You know you’re doing something wrong when a white supremacist agrees with you. Princeton professor Dr. Cornel West who rode criticism of the first African-American president to national fame, found an unlikely political bedfellow last night when white nationalist leader Richard Spencer retweeted his article attacking prominent fellow black intellectual, Ta-Nehisi Coates.
It feels like this might have been the straw that broke the camel's back for Ta-Nehisi Coates — Richard Spencer endorsing Cornel West's criticism of him. pic.twitter.com/GrlZEcnzMj
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) December 19, 2017
Understandably wounded by a neo-Nazi double-teaming him with one of Coates’ own former mentors, the National Book Award-winning author of the profound contemplation of race Between the World and Me bid farewell to Twitter, saying simply, “peace, ya’ll. i didn’t get in it for this.”
Richard Spencer agreed with Cornel West’s article about Ta-Nehisi Coates, and TNC had enough, said, “peace, y’all. I’m out.” Then deactivated. pic.twitter.com/bIdkozg9hs
Coates’ Twitter fans will miss his incisive perspective on America’s racial dynamics. He attracted new waves of appreciation after his Atlantic article, “Donald Trump is the First White President” went viral. And his Twitter thread breaking down White House chief of staff General Kelly for saying that the North should have “compromised” on slavery in order to prevent the Civil War offered historical details that left critics speechless.
The Cornel West article. Ta-Nehisi Coates is the neoliberal face of the black freedom struggle, with which racist Richard “Punch-a-Nazi” Spencer agreed, appeared in Sunday’s issue of The Guardian.
While West could have spent his precious time attacking Spencer and the other white supremacists President Trump has emboldened, he instead chose to rake Coates over the coals for making a “fetish” of white supremacy in his book about Barack Obama, We Were Eight Years in Power.
West voted for possible Russian asset Jill Stein in the 2016 general election and praised Donald Trump.
Close Coates friend and former West protégé New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb, took to Twitter to defend his peer and rhetorically destroy Professor West, pointing out the elder intellectual’s hypocrisy in attacking President Obama’s support of capitalism and Coates’ defense thereof, while remaining silent on Tavis Smiley (who was recently suspended from PBS for sexual misconduct) shilling for big bank Wells Fargo.
5. Your disregard for capitalism was curiously absent when your boy Tavis (rest in peace) was helping Wells Fargo hustle ghetto loans. Or when he was tied to Walmart — an actual force for wage stagnation in poor communities.
— jelani cobb (@jelani9) December 18, 2017
“Neoliberalism” is a jargon term used by far-left ideologues to shame liberals who are willing to work across the aisle to advance progressive values, rather than sniping vainly from the sidelines about ideological purity.
It is a sad day when bloviators like Spencer and West remain on Twitter and the voice of his generation, Ta-Nehisi Coates leaves because the level of discourse has sunk so low.
His fans can only hope that Coates bounces back from the spiritual injury to help elevate once again the civic conversation our society holds on Twitter.