Story and photos by Denny Han/Staff writer/@dennyh_
Cornel West gave a lecture addressing issues of race relations and social justice in relation to education in front of the few hundred attendees in the LAC Auditorium Friday, Oct. 21 as part of LBCC’s recently funded student equity plan.
Dwayne Green, 37, an international business major, said, “The holy spirit was here.”
For many students, the theme of integrity posed by West stood out the most during the lecture. Westsaid, “A tensionless life does not exist. Integrity is what lies in the middle, amidst the difficult life. What one does with such integrity is how they learn to die.” West made note of the difference between “education” and “schooling:” schooling being what enforces the idea of “smartness” and the “pursuit of money and materialism. Let the phones be smart.” West said, “What you need is wisdom. Wisdom is obtained through an education, enforced by integrity.”
Ken McClintic, 60, an environmental science major, said, “It presents itself as a challenge for me to face. Integrity is all about the path, not the results.” McClintic attended West’s lecture to gain information for his PowerPoint presentation based on West’s American Pragmatism.
Linda Shaw, 20, an English major, said, “I think it set a fire under us. And I like that he encouraged us to pursue our own legacies which may be built on top of the work established by people like West, but is still uniquely our own.”
Alexandra Shannon, 17, a linguistics major, said, “It’s interesting that he talked about the pursuit of materialism here at a community college where a lot of people seem to be obsessed with pursuing a joyless quest for pleasure.”
During the Q&A following the lecture, one student anonymously ask a question regarding student homelessness. “Reading Shakespeare in the backseat of a car is a damn shame,” West said, demanding a “state of emergency” issued to raise awareness and gain support from the community to “eliminate this plight.” The student revealed herself as Angela Andrews, 50, a former nursing major, which West proceeded to comfort.
On race relations, West reminded the students not to “talk about how an individual broke the glass ceiling when the rest of us are still suck in the basement.”
Human services professor Annahita Mahdavi served as the moderator during the Q&A session and member of the student equity committee. Mondari played a key role in securing West as a guest speaker. The Student Equity Speaker Series was funded by a $2.5 million grant for the purposes of student equity.
In the closing remarks of his lecture, West, a Princeton doctorial graduate in philosophy, reminded the audience that “you should leave the world better than when you found it. That is the result of an education.”