Dr. Boyce: 7 Things that Cornel West and Martin Luther King Jr. Have in Common


by Dr. Boyce Watkins

When President Obama was inaugurated for the first time back in 2009, I was speaking at a large black church in New York.  Of course we were all bubbling with pride over the election, which the president won with flying colors.  Barackomania was in the air that day, and I shared in the excitement over seeing our president and his beautiful family take their first steps into the White House.

But while some of us were enthusiastic about this new opportunity, some folks thought that we’d experienced Juneteenth all over again.   I remember the choir director of the church changing the words of the song “We Shall Overcome,” to “We HAVE Overcome,” which the congregation sang with joy.  That’s when I knew our community was in serious trouble, since the success of one man has almost nothing to do with the plight of 40 million people.  Not only was it unfair to expect President Obama to be the answer to all of our problems, I knew that neither Obama nor his white male cabinet would be willing to expend many of their resources to do anything for a group of people who vote out of faith without seeking confirmation that their votes actually lead to decisive political action.  In fact, some seemed to believe that because he had made it, we’d all made it.

As I left the church, a proud woman emerged with a beautiful portrait of President Obama.  ”I’m going to put it up on my wall right next to my pictures of Martin Luther King and Jesus,” she said.  I just smiled, because the last thing I wanted to do was rain on the woman’s parade by telling her what I was really thinking.   It’s risky business to get in between any woman and her new husband, her pastor or (in this case) what appeared to be her Lord and savior.  I too was happy to see that we’d gotten our first bi-racial president, but I also know that black faces in high places don’t always mean that there will be progress for the rest of us.

Thinking about this woman’s remarks four years later, I confess that if we are looking for a black public figure who embodies the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama is not that man.   He might be JFK or a hint of Abraham Lincoln, but those posters with President Obama next to Martin Luther King are about as deceptive as putting an image of Aretha Franklin next to a half-nude photo of Rihanna.

While there is hardly any evidence whatsoever to link Dr. King to Obama, it would also be patently unfair to the president to expect him to be Martin Luther King.  At the same time, EVERY president, black or white, has a distinct obligation to contribute to the struggle against racial inequality, especially if he leverages the legacy of Dr. King for his own political benefit.   Dr. King once said that we should not judge a man by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character; this is true even if the man you’re judging is black.

I am not positioned to say that President Barack Obama is a man of poor character.  But I can confidently state that a) he is a politician, which means that deception and manipulation are part of his job description and b) he is not in a position that rewards him for doing things for black people (even as he does things for other major groups). Instead, the president is given the job of supporting the interests of those who have historically sought to oppress African Americans.  Barack Obama, for the most part, is a team player and the truth is that we’re not always on that team.

But if one were to seek out the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, a person we might want to look at is Dr. Cornel West.  Rather than automatically dismissing what I say as hogwash (since this is the knee-jerk reaction to anyone who doesn’t automatically presume that Obama’s presidency is always good for black people), I encourage you to consider the similarities between the two men:

1) They were both strong men of God:  Professor West has preached quite a few sermons in his day and we know that Dr. King was an ordained minister.  Another thing that Dr. King and Dr. West have in common is that in some cases, they were too connected to the word of God to be invited into anyone’s church.  Dr. King was the man who would get you into trouble because he insisted on speaking truth, even when it wasn’t popular, which is no different from the life of Cornel West.

2) They were both extraordinary scholars:  Dr. King famously skipped the 9th and 12th grades in high school to attend college at the age of 15.  Dr. West graduated from Harvard University in three years with a very high GPA, and then marched on for his PhD at Princeton.  Both men are strong reminders that in order to secure your right to freedom in a racist society, you must be intelligent enough to know how to determine the pathway to your own liberation.

3) They were both men of the people who avoided the temptation to suck up corporate money in exchange for their silence:  Many of the public figures you see on all sides of the political fence are bought and paid for like products on a store shelf.  This is largely due to the fact that the perpetual negro dream has historically been to find the white man willing to offer you the most money, even if you are well-educated.  Then, these large corporations that are wired for exploitation begin to “shape” your perspectives to the point that you don’t even know who you are anymore.  Unfortunately, the corruption goes all the way to the top, which is why big soda corporations have convinced the NAACP to lobby in favor of keeping large sugary drinks in black neighborhoods, which is simply despicable.   In our quest for validation and economic security, we somehow never learned that you can’t take money from any old person or group who offers it to you.  The price may end up being your soul.

4) They both believed in non-violence:  Dr. King spoke against the Vietnam War at a time when it was highly unpopular to do so. This cost him invitations to the White House, much of his popularity and a whole bunch of friends.  Over 40 years later, Dr. West reminds us that drone strikes shouldn’t be targeted toward young children overseas, even if a black man is squeezing the trigger.   West’s decision to speak against the American war machine in the face of a popular president has cost him much of his reputational capital and a whole bunch of money. In both cases, the men were attacked for their points of view, and also in both cases, history will prove them right.

5) They both spoke up against racial inequality:  Even though mainstream media has turned Dr. Martin Luther King into a corporate marshmallow, the truth is that he was a man who spoke up for the rights of black and brown people.   Unfortunately, it has become unpopular to fight for African Americans, which is why President Obama recently stated that immigration reform is his number one priority (as a thank you to Hispanic voters, who gave him fewer votes than the black community).  When it comes to the fight against racism, I’m not sure if President Obama is better than a white guy who has to prove his loyalty instead of playing the race card with the color of his skin.

6) They were both disliked by most white people and a large percentage of black people:  It’s easy to remain silent and go along with the program, since that’s what most of us do.  But as Dr. King once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  The Obama presidency is a very uncomfortable time for those who truly care about black people, since there is a firestorm of controversy that comes with disagreeing with the administration’s policies (or lack thereof).  But those who truly care about the fight against racism realize that we can’t become complacent just because a bi-racial American is occupying the White House.

