Oct 29, Abstract of Cornel West’s “Nihilism in Black America” by Mike Peterson Description West argues that the two current and polarized “camps” that. Oct 29, Abstract of Cornel West’s “Nihilism in black America” By Jenny Lowry Description of Article West argues that the dilemma of African Americans. Nihilism in Black America. Cornel West ▫ Spring Recent discussions about the plight of African Americans—especially those at the bottom of the social.

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He argues that while black criminals should be punished for their crimes, capitalism is to blame for the poverty and lost culture that leads them to nihilism and thus criminal behavior. Slavery and white supremacy are prime examples of where nihilism started in America. He argues that this threat is invading black America, but the only example he gives is that of commodification of goods in poverty ridden communities.

Of course this propels some degree of hopelessness and nihilism: Regardless, I was infected by nihilism as merely an onlooker of injustice, acting as if I was some Camusian Absurd hero for simply watching Sisyphus grapple his rock, and felt the overwhelming rage toward everyone including those who shared my struggle. Focus on structural constraints.

Presently, Black middle-class life is principally a matter of professional conscientiousness, personal accomplishment, and cautious adjustment. Monday, October 29, Cornel West: After saying nihilksm that, I nevertheless firmly believe progressives and socialists must advocate building new nation-states based on ending old ethnic divisions.

He said an anti-racist not just a civil rights revolution was needed. We need national forums to reflect, discuss, and plan how best to respond. Tinkering with the capitalist system has brought some improvements maerica not fundamental relief for the vast majority of poor Blacks.


Cornel West’s Race Matters

They use demagogy in some cases to blacm their support but are not part of the solution. Historically, blacks were armored against this threat through culture and community, but something happened along the way that changed this.

Posted by Jenny at 5: It seems like West is dooming black Americans with this incurable disease. The trouble with activism is that even when it approaches a transformative solution as it did with black radical thinkers of the 20th centuryor achieves real and measurable outcomes as with the civil rights mass movements, civil litigation and new law: There can be and will be individual exceptions.

It sounds like he is arguing that those people are being threatened by nihilism because they cannot afford what other people can. This argument is ludicrous.

The present day Black middle class is not simply different than its predecessors — it is more deficient and, to put it strongly, more decadent. The self-fulfilling prophecy of the nihilistic threat is that without hope there can be no future, that without meaning there can be no struggle.

The middle-class layers of all colors are incapable of leading the oppressed and poor to their complete emancipation. The conservatives blame the victim. This threat is not simply a matter of relative economic deprivation and political powerlessness — though economic well-being and political clout are requisites for meaningful Black progress. The leadership must be based on militancy and unity. Community activism as a solution is merely the bothersome bite of the fruit fly on the hard butt of Gargantua!


Whiteness as an exemplary human ontology has to be dismissed or put in the dock and examined by all.

Defeating white supremacy, of course, must be our central goal. Nihilism in Black America.

African American History at Rhodes College: Nihilism in Black America

My answer goes beyond a critique, however. Throwing away all the redneck trash about slaves being freed years ago and Jim Crow ending 46 years ago implying social equality, I am beginning to see the Absurd horror experienced in these time periods flowing over into today. He was simply speaking the truth. Does this pathos help or hurt his argument? Subsequently, an exceptionally powerful-looking African American student sauntered calmly toward him.

Instead, he says the main problem facing Black survival in the s is nihilism. Not surprisingly, he sees the problem of Black survival in moral and political-economic terms.

Although Jackson and the Congressional Black Caucus have played a valuable role in exposing racism in government, and have nibilism some positions that are unpopular with the powers that be, their refusal to abandon capitalist politics for independent politics has led to little relief for the majority of Blacks.

But, I also recognize, that such a transformation, including for South Africa, is only possible with the end of capitalism, a system which breeds divisions and bigotry. Could critics dismiss him as being too emotional or too enmeshed in the culture to be reliable?