JERUSALEM – A close associate and colleague of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. linked to black radicals introduced President Obama at a 2007 Harlem fundraiser by first railing against the “racist” criminal justice system of the “American empire.”
A scan of YouTube clips found controversial race scholar Cornel West introducing Obama at the fundraiser while stating the “American empire is in such a deep crisis” and slamming the “racist criminal justice system” and “disgraceful schools in our city.”
“He is my brother and my companion and comrade,” said West of Obama.
Obama asked the audience for a round of applause for West.
West, currently a professor at Princeton University, served as an adviser on Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March and is a personal friend of Farrakhan. He serves as honorary chair of a U.S. socialist group and has ties to black extremists.
West has branded the U.S. a “racist patriarchal” nation where “white supremacy” continues to define everyday life and once stated the 9-11 attacks gave whites a glimpse of what it means to be a black person in the U.S.
West authored two books on race with Gates, who is at the center of controversy after Obama remarked on Gates’ being handcuffed by police outside his home after a report of a burglary in his house.
Serving as director for a Harvard race institute immortalizing W.E.B. Du Bois, Gates cultivated black radicals to his race studies department, with perhaps West being the most prominent. However, West left Harvard for Princeton in 2002 after a public spat with Harvard’s then-president, Lawrence Summers.
West and comedian Chris Rock both introduced Obama at the 2007 fundraiser, an event featuring about 1,500 people which served as Obama’s first foray into Harlem since he announced his Democratic presidential candidacy.
Obama named West to the Black Advisory Council of his presidential campaign.
From a young age, West proclaimed he admired “the sincere black militancy of Malcolm X, the defiant rage of the Black Panther Party … and the livid black [liberation] theology of James Cone.”
Cone’s theology spawned Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s controversial pastor for 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ. West was a strong defender of Wright when the pastor’s extreme remarks became national news during last year’s campaign season.
In 1995, West signed a New York Times ad voicing support for cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther.
In 2002, West further signed a “Statement of Conscience” crafted by Not In Our Name, a project of C. Clark Kissinger’s Revolutionary Communist Party. He then endorsed the World Can’t Wait campaign, a Revolutionary Communist Party project seeking to organize “people living in the United States to take responsibility to stop the whole disastrous course led by the Bush administration.”
After branding the U.S. a “racist patriarchal” nation in his book “Race Matters,” West wrote that “White America has been historically weak-willed in ensuring racial justice and has continued to resist fully accepting the humanity of blacks.”
Also in that book, West claimed the 9-11 attacks gave white Americans a glimpse of what it means to be a black person in the U.S. – feeling “unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, and hatred” for who they are.
“Since 9/11,” West wrote, “the whole nation has the blues, when before it was just black people.”