Black activist and prominent social critic Cornel West on Sunday linked the ongoing protests in America to anger over the “vicious legacy of white supremacy” and the “collapse of the legitimacy of leadership.”
“The problem is we have a system that’s not responding and seems to be unable to respond,” he added.
While demonstrators across the nation are protesting the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed last week during an arrest by white Minneapolis police officers, they’re also erupting against a decaying social order, West indicated.
“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. “We’re dealing with moral meltdown … We’re witnessing the collapse of the legitimacy of leadership, the political class, the economic class, the professional class. That’s the deeper crisis.”
He acknowledged that there has been progress against racism, especially for the middle class. But West also cited Malcolm X in reminding Wallace that “you don’t stab folk in the back nine inches, pull it out three inches and say you’re making progress.”
Asked about the violence and looting in some of the protests, West emphasized that “most of my fellow citizens, God bless them, that are in the streets are there peaceful, or are there marching.”
He added: “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.”
“If we’re more concerned about the property and spillover than the poverty, decrepit school systems, dilapidated housing, massive unemployment and underemployment,” West warned, “we’re going to be doing this every five, every 10, every 20 years.”