- NAME: Cornel West
- OCCUPATION: Educator, Philosopher, Scholar, Civil Rights Activist, Academic Author
- BIRTH DATE: June 02, 1953 (Age: 60)
- Did You Know?: Cornel West appeared in the films The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
- EDUCATION: Harvard University, Princeton University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Full Name: Cornel Ronald West
- AKA: Cornel West
- ZODIAC SIGN: Gemini
Best Known For
Cornel West is a political activist, author and university professor. His books include Race Matters and Democracy Matters.
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Cornel West was born on June 2, 1953, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has taught at universities such as Harvard and Princeton, and has written books that include Race Matters, Democracy Matters and the memoir Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. West is also known for his appearances in the 2003 Matrix sequels, his spoken word albums and for co-hosting a radio show, Smiley & West, with Tavis Smiley.
"There is a price to pay for speaking the truth. There is a bigger price for living a lie."
"The central task of postmodern black intellectuals is to stimulate, hasten and enable alternative perceptions and practices by dislodging prevailing discourses and powers."
"We have created rootless, dangling people with little link to the supportive networks—family, friends and school—that sustain some sense of purpose in life."
"As much as I love the life of the mind, I do not give primary status to intellect. I give much more to the centrality of love, and much more to where that love comes from—and that is family, faith, friends and music. That is fundamentally who I am. Smartness is not some kind of value that I put a whole lot of weight on. There are smart Nazis and smart xenophobes and smart patriarchs and so forth."
"American politics are not a matter of voting your moral conscience.
Cornel Ronald West was born on June 2, 1953, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cornel West and his three siblings grew up in Sacramento, California, where they were raised by a mother who taught elementary school and a father who worked as a civilian administrator for the U.S. Air Force.
In 1970, West started attending Harvard University. Just three years later, he graduated magna cum laude with a major in near Eastern languages and civilization. West then enrolled at Princeton University. By 1980, he had earned both a master's degree and a doctorate in philosophy from Princeton.
West began his working career as a lecturer. The schools he first taught at include Harvard, New York City's Union Theological Seminary, the University of Paris and Yale University's Divinity School. West accepted a religion professorship at Princeton University in 1988. Following at six-year stint at Princeton, he chose to become a professor of African-American studies at Harvard. A 2001 blow-up with Harvard's then-president, Lawrence H. Summers, ended with West decamping to Princeton. In 2011, West opted to return to Union Theological Seminary.
In 1982, West's Prophesy Deliverance: An Afro-American Revolutionary Christianity was published. During the rest of the 1980s and early '90s, West brought out more books that touched on philosophy and religion, such as Prophetic Fragments: Illuminations of the Crisis in American Religion and Culture (1988) and The Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought (1991).
West's writing also addressed racial and sociopolitical phenomena. The essays in the best-selling Race Matters (1993) focused on the plight of struggling African Americans. West's major written works have since included The Future of the Race (1997), written with Henry Louis Gates Jr., Democracy Matters (2004) and a memoir entitled Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud (2009).
West's political activism dates back to his childhood, when he participated in civil rights demonstrations with his family in Sacramento. While West was teaching at Yale University, he took part in protests against South Africa's apartheid regime, and was subsequently arrested.
In terms of political affiliation, West's loyalty lies with the Democratic Socialists; he has been a member of that party since 1982. West campaigned for Barack Obama during his first presidential run, but then deemed Obama "a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats" in 2011. However, during the 2012 presidential election, West stated that he preferred Obama to Mitt Romney.
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