Cornel West: Nelson Mandela Was Not Santa Claus

‘We are witnessing the Santa Claus-ification of Nelson Mandela. We’ve turned the revolutionary into a huggable old man with toys and a bag’

Cornel West Warns Against the ‘Santa Claus-ification’ of Nelson Mandela on CNN (Mediaite)

By Friday evening, nearly every cable news commentator on the planet had gotten a chance to weigh in on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. But none of them had a take quite like that of Dr. Cornel West, who joined Jake Tapper on CNN to denounce what he sees as the “Santa Claus-ification” of the South African leader.

Asked if Mandela’s passing has caused the media to “cover up” how some people, especially those on the right in American politics, viewed him in the not-so-distant past, West answered affirmatively. “I think no doubt we are,” he said. Calling Mandela a “spiritual giant, moral titan and political revolutionary,” West described what we are now witnessing as a “Santa Claus-ification” of his legacy.

He explained, “We turn the revolutionary into an old man — a huggable old man with toys and a bag, smile on his face, no threat to anybody, domesticated, tame. And no longer really full of the fire.”

Video files
Audio files
Similar stories
In Mandela Commemoration, Obama Discusses His Own Role in Apartheid Struggle
Santa Claus Lookalikes Run Marathons Across the Globe
Williams: I Was First Person to Meet Mandela After He Learned He’d Been Elected Pres.
Letterman to Cornel West: Am I ‘Ignorant’ To Think Race Relations Are Getting Better?
Princeton Prof: Obama’s a Republican in Blackface, MSNBC’s Black Contributors Are Sellouts