An intellectual evening with Dr Cornel West | The Saturday Paper.
For all kinds of reasons, I would have to say this was the best night of my life. The author of the linked article, Maxine Beneba Clarke, hasn’t mentioned anything here about her own magical, heart-opening performance. However, the article does a nice job of capturing the spirit of the experience.
While he was in town, Dr West was also a guest on the highest rating episode of ABC’s Q&A show ever – so he made a big impact during his visit to Australia.
My friends and I spent a few minutes afterwards discussing the immediate highlights such as the delightful experience of hearing the statement “there’s a white supremacist in me” said by a black man in a public forum. It’s one of those things that has an instant effect on everyone who actually lets the idea sink in. We also spent some time thinking of what questions we would ask Dr West if we had the chance. I was as enthusiastic and excitable as a teenager so I shot out of the blocks with, “Do you want to come and live at my house?” Everyone agreed that should be the first question we ask.
When it came down to actually meeting him though I asked Dr West about resistance to facts/information/other perspectives by the white population and what role negative rhetoric by the black community might play in this. He spoke with me about how people learn through catastrophe if they don’t learn any other way.
After sitting on this experience for a week, I can see how off-track my question was… oh well we live and learn. In hindsight, I should have just asked myself about my own resistance in response to all the negative rhetoric I hear and read. More importantly though, I can see how timid I’ve been. I’m not saying that with any judgment, we do what is essential to survival and anyway, it is what it is.
What I do know – is that I have been holding out to see whether the most valued aspects of my way of being could be positively reflected in a world dominated and shaped by those and their minions who have a lust for power and money and various other things of dubious virtue. Those who aren’t afraid to use violence to achieve their goals. Those who are patting themselves on the back for all that number-crunching, someone-else’s back-breaking success they’ve managed to snatch like candy from a baby. Those who think they have won.
Click! knowing and awe have become artists-in-residence;
a flowing arrangement of clear vision and virtuous men returning to simple truths.
line from a poem earlier this year – Smashing Beliefs
In short, Dr Cornel West appears to be the type of man I always expected and hoped to see in the world but hadn’t found. So many times I’ve been told, and by so many, that I have unrealistic expectations… yet here he is. This man not only exists – I got to meet him.
I am eternally grateful to the friend who took me to this event, Nasser, a fellow magician who is also burdened with the curse of unreasonable expectations and and the wherewithal to make them happen.
Peace, brothers and sisters. Over here the love is still flowing 😉