7) They were both trouble makers:  Laurel Thatcher Ulrich once famously said, “Great women are rarely well-behaved.”  The same is true for great people in general.  Both Dr. King and Dr. West understood that typically, struggle breeds progress.  So, if you want the latter, you must be prepared to endure the former.  Both men have shown a willingness to get arrested, receive death threats and even endure hatred from their own community in order to do what is right.  The task is that much more challenging for Dr. West because over time, the color line in America has become far more blurred and ambiguous:  Many middle class black people could care less about poor black people or those who’ve been affected by mass incarceration, so the black divide between rich and poor is forming before our very eyes.

Of course, those who support Obama without thinking much about his policies are going to tell me that my comparisons are crazy.  The thing about falling in love is that we believe what we want to believe, even if all the evidence points in the opposite direction. So, this comparison is not written for those who believe that Obama can do no wrong and it’s not written to get people to like Cornel West.  Instead, it is written to say that if you’re listening to West right now and find yourself angry at him for his uncomfortable words at an inconvenient time, the fact is that this might just be history repeating itself.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Black American Money.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.


169 Responses to Dr. Boyce: 7 Things that Cornel West and Martin Luther King Jr. Have in Common

  1. I have admired Dr. West for a long time. I still admire Dr. West for his deeds, BUT, I think it’s time to quit hollering and screaming in front of caucasoids, because now it’s time for some ACTION!

    Riding around the country in a bus will not bring Black people together; rich or poor. WE NEED A NATION-WIDE BOYCOTT! Him or Smiley NEVER mention the word ‘BOYCOTT’! This is the ONLY way to hurt these corporate theives and gangstas, who are controlling the world with their greed.

    One thang you left out was that, Dr. West was a STRONG advocate for the poor and downtrodden. O’Drama is the complete OPPOSITE. Martin L. King was also a STRONG advocate for the poor. As a matter of Truth, he marched for the poor and downtrodden, but O’Drama SUPPORTS the rich and the greedy. Before he was assinated, King was getting ready to form an organization to help the poor!

    Dr. West has good deeds that he is fighting for, but I would like for him and Smiley to stop including other people in their plight because OTHER people ARE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT US! Do you see OTHER people hiring us when they have overtaken our neighborhoods? Do you see OTHER people treating us fairly, and respectful when we patronize their businesses? Do you see OTHER people out on the streets DEMANDING rights for us; that these illegal aliens are getting? Do you see OTHER people PATRONIZING the few businesses we still own?

    My point is this: All the rights and privileges we fought and died for are now being enjoyed by OTHER people, i.e., mexicans, asians, arabs, the people from india, the pale egyptians, and caucasoids. The Civil Rights Bill has been changed to the Women Rights Bill (for caucasoid females), the Gay Rights Bill (for caucasoid gays), the Animal Rights Bill (for caucasoid’s dogs), and the Men Rights Bill for (caucasoid males). A da*mn dog has more RIGHTS, than us Black hue-mans!


    We need leaders, who are ONLY concerned with our plight in racist amerikkka, and stop trying to INTEGRATE with people, who don’t give a da*mn about us. These OTHER people are only using us for their economic advantage, and that’s all! If they cared for us, how many Black people do you see working in asian restaurants? These mongoloids don’t even allow us to get into the wholesale business of the hair care industry. They only hire a Black person to watch other Blacks, that come inside the store, which saves them money from hiring a security guard!

    By the way…the government aka willie lynch hired an asian to construct the King monument, and they HATE US! AIN’T THAT A SLAP IN THE FACE?

    These arabs in our communities only hire a Black sister, to work the lottery machine, or stock their shelves; other than that, a white gal is behind the cash registar. Whle, the people from india, ONLY HIRE THEIR OWN KIND…PERIOD!!!

    MLK was chosen by caucasoids, as our leader, to keep us Black folks in this submissive, turn-the-other-cheek, docile, weak condition that we are in today. Remember, the government indirectly had King killed, now they want to honor him every year? WAKE UP FOLKS!


  2. Dr. Boyce Watkins ….WHETHER YOU REALIZE IT OR NOT, You Cornell West, Tavis Smiley and other African American commentators are advocating that President Obama ONLY assist Black People..EXCLUSIVELY. As a religious man Cornell West should know that is sinful ….I understand why freedlance commentators like you, Tavis and Wilmer Leon don’t understand that. YOU CANNOT COMPARE A LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD LIKE OBAMA TO A BLACK ACTIVIST BECAUSE THEIR MISSIONS ARE DIFFERENT AND TARGET SPECIFIC PEOPLES.

  3. President Obama, just like FDR, said we have to push him for the changes that are needed. He wants to do right, but he needs our help. We need to join groups like Occupy, leaflet, march for what is important to us. Jobs, getting our brothers and sisters out of jail. ending wars which only create more wars. Getting rid of drones. Stop the militerization of our police. Do right by the servicemen comming back from war, most of them with mental problems as seen by so many commiting suicide. Get rid of the NDAA. There are many more the list would get to long, so before I stop I want to say that I admire Dr. West very much. He along with Dr. King is one of my heroes.

  4. “Dr. West has good deeds that he is fighting for, but I would like for him and Smiley to stop including other people in their plight because OTHER people ARE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT US! Do you see OTHER people hiring us when they have overtaken our neighborhoods?” A-funking-MEN!!!!

  5. Black people need to organize form groups and lobby for what they want.This is what the hispanics had done we cannot just sit down and expect thing to happen.

  6. King is king, West is West and Obama is Obama. If you are looking for someone to say you from your situation, then look in the mirror. All this comparison stuff isn’t helping to solve anything. It just stirs the pot.

