Cornel West “Race Matters"
Written by Cornel West and then published in 1993, “Race Matters” addresses the issues that are still contentious, urgent, and exciting. At the present time “Race Matters” is a book which helps us establish a true multiracial democracy arising the problems of religion, sexuality, poverty of the middle and lower classes of African Americans, everlasting struggle of black people in order to find themselves in the society as individuals.
Americans are prohibited to talk about black sexuality. It is a taboo subject mainly because it is a domination of black power that white people can`t manage. However, its visual displays provoke the most instinctive responses of the whites. From one side, black sexuality in the company of blacks simply does not comprise whites, it doesn’t want them to be in the centre. It proceeds as though white people are not alive, are viewless, invisible, and not important at all. “The dominant sexual myths of black woman and men portray whites as being “out of control” – seduced, tempted, overcome, overpowered by black bodies” (West 125). This form of black sexuality is inaccessible and at the same time inconvenient and alarming for white people who adjusted to be the guardians of power. So, there is a convincing connection between black power and black sexuality in America. Making black sexuality a taboo and prohibited subject is the same as speaking quietly about a definite kind of power which black people recognize over whites.
The issues of the Black community like those of self-esteem or black pride are very important. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King spoke about them loudly. Actually, Malcolm X developed some positive aspects towards African Americans. He took care of his people, however detected them “incomplete”. He introduces a logical and reasonable analysis of how we came to the stage where we find ourselves now in “white-black race relations” and writes down the instruction of how to tend the healing. Malcolm X was the first who “looked ferocious white racism in the eye, didn`t blink, told the truth about this glaring hypocrisy in a bold and defiant manner” (West 151). Cornel West caught sight of not a few unfulfilled possibilities in the figure of Malcolm X. He thought that his powerful emphasis on emotional change in black people made him express his rage. The author considers Malcolm X going beyond state boundaries, and paying too much attention to white power as if the dominant one. Malcolm promoted black pride expressing corresponding rage in order to abuse whites and not permitting white power to establish the movement.
The anthology “Let nobody turn us around” contains the most valuable writings, essays, interviews, and testimonials of black writers presented in order to observe the development and evolution of African Americans in the history of America that lasted over three centuries, from the beginning of slavery till the end of the previous century. Each stage of black history is represented here with its social, political, and religious sphere of life. Everything that is closely connected to the life and history of black people, and that played an essential role in it is vividly illustrated in this book.
In every section of this anthology the writers introduce the writings which cannot be read without tears, which delicately describe and pierce to the depth of the soul many issues African Americans faced on their way to be free, independent, proud, powerful, and not vulnerable. In 1829 David Walker wrote a pamphlet “Appeal” in which he said “the result of my observations has warranted the full and unshaken conviction, that we, (colored people of these United States,) are the most degraded, wretched, and abject set of beings that ever lived since the world began” (Marable 25). Can you imagine what he experienced? He prayed God for those who suffered, he begged white people not to be cruel and violent towards black ones. Having witnessed poverty, misery, slavery, and racism, he persuaded African Americans to combat for equality and freedom. He disputed against discrimination as well. “The whites want slaves, and want us for their slaves, but some of them will curse the day they ever saw us” (Marable 25). He, as well as the other authors of this anthology believed that that day would come and people would become not so violent and aggressive towards each other because of racial intolerance and discrimination.
The damaging and negative impacts of racism upon the American society are measureless and immense. A great number of African Americans suffered from racism, especially in Ohio. Today African Americans find enjoyment in more possibilities than at any other period in the history of the United States. Racism still resides as it is very complicated and deep-rooted by its history. It appears from time to time in conversations between African Americans and white people, on TV as well as on the news, but very deliberately and steadily its possession over American society is broken down. People try to change their attitude towards each other. Protests and demonstrations keep on arising not only in Cleveland, Ohio state, the United States in the whole, but in other developed countries as well. Being one of the most racially discriminatory cities as “today, 85% of residents are African American”, Cleveland finds some ways to combat the problems it faces (Reece 46). These problems of cultural variety and equal possibilities should help us build a multi-cultural society.
Marable, Manning, and Leith Mullings. Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform, and Renewal: an African American Anthology. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. Print.
Reece, Jason. The History of Race and Real Estate in Cleveland & Its Relationship to Health Equity Today. 2014. Print.
West, Cornel. Race Matters. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. Print.