Cornel West said that under President Barack Obama there has been an increase in what he called the “new Jim Crow” and claimed his presidency has thus been a failure.
Appearing in a Monday interview on Al Jazeera America’s Talk to Al Jazeera with David Shuster, West said 2.5 million new prisoners have been incarcerated while Obama has been in office mostly “because of soft drugs” and the disparity in “crack cocaine versus regular cocaine” users. West referred to this phenomenon as the “new Jim Crow” because he said minority communities and the poor are disproportionately impacted.
West blasted the level of corruption on Wall Street that has seen few people to go jail and said there has been a “two-tiered” system of justice under Obama.
West said that disparity applied to Obama’s economy as well, as corporations have made record profits while there has been “massive unemployment” and “increasing wealth inequality.” He said struggling Americans are “giving up work” or “working part time” in Obama’s economy and those numbers are not reflected in the official unemployment numbers.
Shuster, conversely, gushed over Obama’s accomplishments, saying Obama’s presidency should be considered a success if his presidency was judged by “morality” because Obama prevented a depression, passed Obamacare, ended the Iraq War, ended “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” and appointed the first Latina Supreme Court justice. He continued to defend Obama, saying Obama saved the economy and the unemployment rate would have been worse without Obama.
But West disagreed, saying Martin Luther King Jr. would not approve of the “vanilla suburbs” at home that symbolize the income inequality that he said has gotten worse since King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” 50 year ago. West acknowledged that Appalachia also had problems with income and crime inequality.