  7. So Barack Obama has helped “other groups” but he hasn’t helped black folk. Thats the rhetoric I hear. But I need details. What has he done for “them” that he hasn’t done for “us”? I have a hard time wrapping my brain around it. “He always aids the rich……”. Hmmmm, so he is purposely deploying policy that makes it difficult for poor people? What policies are those? What should the man be doing? What should he be fighting for? Would it even matter? Its not if whatever he did propose would pass congress. I just don’t fully understand what we are supposed to be upset about. Was it outlined in a previous article that I missed?

    I guess the question is, if Boyce Watkins was president, what would be on his agenda today? What would he be fighting for right now? I guarantee if President Watkins was in office RIGHT NOW, some other “Dr. Educated Brother” would be writing the same exact article.

    Lets do this. Write the article about what Obama should be doing and what he shouldn’t be doing and post it on your site and then keep it “stickied” at the top of the site. It will never be buried under other articles. That way we can keep a running tally. Then based on the political landscape of the day…week…or month we can then decide if it would even be possible to do the things that he should be doing. We won’t write that article though. That would require too much poise and level headedness. Not like an article comparing “Mr. Oligarch” to Dr. King.

    • @The Watcher: “So Barack Obama has helped “other groups” but he hasn’t helped black folk. Thats the rhetoric I hear. But I need details.”


      Here’s what O’Drama has done for OTHER people:

      He hired a trans.se.xual, who is OVER the Commerce Department, which was once held by Ron Brown, a BLACK MAN!

      He has given illegal aliens the right to have a driver’s license in his hometown of Chicago

      He has given the okay for ALL of amerikkka the right for gays to marry

      He has given mexicans more green cards, then you can shake a stick at

      He has given asians, mexicans, arabs, and the people from india more contracts, and business loans to open up businesses

      He has not allowed the Hatians to have the right to come to amerikkka like the rest of these foreigners

      He has taken over ALL the countries in Afrika with this racist amerikkkan military, who controls another 130 countries AROUND THE WORLD!!!

      He only pardoned ONE Black man, who was found NOT GUILTY, during his presidency

      Him nor Holder has addressed the senseless killings of Black people, especially Black men, who have been shot in the heads and backs, have not been found with weapons on them, some have been HANDCUFFED in the back of pig’s cars, some Black and women have been shot down from 46 shots up to 130 shots coming from ALL PIG officers!

      If this weak mulatto can get on tell-a-LIE-vision, and cry over some caucasoid kids; then he should be able to get on national tell-a-LIE-vision, and ADDRESS THE KILLINGS OF BLACK PEOPLE; NOT ONLY COMING FROM OUR OWN KIND, but also from caucasoid RACIST PIGS, and racist caucasoid citizens!!!



      • shouldofpickyourowncotton

        Derrick let me tell what the president has done for black people in amerikkka with your is lamb ic bs.THE lilly Ledbetter act fair pay for our black females and all females in amerikkka.Credit reform,college loan and grant reform that took these programs from the greedy banks.Healthcare that helps all amerikkkans to include black folks plus wall st and bank reform that help all amerikkkans not get shady loans that gorge and rip off black folks.There are over 200 laws passed by this great PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA in his 1st term alone that help black folks in AMERIKKKA.Derrick taken your head out of your is lamb ic muzzlim azz cuz u sure stink.IM from the CARRIBBEAN U.S.VI ISLAND AND I NEVER SEEN SO MUCH BRAIN DEAD BLACK FOLKS EATING THEIR OWN.BLACK FOLKS PUT YOUR HEADS IN A BOOK,LEARN A TRADE AND STOP DOING DUMB THINGS THAT GET YOU LOCKED UP IN AMEIKKKA SLAVE PRISONS.DERRICK I HOPE U TAKING NOTES DIP SHYT!!!

      • Why don’t you finish the question and list exactly what you want the President to do. That’s the list I’m waiting for.

      • @Derrick: your long list does not speak of any one thing that he has GIVEN to anybody else…but is a list that exhibits anger, racism and hatred of others. you talk of equal rights and treating others fair as being a bad thing. From what you wrote, Basically you’re saying President Obama is a fair man, he treats everyone equal and he doesn’t discriminate by not hiring someone due to their s****l orientation?… hmmm sounds like a great person. you must be a racist individual. if the president hires someone because of their talent, all you see is he hired a gay person. In regards to gay marriage he said everyone should be allowed the same rights, you say that’s bad. at one time in history folks thought blacks should not have the many rights we have today. and you claim he has not addressed the issue of any black kids being killed, ummm Travon martin is black and the president did speak heart felt and anger over what happened to him. i’m gonna stop because racist people like you don’t deserve my time.

  8. King was King, West is West, Obama is Obama. Comparing one against another stirs controversy and solves nothing. I you looking for a savior, look in the mirror, that is the one to change your situation.

  9. Dr. Boyce give it up. You are right but Black people are in love with The Potus and god forbid anyone disagree with he or his policies. Black folks are blind and will continue to be that way until the real savior returns. They really feel that Barack is Jesus and most haven’t gotten past Dr. Kings I have a Dream speech. His views were totally different by 1968. He is a beloved figure today but back in the day many a Black person did not like him. Yeah Dr. west may be closer but Blind negro’s will never see it and continue to give their alliegence.

  10. I thought this article was about Cornel West. Instead it starts off bashing Obama. This is not being an Obama lover, its about recognizing when something is overkill. @ Derrick.. Tavis Smiley can not speak of a boycott because walmart is one of his major sponsors. And we all know walmart is not a friend of black and poor people. You are soo right about these stores in black communities. In my community the arabs won’t hire black people to stock shelves or man the lottery machine, they won’t hire us for anything. I also noticed at the beauty supply stores, onr does not have any black people working there and the other has a black man to follow you around and one black woman. Hispanic women have replaced all the other black women. Hmmmmm

    • These foreigners use the shyt out of our people, but negroids continue to tap dance down to the wig shop, and buy that long fake horse hair, these mongolids tell them that it’s real!!!

