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Cornel West & Sean Hannity Battle Over West's 'Symbolic Crack Pipe' Comment About Herman Cain

"By symbolic crack pipe, what I meant was he’s living in Never Neverland."

Fox News Channel

Princeton University Professor Cornel West battled it out with Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity on Wednesday, appearing on Hannity's show for the first time since 2006 to discuss West's months-old comments that then-GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain needs to "get off the symbolic crack pipe"

West made the remark in October after Cain said racism does not play a large role in the high unemployment rate among blacks.

"Symbolic crack pipe?" Hannity asked. "Why can't somebody be African American and conservative and why are they constantly beaten up, demonized, called Uncle Toms and sellouts -- horrific names that I know in your heart you're not like that. Why would you say that about someone?"

"By symbolic crack pipe, what I meant was he’s living in Never Neverland," West explained. "Anybody that downplays the prison industrial complex, when it comes to the way our brown sisters and brothers are treated with immigration policy, when it comes to the glass ceiling still at work even though we have a black president, racism is still very real.”

West asked Hannity, "You believe that racism is very much real in America?"

"Of course, absolutely," Hannity said. "But Herman Cain -- he was called a bad apple, trying to curry white favor, the Tea Party, the base likes him because he's a black man who knows his place. You're talking about the proverbial or symbolic crack pipe...Why would you use such language because you disagree with him and why are conservatives that are African American beaten up, called names with impunity?"

But West said he was only disagreeing with Cain's views.

“I only reacted to him saying that racism was not still operating in society to the degree to which it’s holding people back,” West said. “If he’s saying something I agree with, I agree with that, there's a whole host of conservatives who are black, white, red and what have you."

Watch the full segment below, via Fox News Channel:

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