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Dr. Cornel West Speaks at Queens

imageDr. Cornel West
By Stacey Kammerdiener03/26/12 -  

"As Plato said, the unexamined life is not worth living.  But the examined life is painful,"  Dr. Cornel West told a sold-out crowd at a March 26 lecture at Queens in Dana Auditorium.

The lecture by this prominent historian and social commentator was sponsored by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion's Diversity Lecture & Cultural Series.  West spoke about race, the state of education in the United States, and the importance of role models in young Americans' lives.  

"What does it mean to be human?" he asked the audience.  "What kind of values and virtues will you possess?"

He spoke about the importance of education and remarked, "Queens possesses deep, intellectual traditions, forcing us to raise unsettling questions," adding that he believes that "teachers should help students find their voice."

West also focused on contemporary race relations in America.  "'Less racist' is different than 'post-racial,'" he said, acknowledging that although we've come a long way, hundreds of years of oppression are hard to wipe away in our country. 

West said that he believes in the "love of wisdom, critical reflection, love of neighbors, and even love of enemies," though the latter can be difficult.

West devoted much time to answering questions from the audience.  The line of participants ready to pose questions was long, and Dr. West graciously continued the dialogue long into the evening. 

At one point, a small child in the audience asked if he could shake the thought leader's hand. West smiled, jumped off the stage and bear-hugged the young boy.

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