      Our people fall for anythang these foreigners tell them. Especially, if a caucasoid tells them, that the sky is red, a dumb negroid will be hollering in the back saying, yessa massa, that sky is red, boss!!!

      Latrice, I’m about to give up on these negroids.

      It’s useless trying to wake up these dead thinking negroids!!!


  11. Dr Noyce is immutably correct its just that all of us want to look at it in our own understanding, plus the media only pushes an agenda am I the only person who remembers when he did speak directly to black both times it was derogatory and negative just because we can get mortgages and talk to white women doesn’t have anything to do with overcoming “…..

  12. Dr. King had a different delivery than Dr. West. At the time Dr. King was protesting, it was a different day & time and we can accomplish without all of the anger that Dr. West presents. I am sure Dr. West is frustrated so am I but, I never have looked at my situation as a Black Woman and wonder what could out President do for me. I live in America and there are many opportunities for all of us. I do not see white people asking out President to do anything for them, I see people that are Latino that want to stay in America which I agree with if I were Latino I would want the same. Speaking of Gay People, they have been oppressed for a while in the same manner Black People were not able to vote or have opportunities to live anywhere we wanted, we accomplished that so now what. We as a People need to start being more creative and making things right for ourselves. We beat up on one another so badly, in the same manner that this President is being held accountable for everything that Tavis and Cornell wants. I no longer am a fan of Tavis or Cornell and so therefore, I believe they will turn whichever way the wind blows for them. I will countinue to support our President and I am sure in the next four years there will be an agenda that will open up doors for African Americans…I just hope that the ones that the doors are opened for that they open up doors for others but, the deal is we are all human beings and the separation of color needs to STOP. Dr. West is not Dr. King and President Obama has never tried to be that either.

  13. Dr. King would not have had me call his office only to speak to his secretary and never return a call or an email.I mean that is not what I CALL COMMUNICATION ETIQUETTE AT ALL.

    • Ya know Kim…I’m glad you posted your comment that way you will understand first had what Tavis and Cornell are upset about. In the same way you are upset because President Obama did not return your call, Tavis and Cornell are still hating because the President would not rearrange his busy schedule to attend a highly publicized event Tavis was sponsoring that focused on the black community. And based on to attending that event Tavis and Cornell branded Obama as a black president that does nothing for black people. DON’T YOU THINK THAT IS CHILDISH…of Tavis of course?

  14. “… Of course we were all bubbling with pride at the election”? I believe the other people in the church were “bubbling with pride,” but not Dr. Watkins. Or else, why has he knocked President Obama so often since then? Dr. Watkins was very sly in his criticism of the president, but missed no opportunity to find fault, until commenters on this site began to write about it.

  15. Derrick, I think you are not Derrick but Rush Limbaughn or either Rand Paul. You have so much hostility towards this President that I cannot believe you are anything but one of The GOPS…..

    Are you doing anything for your community accept criticizing?

    Are you at least recycling????

    • NEVER insult me, and compare me to those racists, pill dropping, lying, COWARD azz, theiving azz cracker bastu.rds, AGAIN! I know you caucasoids HATE the Truth, but I ain’t sugar coating SHYT!

      You big dummy; how can FACTS be hostile? I told the heffa to give me FACTS, and since you want to put your pale azz in the conversation, YOU supply me with some FACTS!

      I gave you FACTS…not bullshyt! Now, come on wit it!!


      Quit being a closet racist!!!

      • Derrick: reading what you wrote on your long list you do seem like a white racist old man…. or maybe you were just bought by one. anyone filled with such hate and racist nonsense has to be republican. just being real!!!! I mean ony a racist person would be mad because the president wants to treat everyone equally and is not judging others based on their skin color or s****l orientation. the list you wrote was a joke.

        • @becky: “Derrick: reading what you wrote on your long list you do seem like a white racist old man.”

          Listen up, my albinoid human ape: I CANNOT BE A RACIST BECAUSE ONLY YOU caucasoids ARE RACIST!!!

          I REPEAT:

          racist = individuals, groups and populations, who believe in, and practice ‘white supremacy’ and racial domination

          I AIN’T A CRACKER, BYTCH!!!

          racism = the belief in and practice of racial domination, discrimination, degradation and oppression


          racial warfare = the uninterrupted campagnn of racism that has the effect of degrading, destablizing and CONFUSING Black people here and abroad!!!



          • @ Derrick: go get an education because anyone CAN be racist. if you peach hate against another than you are. so if you are in fact black then you got even more serious issues than i imagined smh. Black people have in the past never been the ones to preach hate or put down others but some of these new “hate filled” folks wanting the president to stop helping anyone who isn’t black and wanting him to solely focus on blacks are sad and are a disgrace to our ancestors. By the definition you wrote you would fall into that category of someone who is prejudice..ummm remember you have issues with gays right? smh. someone can discriminate against a gay person. you say you are incapable of dominating or discriminating? lol you are delusional. do you even know what those words mean. look what you wrote a post filled with racist comments but you claim not to be that. smh. i hope everyone see what you just wrote so they can see the type of fools that back Dr. Watkins. lol

    • @Toni — You are right…worse than Limbaugh !!! And there are a lot of these people making foul comments about Pres. Obama that are not based in facts. If anyone wants to find out “what Obama has done for Black folks” — start with a SEARCH…like Google or Yahoo.

      * TYPE IN
      – Obama and Education for Blacks

      – Obama & Black History Month

      – White House Black Agenda (Obama)

      – “Green the Ghetto” — Green Jobs (Obama)

      – Obama & Anti-Slavery Month

      ….and similar words and you will get a lot of information.

      IS NONSENSE. Dr. King was a true trailblazer who fought
      against horrific forces…unlike what we see today.
      Cornell West, Tavis Smiley and Barack Obama have their own
      situations…and battles that have fought…but none of them
      are KINGS…not yet.

