The acutely-worded beef between Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West has taken another turn. West responded to Dyson’s very public critique with a statement of his own on Facebook today (April 23), but he mostly used subliminals.
While Dyson took to The New Republic to publish his critique of his mentor, “The Ghost of Cornel West,” Sunday night, West chose the less flashy route—a Facebook post.
“Character assassination is the refuge of those who hide and conceal these issues in order to rationalize their own allegiance to the status quo,” West posted Thursday, indirectly addressing Dyson’s claims—namely of West’s claiming to be a “prophet”—without naming his longtime compatriot. “I am neither a saint nor prophet, but I am a Jesus-loving free Black man in a Great Tradition who intends to be faithful unto death in telling the truth and bearing witness to justice.”
Dyson, who has known West for at least 35 years and considers the academic his mentor, very publicly outlined why the two had fallen out in The New Republic story and in an interview with The Root, claiming West’s highly personal attacks on President Barack Obama, as well as attacks on other activists and academics who have defended the president, including Dyson, led to a loss of credibility, in the eyes of many, for West.
West has been critiqued before, it’s a wonder that he’s not used to this by now. Or maybe, it stings more because Dyson is (or was) a friend.
He started the Facebook post by noting that the difference of opinion with Dyson is just a distraction, and that we should “focus on what really matters.”
Sounds about right.