Race Matters by Dr. Cornell West: Jessie and Jan Dantz Lecture Series, University of Washington, Seattle (Videos)

Title

Race Matters by Dr. Cornell West: Jessie and Jan Dantz Lecture Series, University of Washington, Seattle (Videos)

Description

"When will you grow up?" West asks the United States of America, "Race is a litmus test, not just for justice. It is a litmus test for maturity. ... Our imagination when it comes to race is so eviscerated."

Drawing from his bestseller book Race Matters published in 1993, and quoting powerful thinkers, scholars, activists and poets through the ages, such as Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Seneca, Montaigne, F.O. Matthiessen, Malcolm X, and W.B. Yeats, West teaches that racial division fosters the poverty, paranoia, fear and distrust that undermine our nation's democratic process. "Race, the vicious legacy of white supremacy has been for so long a dogma in American history, we hit it, hard in 1861, we hit it again, in 1960s but for the most part it still is one of those tacit assumptions and presuppositions we'd rather sidestep and hold at arms length. The quest for self-knowledge: What kind of person are you and I, really? What kind of community? What kind of nation are we really? Do we have the courage to look ourselves in the mirror candidly, critically, honestly and acknowledge the underside, the night side of ourselves, human predicament, American democracy, the world? William Butler Yates is right when he says, 'It takes more courage to examine one's own dark abyss of the soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield. And you can't talk about race, and race matters and diversity without wrestling with the legacy of white supremacy in which it takes such tremendous courage to think critically about ourselves. Yet, race is not some ghettoized, peripheral issue. It has to do with the quality of the person that we think we are, the quality of American society that we think we are. And in the end the quality of the species, humanity as a whole."

Spirituality that is self-involved, self-invested, takes oneself out into others struggles with deep compassion and Socratic critical thinking is necessary for race matters. Condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak and this sits at the center of freedom of people, especially of people of African descent.

Creator

Cornell West (speaker)

Publisher

University of Washington, Seattle

Date

April 2001

Type

Moving image

Duration

1:29:23

Social Bookmarking

Comments

Tags

Citation

Cornell West (speaker), “Race Matters by Dr. Cornell West: Jessie and Jan Dantz Lecture Series, University of Washington, Seattle (Videos),” Anti-Racism Digital Library, accessed November 25, 2020, https://sacred.omeka.net/items/show/78.