      While a lot of people just fuss and complain about the weather, poverty, and other problems…that are some who are taking action — like SOLAR SISTERS…


      • When I searched “accomplishments of Cornel West” virtually nothing came up except his degrees and knowledge and some things he has done to help convicts in prison. The only accomplishment Tavis has done is to further HIS OWN CAREER AS A JOURNALIST.

  16. Dr.Boyce,DUDE,Are you serious?!You need to put down what you smokin.

  17. Gwendolyn Foster

    Jesse Howard Comes closest to expressing my view; however, my view is partially formed by being a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement and having worked with Dr. King during the late 50′s to mid 60′s in Atlanta. It is interesting to me to hear so many people describe Dr. King in retrospect. Don’t get me wrong, Dr. King was all he means to us and more, because he did extraordinary things at an extraordinary time in historyt that others were not called to do. I, also, will tell you that during that time, many others did as much and maybe even more. The differencee is that they neither had the talent nor the effectiveness of speech to attract the intelligencia of this country. As PRESIDENT Obama has said, many of them will remain nameless and faceless to the end of time. And that’s okay. I am and was proud to have such and orator express what I felt for all to hear.
    Maybe Dr. West has this power and does not have the “pulpit” that fell upon Dr. King. It is a fact that Dr. King was not looking for the power and prestiege he had. If he could follow what has become of his legacy, he would be shocked! That is another difference with Dr. West. Dr. West seems to be frustrated with his exposure; his legacy.

    Dr. King was a single issue civil rights activist, period! His concerned was one point of view. He didn’t have to care about the view of others. He had a profound impact on the things relavant to 60 years ago–voting rights, accommodations, housing, entertainment, etc. It was great. I was there.

    PRESIDENT Obama is the leader of the free world and President of the USA. We can’t even get the people to call him president. His focus is multi-multifacited. I would be ashamed of him, if he got into this position and acted like a Civil Rights Activist. Especially since he has a Congress who does everything to block him and never cooperates. What his policies do is provide opportunities for all. I think it was James Brown who sang a song that said, “open up the door, I’ll get it myself.” And yes the door is as open to us as it is to anyone else. If doors are not open then here’s a nitch that could be fill by you, Dr. West, et al.
    I don’t know much about Dr. West except that he’s married to a Caucasion woman. But what he had done did not get much attention except in academia…elitist, elitist, elitist!

    Dr. Watkins, I have followed your progress from the beginning of your blogs to present. You started off very open and educational. Very proud of you, too; but whether you know it or not, you have become progressively more negative. I think maybe you need to broaden your contacts to broaden your views. There are many intellectuals out here who believe this president is doing a good job under the circumstances and you guys should give him a break. Your attitudes I had reserved for the not so smart. Those who cannot understand that the rules of the game have switched on this president. We would not have dared pull Dr. King down like Dr. West and Tavis Smiley. He had enemies, but we had his back!

  18. Third grade math.

    Subtract 39 from whatever age Cornell West is today.

    Whatever the difference is, that’s how many years ago Cornell West would have been killed if he was as much like MLK as you suggest.

    The Neocons only tolerated 39 years of Dr. MLK Jr.

    Oversimplified? Yes. However, so are your arguments against President Obama, and those of us who both support him and do critical thinking 24/7.

    To quote Spike Lee, to support today’s Republican Conservative Confederates would surely disrespect the life blood of my ancestors that right now is flowing through my body.

    Who are the real non thinkers and stockholm syndrome sufferers among us?

  19. Every so often, Boyce needs to show his advertisers that people actually read this rapidly declinig blog and sees their ads. He will write anything, regardless of how ridiculous just to get us to respond and build up the numbers. H next article “7 things Mitt Romney Has In Common with Malcolm X.”

  20. Dr. Watkins, does it surprise you that so many disagree with you in your comparsion of Mr. West with Dr. King. I am so glad to know that so many disagree with the likeness of the two. I totally disagree with the thought that they have all of that in common. Cornell will never be the man Dr. King is. With Cornell there is to much theather.

  21. Boyce, please put that crack pipe down!!!!!

  22. Did Cornel West pay you to write this article? People compare MLK and Obama not because they are the same color, but because they recognise a heart dedicated to service. Both men made tremendous sacrifices in order to help not just blacks, but all people. In the case of MLK, it lead to the cruelest of deaths–by assassination. But, his martyrdom made it possible for Obama’s to become leader of the free world. That is something to celebrate. If someone wants to do that by butting Obama’s portrait next to Jesus and MLK, then so be it. Personally, I have enough pictures of crazy Uncles, so Dr West wont be added any time soon.



  24. Perfectly said Dr. Watkins. It is very difficult to challenge the truth so President Obama’s cheerleaders often resort to name calling when it comes to Dr. West. But, Dr. West has remained principled and continues to bring truth to power. Well Said!!!

  25. I keep reading comments about the President. This article is about Cornel West and Dr.MLK. I know its difficult to discern that considering a large part of the article is talking about the POTUS. Let’s stay on topic….Cornel West is nowhere near Dr. MLK. From the color of their wives to their standard of living. Remember MLK gave practically all his money to the cause. He came to live in chicago in the slums to show the abysmal living conditions the black and poor had to endure.

  26. Pingback: 7 Things That Cornel West And Martin Luther King Jr. Have In Common

  27. Republicans Stop Sabotaging The American People

    Please ask Coronel West whether or not he is brave enough to run for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

    That’s all. Thank you.

  28. Dr. Boyce, Cornell West….I read jealously in your comments. Black people think of West as a shame to our culture because he does not understand the Black culture…we like real statement that are true and truly embodies the majority of our people who struggle for community leaders….no not West, Boyce, or Smiley. Please be silent you three on your pulpits to speak for us!


