Kanye West, a major and influential figure in pop music and with young black African-Americans particularly, has been a constant force for racial division, most notably when he told a live national audience that the response to the New Orleans recovery after Katrina was deliberately slow in order to harm African Americans. Despite the fact that he has repeatedly revealed himself to be a shameless jerk as well—really, it’s inconceivable that someone of such taste and class as Kim Kardashian would marry someone like that, but who can map the human heart?—West continues to promote racial distrust and division, making the musician a cultural and societal pollutant, the human national equivalent of Flint water.
His latest racist outburst was a series of tweets yesterday to his millions of followers that proceeded this way, within a minute…
To Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, New York Times, and any other white publication. Please do not comment on black music anymore…
I love love love white people but you don’t understand what it means to be the great grandson of ex slaves and make it this far…
The system is designed for colored people to fail and one of our only voices is music. One of our only ways out is music.
Hilariously, West’s complaint was that a Pitchfork review “only” gave his album a “9 out of 10” rating. He explained that he deserved a “30 out of 10.”
This is more evidence that strong, vocal and influential forces in pop culture and the black community have abandoned the goals of racial respect, integrated society and equal justice and opportunity for the new goals black separation, special status, double standards, and disrespect. This has been the message of protesting activists on dozens of campuses; it was the message of the Black Lives Matter/Black Panthers salute Americans were subjected to by Beyoncé at the Super Bowl halftime show, and that is West’s irresponsible message as well.
Kanje has decreed some new rules, apparently :
1. Black celebrities can decree what whites understand or not, but white publications—funny, I thought blacks read the New York Times too, especially since black racists write for it…can’t review black artists. Even black reviewers for “white” publications? Give me time, Kanye: I’m white, and this is hard for me…
2. When black entertainers make racist comments including “I love you people, but..” it will not be taken as condescending crap, as it would and should be when any white speaker talks like that about blacks like Kanye.
3. Everyone, especially black youths, needs to recognize that the United States has intentionally designed its society and laws to make African Americans fail.
4. Black celebrities can talk about “colored people,” but whites are racist if they do.
5. African Americans should be immune from any standards, judgments and criticism, except those coming from other African-Americans, because the distance between the races is unbridgeable, and needs to stay that way.
The depressing thing is that there appears to be no black role model of equivalent prominence who has the communication skills, courage and integrity to stand up and explain what is wrong with Kanye West and the ideas about race and America that he represents.
I mean, where would we find one? I can’t even imagine where to begin looking…
41 thoughts on “Kanye West, Ethics Corrupter”
Unfortunately, Jack, the time of the bridge builders, like Booker T. Washington and MLK, is over. There’s more profit, both politically and financially, in keeping the races divided.
BTW said as much.
“There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”
“I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed. ”
“The wisest among my race understand that agitations of social equality is the extremist folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing”
“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
Booker T. Washington.
An actual former slave, Mr. West.
“Hilariously, West’s complaint was that a Pitchfork review “only” gave his album a “9 out of 10” rating. He explained that he deserved a “30 out of 10.”
No no Jack. Well… Yes yes actually. See… West ascribes to the privilege point system. It’s hard to pin down exactly how the system works, but I submit this example for the group.
That was way cool.
Grerat video. Thanks
I think it is slowly becoming known that Kanye is quite probably in the middle of a mental breakdown. All of these recent stunts, besides the one you just outlined above, the Bill Cosby thing, the “finger in the butt” episode with his ex, begging Mark Zuckerberg for money, etc probably means that he is cycling into a maniac state. I would guess that he is a manic-depressive, or someone with extreme anxiety issues. I think we will read that he has checked in somewhere with “exhaustion” pretty soon.
Good observation, though when was he “well”?
I think most observers would note that Kanye’s mental state took a notable decline when his mother died in 2007. He was always a bit high-strung, but he seemed to go totally off the rails once she was gone, dating strippers, “I’mma let you finish…”, Yeezus, etc. Perhaps she was a moderating influence, or perhaps she was just adept at hiding his issues from the public.
I have his College Dropout album and Late Registration. Was he well then? Who knows.
College Dropout – https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#safe=off&q=Kanye+West+The+College+Dropout&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgFuLUz9U3MMqxMDFQAjNN8owMcrXEs5Ot9HNLizOT9ROLSjKLS6wSc5JKc4sfMQZwC7z8cU9Yyn3SmpPXGB25cKkUUuNic80rySypFJLh4pVCWKPBIMXNheDyAAB64-5thAAAAA&tbs=kac:1,kac_so:0
Late Registration – https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#safe=off&q=Kanye+West+Late+Registration&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgFuLUz9U3MMqxMDFQAjNNq4rzyrTEs5Ot9HNLizOT9ROLSjKLS6wSc5JKc4sfMQZwC7z8cU9Yyn3SmpPXGB25cKkUUuNic80rySypFJLh4pVCWKPBIMXNheDyAACB6kHFhAAAAA&tbs=kac:1,kac_so:0
Can’t say I listened to either of them more than twice.
For some reason, I heard about Kanye a long time ago, before he got famous, possibly because he’s from Chicago, and to me he seemed pretty normal and, actually, quite intelligent and thoughtful. Then he got in a really bad car accident and had a serious head injury. His work and public life after that seemed different, and I lost interest. It could well be just me, but if we’re going to guess at his mental health, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was suffering the lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury.
