Like burnt popcorn.

There’s nothing quite like something done in bad taste. It can leave the audience with a taste like carbonized popcorn in their mouths. This is about something tasteless.

It was only a couple days ago that we celebrated the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King. We celebrated the progress that we have made as a society towards the honorable goals of equality and justice. Silent vigils and candlelight marches were held across the country to recall the progress of civil rights leaders. On this same night, a certain cable channel, and no, Virginia, it wasn’t a broadcast of South Park on Comedy Central, had the audacity to show a documentary on cotton.

Maybe not audacity. Maybe it was a complete oversight failure. Whatever. Tasted like shit, whatever it was.

I just completed reading this book, Race Matters, last night.

Cornel West is an interesting guy. A professor of religion, he is an outspoken activist on issues of racial equality.

Race Matters proves this. But I believe that is the only thing it accomplishes. I sympathize with what he has written, as a strong sense of what is just and right leads me to do so. However, this book simply seems to provide reasons why there remains discrimination, laments over it, and yields very little in the form of substantive ideas to resolve (or simply ameliorate) the issue of race in America. West implicates the weak leadership of African-American leaders since the 1980s for the great apparent lagging of African-Americans behind white America.

He asks for a Messianic leader, in the grain of a Malcolm X or MLK, but provides scant description of what that leader should do. He critiques the attitudes of the upper-class of African-Americans and their apparent willingness to simple yield to the white culture and forfeit their own culture. But what can/should an effective black leader do? Be a Messiah! Okay. What does that mean?

The book is a quick and very informative read, but it leaves you feeling lacking.

2.8 out of 4.0.

-rl

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