  30. Boyce, Fox has an opening since Palin was fired. Please apply!!!!

  31. Dr Noyce is absolutely correct

  32. I take it most of the people on this site have JOBS and a place to live. If you don’t live in an urban neighborhood,walk through and see how many African Americans walking around with no jobs and no hope. Major corporations that sponsored Tavis are also formed to lock up millions of minorities for non-violent crimes. They must make lots of $$$$$$$$ for their shareholders. The public school system is a joke, and the kids will never be able to compete with the private schools without resources. Dr King was not popular with white or black people when he died because he spoke the TRUTH.

    • I don’t know where you live but I spend a lot of my time in the Hood and other neighborhoods and the only people I see walking around without a job are crack heads, hoes, gang bangers and n****rs looking to break in somebody’s house and still everything they have.

  33. Dr Boyce, I know the truth when I hear it and see it. You have spoken the truth. The bible say’s let them who have ears hear. Everyone will not be able to hear.

  34. For better or worse, I find Dr. Boykins’ comments right on time. While Dr. West, just like Dr. King, is a flawed human being, he is also a rigorous intellectual who speaks truth to power, even when now that that power happens to be embodied in a black man. To my brutha in the struggle, i say: drop the ad hominem aspects, but otherwise, keep it up!

  35. Boyce
    Give it up please! You are sounding more and more ignorant every day. And stop using West to vent your own pent up anger towards the President. West is a fool who has no platform, no following, no sense of humor, no nothing to be frank. The man you said is like MLK is twice married to some trailer park white trash, which suggests his own internal struggle with his his racial identity. I wouldn’t follow him or Tavis for that matter from here to the corner store. And in terms of educational achievement, just as West is ivy league educated, so is our great President – Columbia and Harvard – remember? When West stops sleeping white and talking black, maybe I’ll listen. But as far as I am concerned, the man is a wild-eyed, confused,unkempt, dirty looking rebel WITHOUT a cause.

  36. Great article. Unfortunately the tenor of some comments suggest that the miseducation of the Negro has succeeded in spades. They are unaware of the reality that Obama merely represents the lesser of evils we have always had to choose from by poli-trickans since the beginnings of this nation. For the record, West and King have ALWAYS been men that I have been extremely proud to recognize as my frat brothers. This isn’t because I blindly follow the black and gold. It is because of the character represented and embodied in these two great men. I don’t always agree with your stand on the issues but you are spot on with this one.

    I AM happy to see that you are ignoring the comments from the peanut gallery and resisting the urge to debate. Instead, you seem to have adopted the attitude of the late great historian John Henrik Clarke. he famously proclaimed that, “I only debate my equals. All others, I teach”. Bravo!

    The brainwashed among us are NOT your equals. Those with little knowledge of the inter-workings of the prison industrial complex, military industrial complex, and the continuing meddling in other countries (clandestine and overt since the end of World War II) under the guise of “national security” are NOT your equals. They are mostly unaware that the USBGC (United States Business and Government Cartel) TALK democracy but ONLY if it is tied to capitalism. They don’t know that in Greece, Grenada, Chile, Iran, Guatemala, The Congo, etc. the USBGC “intervened” for no other reason than to insure capitalism as the economic system for all counties regardless of what the democratic populace desired. They don’t realize that – though Obama has lived the black [as well as white] experience – he was initially nominated with the support of a superdelegate group that had convinced a first-year Senator to run for the highest office because they saw the “it factor” in him after his convention speech. They don’t understand that the elite in a political party don’t hand reins over to an upstart without a prerequisite “meeting of the minds”. They aren’t up on the fact of the continuation of many foreign policy objectives of world domination his predecessors adhered to.

    They STILL think that with all of the interest groups, lobbyists, and his own skull and crossbones objectives he will “do right”. It’s their blind faith – exemplified by previous voting patterns – that keep them from the realization that they must pressure THIS president to hear THEIR voice in a sea of voices JUST LIKE WITH THE OTHERS! Let the blind lead the blind. I for one am grateful that folk like yourself, Smiley, and West are courageous enough – and love black people enough – to speak truth even when they want the facade instead. This encourages the rest of us sighted ones. Courage is not the absence of fear but the forging onward despite it.

    A little something for your mind…

    • Howard E. “Servant2All” Barrett, Jr. –

      Absolutely right on target and what is really going on and will sooner than later be laid bare is much worse than most on earth can even begin to imagine.

      The vast majority of black people and millions of others in America and elsewhere worldwide have no clue how America / Europe re: POTUSs, leaders of European and other countries, Vatican City / Jesuit General, the very rich Rothschilds/Rockefellers/others, governments, Wall Street bankers, huge corporations, and media organizations worldwide are all in bed together, but also that the political parties issue is a game as well.

      The abject ignorance of black people and the America public in general along with the masses of people in other countries and their easy ability to be deceived is what the powerful/rich in America, Europe, and elsewhere in the world have historically always been able to count on–that their lies, deception, and crimes going undetected and unbelieved by the masses even while all such is right in front of them or at the very least can be discovered via some initiative and effort to research.

      In America, Republicans and Democrats rage against one another before the media and then have dinner/drinks together afterwards laughing together about who put on the best and most believable performance. The joke is on the masses of people in America, Europe, Asia, Africa and elsewhere too clueless to know any better and also that Barack Obama, George Bush, Bill Clinton nor any other former POTUS does the bidding of people at-large, but instead do as they’re expected and told to do by the rich here and in Europe.

      The clueless and ignorant believe, live, and eat on the surface of all the garbage they’ve been well indoctrinated and trained to believe. And, they are sitting ducks and lambs being led to certain slaughter in multiple ways. So blinded are they by pitiful ignorance of American government, democracy, and capitalism saturated in evil and corruption that the people demonize those who do know this and way more–the truth speakers/seekers– and to their own peril and that of others foolishly support and applaud the rich ruling class executioners and their puppets.

