Presidential candidate Herman Cain struck back at black leaders who criticized him as callous toward the poor and ignorant of history, saying he will not allow people who “don’t want black people to think for themselves” to try and “intimidate” him into keeping silent.
The businessman and Republican presidential candidate, in an interview on Fox News, vigorously defended himself against critics unhappy with his recent comments on race and the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Singer Harry Belafonte called Cain a “bad apple.” Princeton University professor Cornel West said Cain’s remarks reflect a “coldness toward poor people.”
But Cain said the “offensive” criticism is just a familiar tactic to marginalize him. He suggested his status as a prominent black conservative makes him a target, but said the attacks will not succeed.
“I left the Democratic plantation a long time ago. And all that they try to do when someone like me … the only tactic that they have to try and intimidate me and shut me up is to call me names, and this sort of thing. It just simply won’t work,” Cain said.
As for West’s criticism, he said the professor has “been in academia too long.”
“I’ve been in the real world. He’s been in academia,” Cain said. “So he’s back on this symbolic stuff.”
West singled out Cain — who recently stirred controversy by saying those who don’t have jobs and aren’t wealthy should blame themselves — during an interview on Fox News on Monday.
“Brother Herman Cain, he’s Exhibition A of a coldness toward poor people, a callousness toward working people,” West said. On CNN, West also said Cain should get off the “symbolic crackpipe.”
In a separate interview on CNN, Belafonte criticized Cain for saying racism is not a major factor in holding people back in America.