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I’ve got to get a job that pays like this one…$30,000 a pop for opening your mouth for an hour!

Fresh from campaigning for Obama, Cornel West, one of America’s most renowned intellectual figures, will dissect racial mattes next week on campus.

West, the famed author, philosopher, pastor and professor, is known for his outspoken views on the collision of race, politics, morality and society.

The always provocative and sometimes controversial West will speak on Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m., in the Michael D. Rose Theatre. After the event, which is free and open to the public, West will sign copies of his latest book, Hope on a Tightrope.

“Cornel West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood,” his Web site reads. “His writing, speaking and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics and jazz. The New York Times has praised his ‘ferocious moral vision.'”

A professor at Princeton University, West will conduct the discussion against the backdrop of the recent election of America’s first black President-elect, a discussion U of M professor Bill Lawson said would not have been possible before.

“This is a very significant moment,” said Lawson, a distinguished professor who specializes in African-American social-political philosophy. “The University of Memphis is very fortunate to have this very prominent social critic and world renowned scholar come here to this university to share his view about this moment in history.”

West will receive $30,000 for the speaking engagement from the Student Events Allocation, a branch of the Student Activities Council. The speaking fee, said Teanca Shepherd, assistant coordinator of student activities, is fairly standard for someone of West’s “magnitude.” This fee comes from the student activity fees paid by students enrolled at the university.

West will comment on racial attitudes following the election, said Carlissia Graham, one of the organizers of the event. “Just because all those statuses have gone back to normal doesn’t mean those negative feelings aren’t still harbored,” she said. “I don’t think the discussion will solve anything. It won’t be ‘Kumbaya, we’re all equal,’ but I do think it’s a good start. Conversation usually leads to something more.”


November 13, 2008 Posted by | Jobs | , , , , | Leave a comment