      In the midst of escalating all manner of great evil in America and worldwide, there will be many worldwide who will remain blind, ignorant, support the wicked, and will perish because of and with them. Such people will burned and be eternally lost because instead of believing, following, and living the Word of Almighty God & His Son Lord Jesus Christ, black people for instance are instead following and supporting the rich, elitist, and immoral deceivers,
      Barack Obama/other politicians, CBC/NAACP, Jay Z/Beyonce/other entertainers, willingness to do anything for great wealth, CNN/MSNBC/Fox News, promotion to marry/procreate with whites, same-s*x marriage, pastors marrying gay couples inside churches, premarital s*x/out-of-wedlock pregnancy, alcohol/drugs, and if not careful their very own self-destruction.

  37. I disagree with Dr. Boyce’s Article comparing Dr. Martin Luther King to Dr. Cornell West. However, my disagreement with the article does not diminish my fondest for Dr. Cornell Lake.

    Dr.King came to his end fighting for poor people. However, Dr King met his demise when he spoke out against “Black Supremacy”. Today, “There is a “Black Divide” between rich and poor that is forming before our very eyes”. “And I agree most middle class black people could care less about poor black people”. Also, “some rich black people are true examples of bigotry and think they were born black, only by mistake.”

    Dr. Boyce’s King-West Article, is an example of Black Supremacy “splitting” a larger wedge between rich blacks and poor blacks thus, Black America. The article try’s to demonstrate how the Obama Administration have been a disservices to the “Black Communities”. Where as, Dr. Boyce, and Dr. West have mentioned little about “Racial Divide” and “Discrimination” within our race, as it relates to “Black Supremacy” in other articles or discussions. Conversely, if Dr. Boyce’s article was about Obama’s Administration’s positive accomplishments and objectives in support of the “Black Communities” then, this type of article would encourage the black communities “togetherness”, poor blacks and rich blacks. As a result, Obama Administration could generate power and leverage to support The “Black Political Agenda” and get things done.

    Therefore, to demonstrate a positive comparison to King and West such as; both believed in nonviolence, avoidance of corporate bribes, inequality, etc.- then use this comparison to demonstrate a negative connotation regarding “Obama’s Black Political Agenda” or the lack there of, is a travesty. Heck, you can add Obama to the same positive position of Dr.King-and Dr. West along with every sane black person in America.

    President Obama’s has one agenda, he is the President and he will serve all America. All men of color who are leaders in other disciplines has been subjected to “Executive Degradation” and criticism like President Obama. I applauded President Obama for his Intelligence,tenacity, perseverance. Obama and his Administration has already made political accomplishments, including some “Black Agenda” concerns. One should “work with” trust, pray and help the Obama Administration support the “Black Agenda” and “Black Communities” when,where, what, and however they can! And stop drawing a wedge between rich blacks and poor blacks thus, Black America.

    And for the Caribbean brothers and sisters- “One Love”.

  38. Allow Dr Watkins his First Amendment right, people! He is alowd to state his opinion!

  39. While Dr. Boyce’s commentary may be interesting, it is the knee-jerk reaction/responses to his supposition which leads me to believe that it very well may be worthy of note. I’m old enough to remember the black community’s so-called support of Dr. King while he was alive. That so-called ‘support’ sounds suspiciously like the reaction to this article regarding Dr. West. While Dr. King was alive (especially after 1966), his approval rating within the black community was no higher than George W. Bush enjoyed at the most unpopular time of his presidency. It was not until after Dr. King was martyred on April 4, 1968 that every Negro in America then claimed to have had his back.

    Very few of the critiques of Dr. West addressed the seven areas that Dr. Boyce put forth. Indeed most are visceral responses seemingly born out of a perception of Dr. West being guilty of publically verbally assaulting a family member. The truth of the matter is Dr. West in all his years of life has not changed. If you’ve ever met him, you’ll know what I’m saying is true. His attacks on previous presidents’ policies were even stronger. The most principled thing about him is that he is going to keep on loving each and every one of us REGARDLESS how we feel about him and he is not going to sleep on the pursuit justice as long as there is one in need of it. Dr. King was the same way. Malcolm X was the same way. Ida B. Wells-Barnett was the same way. Dr. West is truer to a principle higher than merely putting a black face in a high place. I voted for President Barak Obama twice and if Rep. Serrano is successful in rescinding the 22nd amendment, I will most likely be voting for him again. We understand it is a politicians charge in life to compromise principles. But thank God that there are those who are courageous enough, loving enough and free enough whose charge it is never to compromise principles and still love the cool-aid drinkers who vilify him in taking up their plight. Dr. West has been a positive force in the turnaround / changing of countless lives through his teaching, his books, his appearances, his academy, his public interactions (his work) at a grass root level as well as in ‘high places’. He daily sacrifices whatever fortune he might have had and whatever popularity he might have enjoyed for that cause. He lives in a different time than did Dr. King. While Dr. West is no MLK, he is someone who will forever speak truth to power, no matter what the costs or how unpopular it continues to be. He will do it on behalf of those voices that are too often never heard. He will do it on behalf of those who would rather he would not, yet whose children in generations to come will benefit through those efforts, precisely because there were some who indeed stayed true to Dr. King’s legacy.

  40. Black folks need to stop killing each other, stop dropping out of school, stop having babies they can’t afford, stop tearing down their neighborhoods. Cornel West is nothing more than a bag of hot air that has not done any thing in his career that would come close to what the Presidents has If the President had come out kissing his boots he would not be attaching him now. Black folks please wake up and smell the coffee this man and Tavis Smiley has been pimping off our communities problems long before President Obama has been on the scene. They have gotten rich on the black communties problems and have done nothing but blow hot air up your behinds. I’m so sick and tired of us complaining when we are the major downfall of our own communities. We will go ut and get credit in our kids names because we have destroyed ours. We will run and purchase every new pair of Jordan sneakers that Nike put out but can’t afford to pay our bills. LET’S GET IT STRAIGHT. PRESIDENT OBAMA DOES NOT OWE US ANYMORE THEN HE OWE ANYONE ELSE. OUR PEOPLE NEED TO STOP BEING TRIFLING AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN BS.
    Cornel West and Dr Martin Luther King has nothing in common. Dr King would never act as ugly as this Tom has. just becaus he’s sporting an afro and talking about being black does not mean he has your best interest at heart. he is all talk always has been and always will be.

