Cornel West Arrested In Ferguson Protest, But The Kids Are Not Impressed

Young commentators on Twitter don’t seem all so sure that West’s methods are all that productive.

October 13, 2014

Prominent activist Cornel West was arrested this morning in Ferguson, Missouri, where he was participating in the so-called "Weekend of Resistance" and the inaugural Moral Monday, a day of planned protests and acts of civil disobedience. He was among the hundred or so reported protestors and clergy members who marched through the rain to the Ferguson Police Department to ask for their repentance in the deaths of Michael Brown and Vonderrit Myers. As they peacefully pushed across police lines, handcuffs came out. A number of them were arrested, including West—as was his intention. "It's a beautiful thing to see people on fire for justice, but I didn't come here to give a speech, I came here to go to jail," he vowed Sunday night at a demonstration on the campus of Saint Louis University. "I wanna connect organically with the youth, in their effort."

Here he is, being handcuffed and then put into a police van.

Whether his attempt to connect with the youth was a success is less clear, as younger generations of protesters don't seem all so sure that this manner of protest is all that productive. Some reacting to the news of his arrest on Twitter are unimpressed by his act of disobedience, many believing that it is little more than an act of personal publicity:

Others seem to feel that it is too little and too late:

But, as the Washington Post's man on the ground Wesley Morris—who was arrested while covering the initial wave of protests in Ferguson—points out, the decision to participate can be a catch 22 situation for public figures. "Show up for #FergusonOctober and it's 'where were you earlier? You just want photo op!' But don't show up (like sharpton this weekend) and it's 'where are they now?! They were never really down for the cause!'" he wrote on Twitter.

Photo credit: Joshua Lott / Getty Images

Cornel West Arrested In Ferguson Protest, But The Kids Are Not Impressed