Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weapons of mass distraction

This past Friday, my housies and I headed to UA campus for a talk from a speaker series. Featured- Cornel West.

And- it was absolutely amazing. I found this blog,, about his publications, and it has some excellent commentary about what Dr. West shared.

One thing that really hit the nail on the head, so to speak, is how he talked about what it means to be human. The title for this post comes from what he said about current culture in the US. It's not common nor encouraged to examine ourselves, our roles, our collective humanity. Any nudge in that direction is masked by the massive push towards success and consumerism. We're in a culture making lots and lots of weapons of mass distraction.
I'm not going to try and re-cap what Dr. West shared on Friday- but following are some quotations that stuck with me.

He opened his lecture with a discussion about humanity. Among the quotations he shared were the words of Seneca, "He or she who learns how to die unlearns slavery."

Following are some excerpts from what Dr. West shared:

"As human beings we all emerge in the funk. & there's love in that funk."

"We all came into this world between urine and feces."

in talking about current "culture"-
"...a culture that specializes in weapons of mass distraction."
"[a culture of] materials, toys, and well adjusted to injustice."

"indifference to evil is more evil."

"Courage to go against the grain...not to fit in... we need more misfits."

"301 BILLION dollars on prison marshalls since 1975, don't tell me about your budgetary defecit if you can't get your priorities right."

"[we don't need to be] colorblind, but lovestruck."

"Don't be obsessed with your job, tell me what your life task is."

After the lecture, there was a question and answer period. A young boy got up and said something like "I'm in highschool, I'm 14 years old, and my mom's been taking me to these things for a long time now. I want to be a hiphop artist and shit and can I share this with you?" I'm not going to try and re-write the mini-rap he shared, but it ended with "Cornel West for president." To which, after Dr. West called the boy up on stage for a hug, he replied saying, "I'm a free man and you can't really be free in politics."

And he ended with saying, "It's all about us together...we all have a role to play."

He's coming to Texas Tech on April 15th. If you're near there or can make it out there, I HIGHLY recommend it!

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