  41. Dr. Boyce, I agree whole heartedly about Dr. West comparison to Dr. King when it comes to the matter of truth. Truth hurts and it triumphs lies and the United States of America has become great because of the massive amount of lies and deceit it has perpetuated on the American people. A history of freedom for a set race of people while all other races were and still are collaterral damage.A war fought among these people in order to maintain superiority and dominance in every way of life for them only, while spouting God in the outright killing or bondage of those not like them to this day. You would think throughout the more than 200 years of America’s history the God and his Son they pray to was and is very, very different in truth and grace and you only have to scan the ages from slavery to the Civil War, other wars and Jim Crow, through the Civil rights movement to present day man in the “White House”, and I can say as a black man “what a mighty God We serve”.

  42. Bettye J. Harold

    Dr. Watkins:
    I am a 72 year old former High school business and social studies
    teacher. I grew up in the south. Participated in the movement, both
    when I was in college and in St. Louis Core. The truth is the closest
    person to Dr. King at this time is Al Sharpton. Dr. King never spoke
    against African-Americans. He was too busy moving people to action.
    West is moving people to dissention. West is seeking fame. He is
    not an activist for equal rights, elimination of poverty or anything
    that will unite people to move and bring about change. When DR. King
    worked everyone knew of his work and causes. That includes the little
    whit boy that I babysat. Get real.

  43. Dr. Watkins:

    I respect your opinion and I admire Dr. Cornel West but there is no one in comparison to Rev. Dr. Martin L. King today and I can almost guarantee that Dr. Cornel West would agree. I understand the argument of Dr. Cornel West as it relates to this current Administration not addressing the issues of the African American Community. They should be doing more and not because President Obama is black but because he has a duty to address the issues of every Community in this Country, EVEN HIS OWN. Like King, West appears to force the President as well as this Country to look at itself and realize that there is a terrible imbalance in the African American Community compared to the rest of the Country. I believe if King was alive today that he would be speaking out and making every effort to meet with President Obama to address African American issues. Unlike former Presidents, President Obama has not met with African American Leaders who disagrees with his policies or that feel that he is not addressing the issues of African Americans. Which brings up why I agree with your statement that, “Many of the public figures you see on all sides of the political fence are bought and paid for like products on a store shelf”, which brings to mind Al Sharpton. But in my opinion I think it is a far stretch to compare West to King. Perhaps he might best be compared to Malcolm X who was also a GREAT Leader but both were/are labeled as being too combative. In the words of Malcolm X, “You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it. If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”

  44. Is it me or did Dr. Boyce exclude mentioning that MLK Jr. attending a HBCU, Morehouse. However, Dr. Boyce had no problem mentioning West attending Harvard and Princeton, both HWCU. Typical Black male academia from HWCU who love to hype up their education from HWCUs, making themselves appear superior than others. Also, Cornel West seems to always host events where the majority of his viewers are white (e.g. PBS, Ivy schools, etc.). Come on Dr. Boyce, we know you and the Black academia will defend each other tooth and nail, but be sure to get all of the facts right.

  45. Say it ain’t so; Cornell married to 2 different white women???????????? In that regard he has more in common with “The Judge” than MLK! But then Doc West is the 21st century Universal–the new black man–who speaks to issues of all poor and downtrodden souls not just his black breathern!!!! Times have changed since the 60′s when sleeping white and talking black was totally unacceptable and destroyed all credibility!!!

  46. No Really; are you getting paid royalties; I gotta know. In what alternate universe would you compare Dr. King with Cornel West? Let’s see..They were both strong men of God: Really, West Ran a church? West walked down a street while people spit in his face, threw rocks, firebombed his home and never sought revenge?; They were both extraordinary scholars: In Dr. West first 36 years of life on planet earth how many books did he have published become best sellers and are the most quoted words in modern history?;They were both men of the people who avoided the temptation to suck up corporate money in exchange for their silence: Excuse me..What University did Dr. King ever teach; when did he ever receive money to be on a talk show?;They both believed in non-violence: Dr. King lived it; have you ever heard Dr. West say anything close to what Dr. King taught?; They both spoke up against racial inequality; Dr. King spoke against inequality of all people, Dr. West has always concerned himself with just Black People; Example what has he said in favor of immigration reform?; “Not our problem” I believe..; They were both disliked by most white people and a large percentage of black people: Dr. King was disliked by White people for obvious reasons he was untrusted by Black people who were a product of their environment, Dr. West is disliked for being an opportunistic egomaniac;They were both trouble makers:Dr. King was disliked because he was considered a troublemaker and an agitator in the context of Jim Crow south; Dr. West looks for trouble by fighting battles that has been won for him instead of fighting new battles before him.. I refer you to my post of February 22, 2013.

  47. This is directed to those persons being the sum total product and beneficiary of “The Dream” and “The Legacy” of the movement who were born January 1, 1950 through December 31, 1965 and I submit and charge that unless your names are Andrew Young, Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond, or John Lewis or was born and lived in America from January 1, 1929 through December 31, 1949 don’t waste my time crying and wining in your insignificant felonious belief that you should have a seat at the table of discussion with the president regarding the affairs and plight of the African American community because you feel that because you got a degree from Princeton University, Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana University or University of Kentucky or that you got lucky to have some web forum, radio show, television broadcast, gave a lecture or wrote a book about your petty struggle to overcome what was expected of you to do that you are going to speak for me or our people. If you were born after 1965..Get real. Clean up your act, get a nice significant other with no skeletons and become a Community Activist and work your way up the political ladder and change your community and stop giving lip service while getting paid.

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