Cornel West: ‘We’re witnessing the collapse of the legitimacy of leadership’
(thehill)–Harvard Divinity School professor Cornel West said Sunday that the demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis are part of “the collapse of the legitimacy of leadership.”
“What we’re seeing here is the ways in which the vicious legacy of white supremacy manifests in organized hatred, greed and corruption,” West said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re witnessing the collapse of the legitimacy of leadership, the political class, the economic class, the professional class, that’s the deeper crisis.”
Floyd, a black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him on the pavement despite Floyd’s repeated protests that he was unable to breathe. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He and three other officers at the scene were also fired.
“The beautiful thing is we’re seeing citizens who are caring and concerned hitting the streets,” West added. “The problem is we have a system that’s not responding and seems to be unable to respond.”
Fox News’s Chris Wallace asked West if he believes the U.S. had made any progress on racial issues, noting that the country elected and reelected its first African American president.
“I’m not saying there hasn’t been progress,” West said. But he also invoked the Malcolm X quote: “If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress.”
“I don’t measure black progress in terms of black elites … I’m concerned about the least of these,” he added. “That’s the tradition of Martin Luther King.”
Addressing rioting and looting that has occurred in numerous cities in the wake of Floyd’s death, West said that most “of my fellow citizens are there peaceful or are there marching.”
“Looting is wrong, [but] legalized looting is wrong too … I look at the wickedness in high places first and then keep track of the least of these,” he added.
West concluded by saying that “if we’re more concerned about the property and spillover than the poverty, decrepit school systems, dilapidated housing, massive unemployment and underemployment, we’re going to be doing this every five, every 10, every 20 years.”
The wind in Atlanta blew the tear gas back on the cops
this is so wrong.. they’re pigs pic.twitter.com/aWebYvhMy2
— 𝑙𝑜𝑔₁₃🧸⁷ (@chimdesires) May 31, 2020
A man was pressed down onto concrete with a solid 200 lbs sitting directly on his neck. He cried out for water. He cried out for his deceased mother, and once he realized he could no longer breathe, he cried out for mercy and he begged for his life. His nose bled and he lost control of his bladder. Yet he remained trapped and handcuffed under the weight of an officer’s knee.
Onlookers tried to intervene only to be threatened with pepper spray. Even when he lost consciousness, the weight of that knee stayed firm on his neck. When first responders demanded they check for a pulse, the cops refused. When off-duty medical personnel begged for the officer to get up, they refused.
America watched a man being killed in broad daylight for 10 agonizing minutes.
I understand people will dig through everything he’s done wrong in his life. I understand that people will roll their eyes at this. We will see his mug shot and he will become a villain even though surveillance video does not support police claims that he resisted arrest. But there is no crime that justifies this punishment. Whether he has a criminal history or mental health issues, there is no justification for his death.
His name was George Floyd.
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To those who use MLK quotes to silence the protesters…
Thousands peacefully kneeling in DC remembering George Floyd chanting, “Stop Killing Black People.”
Why isn’t this video viral? Why is the media only interested in talking about isolated acts of vandalism & theft?
We’re here & We ain’t leaving. pic.twitter.com/pJCsBbKisr
— Arjun Sethi (@arjunsethi81) May 31, 2020
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 1, 2020