A Past Encounter: Q&A with Dr. Cornel West



Two weeks prior to hosting Presidential Debate 2012, Hofstra has had the honor of welcoming Dr. Cornel West to the campus. One of the more popular pre-debate keynote speaker events (along with Chris Matthews, Van Jones, and the Rove-Gibbs debate), West was gracious and forthcoming in his address to the public. Even more memorable was his snap decision to remain on campus for the Denver presidential debate and view it with Hofstra students.

A lot of powerful things were said that evening, and I had the humbling experience of speaking with him briefly. Here is what he had to say:

JMR: Hi Dr. West, first I would like to thank you for speaking at Hofstra and for your truly inspirational words. Earlier, you mentioned white supremacy, its existence in human beings and how it results in low self-esteem in blacks and other minorities. What advice do you have for those people and what do you think the steps are to realizing one’s self worth?

CW: First, the most important step is to realize that white supremacy is a vicious lie. Once you’ve done that, it’s about extracting it from the soul; it’s been beaten into us so long. It is something we all have to struggle with daily, myself included. This is worth mentioning because racism is not gone by any means- people are just less racist than their ancestors. But overall, just keep track of the love. You have love for yourself enough and white supremacy will have no place.


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