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Cornel West Talks Race and Gun Control

As gun control talks fill the air, Americans must not forget that gun violence did not begin, and will not end in Newtown, CT. Tragedies like the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School are able to capture the attention of Washington and the media not only because of their scale, but because of their ability to penetrate the sphere of white privilege. During his Smiley & West radio show, Dr. Cornel West spoke on the disparity of media coverage and lack of gun control discussion when it comes to violence against minorities.

“We can’t just shed tears for those on the vanilla side of town. They are precious, but they are no less or more precious than our poor brothers and sisters on Indian reservations (who are killing each other) or be they black or brown or what have you,” West said.

“But it’s a good thing that we now have a discussion on gun control. We need one on drone control,” he continued, “not a peep, not a mumbling word when black folk get shot. But now, Newtown, Connecticut, vanilla side — low and behold we got a major conversation. That’s wonderful. Each life is precious but it just upsets me when we’re so deferential.”

Innocent African-Americans have been the target of equally unjust violence involving guns, in greater numbers than their white counterparts. Chicago, a city that President Barack Obama has called home for some time, has been under constant siege from increasing violence in recent years, having seen 700 children shot in 2010.

Incidents like the death of Trayvon Martin earlier in the year are as much rooted in gun control law as they are in racial issues. Despite making up only 15 percent of America’s child population, black children accounted for 45 percent of the gun fatalities in 2009 and 2010, according to a report from the Children’s Defense Fund.

Of course, gun control talks in any capacity will help curb violence against blacks and the rest of America’s demographics, but it is unfortunate that those discussions only seem to occur when a certain image of America is challenged.

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12 thoughts on “Cornel West Talks Race and Gun Control

  1. I rarely agree with Cornell West, but on this issue of violence – he hits it on the screws. Minority children are murdered every day in Hartford, Washintgon, D.C., Chicago and there are no 24-hour storylines for these sad events.

  2. Ed Groth says:

    Minority children are murdered in mostly urban communities where poverty, drugs, and gang warfare (among other things) are fairly common. While tragic, the causes can be understood. It is widely believed that Columbine and Va Tech occurred due to tormented students reaching a breaking point after years of being bullied and harassed. Again while tragic, the underlying cause is something which is understandable. The Newtown tragedy is not so easily understood. Certainly it was mental illness, but what caused the shooter to snap and why he chose his mother and young children to be his victims is something we may never fully understand. As to West's charge that minority violence gets less coverage, I believe everyone will agree that's true. Why? IMO, an event which becomes commonplace is not news any longer, and the entertainment producers are always looking for something sensational to deliver to viewers. So black on black violence is no longer news and black on white violence is largely ignored lest you be accused of racism. But white on white or white on black violence is just the stuff the left wing media eats up because of its political agenda so those crimes receive maximum coverage.

  3. Eric Wattree says:

    West doesn't care about any of these issues. All he cares about is making outrageously inflammatory statements that generate publicity for himself. In short, Cornel West is a fraud – just like his buddy, 'Wells Fargo' Smiley, the ghetto loan king.

  4. Eric, your practice of restating your conclusions about West and Smiley fall on deaf ears when you give us nothing more than your conclusion. Provide a basis for your conclusions because I've listen to these two men and believe they are worth listening to and have a valid point of view. Interestingly, Northwestern School of Law also shares my interest. I invited you to provide a basis for your conclusions on several occassions. Do you really have that many people reading your stuff and asking you to explain?

  5. Jamerson James says:

    Cornel is a race peddler who now knows his days of intellectual influence are over… He spent his whole career saying that young blacks can't do anything in america because of white supremacy in colleges and in the political arena.. Barack Obama's election has shattered his theory on the collegiate and political level.. now he's bitter with everyone because he feel he doesn't have a voice anymore… All this stuff he did to go against the president this last year, and 96% of blacks voted for him, 72% of Asians 76% of Hispanics and 66% of women voted for him… And he didn't come up through the civil rights movement and they feel offended that the president is getting this much love… I can't stand a hater, its a weak trait… keep following cornel if u want to…

  6. John Talleos says:

    Black gun fatalities are greatest in gun controlled enclaves such as Chicago and Wash DC. It could be the reason why big media does ignore it thus making Mr West's observation correct

  7. Larry Walker says:

    vanilla? This dumb asshole reduces dead kids to flavors.

  8. Lisa Ross says:

    Cornell – how's about the black babies aborted everyday or abandoned by their baby-daddy's. Stop the violence by raising your children with love and respect as part of their vocabulary.

  9. Eric Wattree says:

    @Randell, you said, " Provide a basis for your conclusions because I've listen to these two men and believe they are worth listening to and have a valid point of view. Interestingly, Northwestern School of Law also shares my interest." That's part of the problem, Randell. What does, Northwestern School of Law have to do with the validity of what Smiley and West are saying? We've got to stop allowing others to pick our heroes for us. The water at Northwestern School of Law is no wetter than ours is here in the hood – and our water is much less apt to be tainted by the Koch brothers, Walmart, or ALEC.

  10. Rebecca M. Cuevas says:


    I adore Cornel West!

  11. Rebecca M. Cuevas says:


    I adore Cornel West!

  12. Rebecca M. Cuevas says:

    Colin Gregory Bowers I could read his work, listen to him… I get as much Cornel West as I possibly can 😀 I knew I liked you from the very first, this must be why lol

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