Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree


A lot of people ask me why I’m so fixated on Cornel West. The reason is simple. I grew up with brothers like West in the hood - they were a dime a dozen - so I know exactly what he’s about - nothing.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s a wealth of both knowledge and intellect in the Black community. Johnny Cochran came out of the hood - and so did Colin Powell, Barack and Michelle Obama, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, and Charlie Parker. Langston Hughes came out of the hood - and hell, so did I. So contrary to what's reflected in the media, a large part of this nation's most valuable resource is lying dormant in the inner cities across this nation, because there, you've got to be sharp just to survive.

So what's generally reflected in the media are the dregs of the Black community.  For every 'gangsta' in the hood, there are literally thousands of young people struggling to get ahead. But the problem is, far too many of us have allowed the media to define who we are, so we no longer have respect for our own intelligence. As a result, many young people tend to have more confidence in the intelligence of fools like Cornel West than they have in their own ability to think.

Many of our young people are simply taking the media's word for the fact that Cornel West is suppose to be this powerful intellect instead of actually assessing what West is saying for themselves. The problem is, they’ve been brainwashed into believing that the White man’s water is wetter than their own, so when they hear the words "Harvard" and "Princeton" connected to Cornel West’s name, they simply assume that he possess a greater ability to think than they do, and that he can see things that they can't. That's nonsense, and it didn't use to be like that. Brother's used to define themselves based upon their ability to think, not by how 'fresh' their tennis shoes look - in fact, unless they ran track, they didn't even wear tennis shoes, because their primary goal in life was to get away from having to wear tennis shoes.
I remember how much pride my grandparents took in me when I went off to college.  And later, when I got my degree, they stopped debating issues with me at altogether. It was like all of a sudden I went from being one of the kids to becoming the head of the family. I remember my grandmother used to say, "Well, Eric, you’re educated, so you know about all that stuff. We don't understand it." They didn't understand it?  They understood enough to waltz through the Great Depression while white folks were throwing themselves out of windows, and then managed to become financially secure in a world that threw every stumbling block before them that it could muster - and without busting a sweat bubble.
So I knew my grandmother was giving me much too much credit, but I didn’t say anything because my young ego had me soppin' up the props. But I knew within my heart that even though I’d gone off and gotten a degree, that she - and especially my grandfather - could think circles around me.
Because even back then, I understood that there was a big difference between innate intelligence and its attendant wisdom and knowledge, and simply going out and picking up a degree. You see, if a ghetto kid who dropped out of high school has an IQ of 140, and a brain surgeon has an IQ of 120, due to his education the brain surgeon may be in possession of more information, but he'll never be able to connect the dots as efficiently as that high school dropout, because the kid is smarter, and he always will be. Well, I had enough education to recognize that my grandfather was naturally smarter than me, and regardless to how much education I obtained, he always would be - in fact, he was so smart that he had the wisdom not to humiliate me by ramming that fact home.
Because the fact is, no institution of higher learning can confer either intelligence, knowledge, or wisdom upon any individual. The only thing that Harvard, Princeton, Yale, or any other institution can confer upon an individual is a receipt indicating that the individual paid his tuition and occupied a seat where knowledge was shared. While the receipt might also indicate that the individual was able to regurgitated the information once or twice, it cannot certify that any of the information was absorbed, or can be effectively manipulated.
So what my grandmother failed to understand was, my degree didn’t certify that they’d taught me to out-think her. The only thing it certified was that I had been exposed to, and learned to regurgitate, the thoughts of dead White folks. It said absolutely nothing about whether or not I’d learn to think for myself. After all, George W. Bush obtained a receipt from Yale, and we all have a firsthand knowledge of how little that was worth.
Therefore, it’s important that we in the Black community learn that the very same thing is true of Cornel West, Boyce Watkins, and many other so-called public "intellectuals." While we should have all of the respect in the world for education, we must also have a clear understanding of what constitutes an education. An education is the consumption of knowledge, regardless to whether we consume that knowledge at Harvard, or at the corner library. Knowledge is knowledge, and it's free. So Harvard's knowledge is no knowledgeable than anyone else's - you just pay more for it, and it comes with public relations support. So if you can't afford to go to college, you seek your knowledge somewhere else.
What most of us fail to understand is, a person cannot BE educated. Each individual must educate himself. Therefore, to allow someone else to educate you is not education at all - it's indoctrination. Thus, while having a string of letters behind one's name makes for an excellent calling card and has immeasurable economic value, it says aboulutely nothing about an individual's ability to think. Titles, robes, badges, and all of the other accouterments of alleged knowledge and stature are society’s way of dictating who we listen to, and that’s not always in our best interest. So unless we’re dealing with a highly specialized area of knowledge - like medicine, for example - we should NEVER give anyone else’s ability to think priority over our own, because when we allow someone to think for us, we're also allowing them to control us.
Consider this - simply having influence over the minds of other people is big business. It can be worth literally millions of dollars to any person who can convince you and others to let him control your attitudes, thinking, and behavior. During the 2008 primaries, one preacher in the south charged Hillary Clinton a specific dollar amount for every brian that he controlled in his congregation.
A perfect example of how valueable having influence over others can be is as we speak Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are on the road trying to portray President Obama as the Bogeyman in an attempt to get Black people to elect the Devil - the Republican Party. Can you imagine how much money the billionaires in the Republican Party would be willing to pay them, not to actually deliver the vote, but to merely keep Black people away from the polls? Now, I have no evidence to suggest that that's what's going on, but it wouldn't be the first time that Cornel West has engaged in the tactic of dividing the vote. West joined forces with Ralph Nader in the 2000 election and helped to get George Bush elected ("Once Again, Nader and West Team to Elect a Republican President").



