Open Letter II
Until next time,
"Widely known as one of America's most eloquent philosophers and authors, Cornel West delivers his lecture, "Democracy Matters," tonight at 7 in the Special Events Center."
"West, a professor of religion at Princeton University, is often regarded as a gifted and provocative public intellectual. His writing, teaching and lectures explore the African American traditions of the baptist church, transcendentalism, socialism and pragmatism. He gained national recognition for his best-selling work Race Matters, which explores the ongoing struggle for racial equality in America and the progression of democracy."
"In the hip-hop world, where not many professors or philosophers dare venture, West is an exception.
He is an avid supporter of positive hip-hop music. "West believes music is a way of communicating... hip-hop is not to be disregarded," said Sam Wright, the faculty adviser of the Black Emphasis Month Committee."
"Although his admirers have declared him an intellectual prophet because of the 16 scholarly books he's published, because Harvard elevated him to the highest scholarly distinction, his dissenters criticize his eccentricity and involvement in pop culture."
"As a long time member of the Democratic Socialists of America, West serves as an honorary chairman. He has worked with many political and social organizations, such as co-chairing the National Parenting Organization's Task Force on Parent Empowerment. West was a panelist in President Clinton's National Conversation on Race and was a member of Al Sharpton's presidential exploratory committee.
West has received several awards for his writing and been given more than 20 honorary degrees. He earned his bachelor's from Harvard University and his master's and doctorate from Princeton University."
"Wednesday, President George W. Bush finally confronted the Christian right by denouncing anti-Islamic statements made by leaders such as Pat Robertson. While it is good the president is publicly denouncing the remarks, he should have spoken up sooner."
"Since Sept. 11, Muslims have faced public attacks on their religion by members of the Christian right. Most notable were the remarks made by Jerry Falwell in October. Falwell made the comment that Muhammad, the most respected prophet of Islam, was a terrorist. The comments enraged Muslims and even sparked a riot in India that left five people dead and at least 50 injured. He eventually issued an apology, but by then damage had already been done."
"There are at least one billion Muslims in the world, and understanding them is important. President Bush has started Americans down a good path by noting that the "vast majority of American citizens respect the Islamic people and the Muslim faith." Bush is correct about that, and while his message may be late, it is not so late that people cannot re-address how they interact or view Islam and Muslims in general."
"The holiday season is already in full swing, and it is a good time for reflection on all the world's religions and a time to celebrate peace and good cheer."
"Right now, Wal-Mart is the most successful retailer in the world. Its ability to make money and grow in size is incomparable in its industry. Wal-Mart did not get to this point through equal treatment of employees and fair business practices, however. The Wal-Mart empire thrives on destroying small-town America and offering little in return to the many employees whose hard work helps bring this company success. As if that isn't bad enough, it is now facing a nationwide lawsuit for sexual discrimination."
"According to walmartclass.com, there are 115 women who worked at 184 different stores in 30 different states who are willing to testify against the retail giant. This Web site offers information to any current or former female Wal-Mart employee who has experienced a "glass ceiling" or has been made to feel inferior at her job. The lawsuit involves women who have "been denied positions, seen newly hired men promoted over them, been denied equal pay or been retaliated against for complaining about discrimination," according to the Web site."
"Complaints brought against the retail giant span from sexual to just plain sexist. One woman complained a stripper was hired to perform at a store meeting for a male manager's birthday. A corporate employee recalled being forced to meet her male business associates at Hooters for business lunches. Another former employee reported being told she and other females didn't need top pay or the first pick for promotions because women don't need the money as badly; their husbands should support them. Am I mistaken, or does that sound like a comment that belongs in 1950?"