thinker.
Anyways, West is an amazing speaker. One of my favorite parts, as I already suggested, is when he links the conservative revolution instituted by Reagan to opposition towards civil rights. Effectively linking Reagan to the KKK. In so doing he rightfully brings into question the tie between the political Right and Christianity in America and shows the implications of this for the poor, which are often of African descent in The Land of the Free. In addition, he talks about the connection between hip-hop and Christianity and of course mentions the economic crisis.
Just a sample…
“For Christians indifference is the very essence of inhumanity. It is the one trait that makes the very angels weep… (In modern American culture) Indifference towards the poor became a way of life.” West, parenthesis mine.