But if you confront members of the Nader/West coalition with the fact that they helped to elect George Bush, they’ll immediately begin to obfuscate and engage in intellectual gymnastics in an attempt to avoid responsibility for the horrific fate that they brought upon this country. They’ll say things like, "It’s not our fault that Gore lost. He just didn’t fight hard enough for a recount." But by using such arguments what they’re actually saying is, "Gore just didn’t work hard enough to undo the damage that we’d done." But here are the facts - Gore lost the 2000 election to Bush in Florida by 537 votes, and the Nader/West coalition peeled off 97,488 votes from Gore in Florida alone. So don’t take my word for it, you do the math. The bottom line is this – Cornel West is more than partially responsible for the very poverty that he's reportedly being paid $10,000 a speech to complain about - period, and case closed.

That's why back in the hood we used to routinely dismiss people like Cornel West. We recognized them as self-serving individuals who couldn't be trusted, because they would do or say anything to get attention. So even if we allowed them to hang around, the minute they opened their mouths we’d simply tell ‘em to shut the hell up, and that would be that. But back then, people like West were simply a source of irritation, under the current circumstance, however, West’s propensity for self-service and chasing public attention is in direct conflict with what’s in the best interest of the Black community. So for that very reason, I try to drag his tired ass through the mud every chance I get. I have a Google Alert on both Tavis and West. I call it the Mutt and Jethro Alert - and I'm about to add Boyce Watkins to it as well, and change the name to the Treacherous Trio Alert.

At first I tried to prevent it, but this has become a very personal thing with me. One of my primary missions in life has become getting Black people to see Tavis and West for who and what they are - two ruthlessly self-serving and dangerous individuals who crave public attention so desperately that they're willing to drag the entire Black community under a bus to get it. West is all affectation, contrived image, and gesticulation, and if you take off his costume and cut off all the fuzz from about his head and face, the only thing you’ll be left with is a goofy-looking little bucktooth punk who takes a very long time to say very little. 

Think about it. Tell me one thing that Cornel West has said in his 30 years of public prominence that’s been either profound, or even the least bit memorable?  Let me answer that for you - not a damn thing. Cornel is best known for two things - slandering the first black President of the United States, and publicly calling his Black female colleague, Dr. Melessa Harris-Perry, a liar and a fraud.  Never mind that it was grossly disrespectful to the President of the united States, Dr. Harris-Perry, and Black women in general, it got him public attention, and that's all he cared about - and this, from a 'brother' who claims to love his people, yet, has never taught at a school that the average Black person can even afford to eat lunch at in his career.

Thus, in the hood we had a rule of thumb regarding people like West - "Never trust a brother who's always trying to be the coolest thing in the room, because he’s putting so much brainpower into his image that there’s nothing left for him to think with. Hood Rat Wisdom 101.

Here’s a 2008 video of Cornel West calling himself giving, then, Senator Obama, a tongue lashing for deciding to announce his intent to run for president instead of postponing it so he could appear on Tavis’ dog-n-pony show. Think about that for a minute. Tavis was so big headed that he thought the democratic process should be put on hold just for him! I’ve never seen such presumptuous arrogance in my life. Who the hell do Tavis and West think they are!!!?
Here’s Old-schooler, Dick Gregory, on the same show, essentially telling Tavis and West that they’re damn fools.

. Eric L. Wattree

Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

Views: 123


You need to be a member of Leimert Park Beat to add comments!

Join Leimert Park Beat

Leimert Park Beat is the news and social network for Leimert Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. Stay informed. Join now!


• Got news you think everyone should know? Blog it.

• Have a show or attending a benefit? Put it on the calendar.
• Video of the big game? Embed it.
• Photos of your business or the school play? Upload them.


With your help, raised money to hire reporters, graphic artists and community members to cover our area.
Read the stories - Urban Economy 411, Redevelopment Hell and One of these don't belong.

Latest Activity

Dr. Angela Butts Chester posted a blog post

Worlds Leaders Magazine Interviews Dr. Angela Butts Chester

Supporting Empowerment and Fulfillment through Empathic LeadershipDr. Angela Butts Chester epitomizes empathic leadership, viewing it as more than just a means to accomplish tasks and achieve goals—it’s about prioritizing people. With a deep-seated…See More
Feb 19
Dr. Angela Butts Chester posted a blog post
Feb 12
Mistah Wilson posted events
Jan 20
Dr. Angela Butts Chester posted a blog post

PASSIONEER Magazine | January 2024

Welcome to our latest issue of PASSIONEER Magazine where we unravel the secrets to thriving in the winter months with a focus on wellness, style, and unwavering resilience. In this edition, we delve into the unique challenges posed by winter and…See More
Jan 18
SPMG Media posted a blog post
Jan 5
Stevie Mack posted a blog post

Comedian Stevie Mack at Flappers Comedy Club

Stevie Mack performing #standup #comedy at @FlappersComedy Club Sun. Jan 21st @ 5pm FLAPPERS MAIN ROOM 102 E Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502 Tix/Details: Link:…See More
Jan 3
Dr. Angela Butts Chester posted a blog post

Thinkers360's 50 Books to Read in 2024 Includes Thought Leader Dr. Angela Chester

🙌 Wow! What an honor to be recognized by Thinkers360! 📚 I'm thrilled to share that their curated selection of 50 books on business, technology, and sustainability from Thinkers360 member thought leaders has been featured. 🌐✨A big thank you to the…See More
Dec 21, 2023
Dr. Angela Butts Chester posted a blog post

AUTHORITY MAGAZINE: 5 Ways Empathy Will Affect Your Leadership

Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, is increasingly recognized as a pivotal leadership…See More
Nov 15, 2023

© 2024   Created by enhager.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service