Cornell West on How to do Good in America

“… and of course America is a romantic project. It’s paradiso, city on the hill and all this other mess and lies and so on. No, no, America is a very fragile democratic experiment predicated on the dispossession of the lands of indigenous peoples, the enslavement of African peoples and the subjugation of women and marginalization of gays and lesbians and it has great potential but this notion that somehow, you know, we had it all, or ever will have it all, has got to go — you have got to push it to the side. And once you push all that to the side then it tends to evacuate the language of disappointment and the language of failure and you say, ‘ok well how much have we done? how have we been able to do it? can we do more?’ well in certain situations you can’t do more; it is like trying to break dance at 75, you can’t do it anymore you were a master at 16, it’s over. You cannot make love at 80 the way you did at 20, so what? Time is real.”

Cornell West