Republican U.S. presidential candidate Herman Cain addresses the Family… (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst )
Republican presidential candidate and retired pizza chain executive Herman Cain didn't take long Monday to jump into a dispute over his views on racism.
In an appearance on Fox News’ "Hannity," Cain said he found “offensive” comments that were made by Harry Belafonte and Cornel West in response to his assertion that people use racism as an excuse.
“Because he happened to have had good fortune hit him, because he happened to have had a moment when he broke through – the moment someone blinked – does not make him the authority on the plight of people of color,” Belafonte said in an interview with Joy Behar that will be aired in full Friday on HLN.
“Herman Cain is just the latest incarnation of what is totally false to the needs of our community and the needs of our nation,” Belafonte said. “I think he’s a bad apple, and people should look at his whole card. He’s not what he says he is.”
West said Cain, “needs to get off the symbolic crack pipe and acknowledge that the evidence [of racism] is overwhelming.”
Cain took to Fox on Monday night and called the statements "offensive."
“Look, I left the Democrat plantation a long time ago,” Cain said in response to Belfonte’s comment. “And all that they try to do when someone like me – and I’m not the only black person out there that shares these conservative views – 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.”
He dismissed West as someone who “has been in academia too long.”
“He is out of touch with the real world,” Cain said.
“I don’t have a lot of patience for people who want to blame racism on the fact that some people don’t make it in America,” Cain said, noting that he “was able to climb the corporate ladder” at Pillsbury and Burger King.
“If you put your mind to it and you don’t play the victim card, you can do whatever you want to do in this country,” he said. “I am walking proof of that.”