Former Princeton Professor and civil rights leader Cornel West described Black Lives Matters as a "marvelous new militancy" on Sunday's 60 Minutes.
“I think that’s a marvelous new militancy that has to do with courage, vision,” he said. “The fundamental challenge always is, will their rage be channeled through hatred and revenge… or though love and justice? You got to push them toward love and justice.”
The Black Lives Matter movement is a product of the death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, in 2013. After the acquittal of Zimmerman, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter surfaced on Twitter and continued to gain attention with the deaths of other African-Americans at the hands of police.
Recently, West called President Obama a black puppet of Wall Street:
"When I call the president a black puppet of Wall Street, I was really talking about the degree to which Wall Street had a disproportionate amount of influence on his policies as opposed to poor people and working people."
And West had more criticism of American race relations under the Obama presidency.
"We're in bad shape. We're in bad shape. For the upper-middle classes, we've got unprecedented opportunities and we deserve those opportunities. We've worked very hard. Our people sacrificed to make sure those opportunities were available.
But poor black, brown, red people are catching so much hell on every level-- education, job market, mass media, family's weak, communities shot through with too many guns and drugs. We acted as if we could evade it and avoid it. That's what Barack Obama did for the first six years. He held it at arm's length.
And of course what happened? You end up with a Black Lives Matter movement under a black president. What does that say? Now that doesn't mean that the president oughta take full responsibility for the race question. No, we got 400 years of this. But you have to be willing to be courageous and be unafraid to hit it head on."