Last night, I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Cornel West speak some truth! It was very important for me to see him speak and listen to his mission in life. After having media make a story of everything, I was dazed and confused as to what this guy was actually about. I read his book, ‘Living Out Loud’ but after hearing and reading different things I wanted a little clarification, and wanted to see for myself who Dr. West really is.At Morgan State University, Dr. West was introduced around 7:20 P.M. and gave great examples about what past traditions of our black culture, and worldly culture have been and how important it is to uplift this culture before we become another statistic on the selling block. In his words, these days everybody is after success, the high dollars, and everything is for sale. People, things, places, everything. Nobody wants to be great, but everyone wants to be successful. Great point. I had the opportunity to browse through his book ‘Hope on a Tightrope’, while I sat in the audience listening to him talk. Coincidently, some of the things I read in the book were fine points he used in his speech to MSU students and staff.
One of his quotes from ‘Hope on a Tightrope’,
“we live in a society that suffers from historical amnesia. We find it very difficult to preserve the memory of those who have resisted and struggled for the ideals of freedom, democracy, and equality”.
Just grazing the surface, you probably won’t really appreciate those words, but this short phrase, with his assisted commentary provides great, great use for those words. In essence, some, if not all of us, Generation Y people, don’t have a true appreciation for anything because we don’t study our history, we don’t talk to our grandparents, and we are raising our selves with some assistance from the media and reality TV shows. So of course we dont appreciate going to college, or being able to buy whatever we want, or be able to be as equal as the next person. We dont know the history so we cannot identify with the struggle. Of course we know about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, and we understand they fought for many injustices, but still…that is grazing the surface. We haven’t expounded on other great people or the knowledge, and wisdom they have to offer. And so we take it lightly.
The most important point Dr. West made was asking the question, when are we going to wake up, and take responsibility for ourselves and younger generations. We don’t want our children to experience any less than we have, and we want them to be humble, grounded, intelligent and all those wonderful things, but how can we want these things if we do not have them ourselves, and cannot provide this foundation for them.
Needless to say, I’m going to support this brilliant mind, and purchase my own copy of ‘Hope on a Tightrope’. The least we can do is educate ourselves of how he thinks, and this should hopefully muster some ill feelings enough to make us (generation y) want to come alive.