Unbelievable. deery and I agree on something. Kanye West appears to have completely lost his mind.
With all due respect, the first paragraph contains a few glaring fallacies. For instance, the first sentence comically declares that Kayne West is ” a major and influential figure in pop music and with young black African-Americans”. He is neither a major nor influential figure in pop music or Black communities. He is a loud mouth, incendiary, shameless self-promoter who says and does stupid things to keep himself in the news. For example, West recently declared that Zuckerburg of Facebook fame should pay him a ton of money on some cockamamie theory that escapes logic or sufficient importance to give it any thought. Then, that Martin Shkreli guy offered to pay him $10 million for all of the rights, title, and interest in and to West’s newest CD, presumably so that Martin Shkreli could bury it in a coffee can in his backyard before he gets hauled off in shackles to prison – now that I think about it, maybe Martin Shkreli has more redemptive grace than West because Martin Shkreli is willing to pay A LOT of money to keep West’s idiocy from further damaging society. Frankly, Pitchfork should have saved itself some grief – it should have given West’s recent foray into musical brilliance a celebratory 1,000 on a 10-point scale and moved on to something more interesting, such as cleaning out their staple boxes and arranging Post-it note pads on their desks. Nobody would have thought twice or cared. West is irrelevant and not worth the trouble.
I have no issues with the rest of the post, though. I think you have correctly described the harm Black Lives Matter has done to the abysmal state of US race relations. Apartheid is at the foundation of the Black Lives Matter and its related demands for equality. It is a separate but equal mentality. A police officer involved in a shooting with Black should be prosecuted. There should be separate trials and judicial systems for Blacks accused of, or victims, of crime. Sentencing should take into consideration Black experience and systemic racism, resulting in decreased sentences or alternative punishments. Blacks should sit on juries involving Blacks accused or crimes or where Blacks are victims of crime (where the only issue is the severity of punishment handed down against a non-Black perpetrator).
Back to West and his ilk. Interestingly, Beyoncé had the unmitigated audacity to declare that she had no idea that the Super Bowl Black Panther Dancers were denigrating police officers and white privilege (Malcolm X would be so proud) during the Super Bowl performance, even though her own website sports two official videos which, oddly enough, denigrate police officers and white privilege, along with state and federal governmental responses to Katrina (I still don’t get the conjurer woman in the big hat, though).
On the contrary: many of my undergraduate students (age 18-22) view him as leading artistic and social tastemaker, role model, cultural critic, fashion/style icon, and leader. He is so regarded regardless of race or gender, although it’s males who seem to start the Kanye conversations more.
I believe that he is that well regarded because his transgressive and dumb commentary stem from a place of true emotional non-inhibition, un-tempered by ethics, reason, patience, objectivity, or compassion. He’s a pure Freudian Id with a sampler, a drum machine, and a Twitter account. In that way, he is one of the best and purest examples of 21st Century media celebrity that I can think of. Sound, fury and self-promotion signifying sound, fury and self promotion. There’s so much energy and activity that it gives the impression that something important is going on… but all that is happening is a meta exercise in creating an already-mediated illusion of immediacy and relevance.
We will very likely all live to see the administration of President West and First Lady Kim.
I really hate you for writing that, even in jest.
Ruined my day too.
So he’s like a black Trump?
That’s exactly what he is…arrogant, faking it, narcissist, insecure, bluster. Dolt.
“The depressing thing is that there appears to be no black role model of equivalent prominence who has the communication skills, courage and integrity to stand up and explain what is wrong with Kanye West and the ideas about race and America that he represents.” There appears to be none, but they’re certainly out there. Thomas Sowell is the first among many that come to mind. Of course, their voices are squelched, and what little that makes it through the din is ignored.
Not nearly of equal prominence, but Jason Riley of the WSJ as well.
Yes, I really like him. I read a hit-piece by Salon that discussed ” Please Stop Helping Us” a while back. Check out how many “facts” they cite that are apparently self-evident. http://www.salon.com/2014/07/11/the_rights_favorite_new_race_guru_why_you_should_know_jason_riley/
Hey, besides Sowell and Riley, there’s this commenter on an obscure ethics blog who goes by the name Chris Bentley. He’s incredibly insightful and lucid. I wish he had Kanye West’s bully pulpit.
Agreed. (In other words, I was thinking the same thing.)
If you’re looking for someone hard to squelch, I recommend Prince Ea, a charismatic Ubermensch and skilled spoken word performer, among other ongoing accomplishments. He eschews labels, but because he looks similar to them, black racists may be more likely to take his opinion seriously when he speaks out against divisiveness. Here’s his perfect answer to the concept of race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0qD2K2RWkc.
It is indeed perfect, and undeniably beautiful and true. THIS is what impressionable young people need to hear and take to heart, not messages of divisiveness and hopelessness.
Also a great video. And nice to see side by side with the ‘education’ video above.
My son tells me rap is consumed predominately by white kids. Go figure. So it may do more harm to white kids. Who knows.
“someone of such taste and class as Kim Kardashian” Sorry Jack, you lost me there. There are few positions you take with which I have a major problem but that’s one. You’re sounding a little like Piers Morgan, although obviously it’s your disinterested opinion and you’re not groveling for access as does Piers Morgan. She’s an ethics corrupter of massive proportions. The entire clan is awful beyond words. Her father must be exhausted from spinning in his grave.
And what is it with rough around the edges young black guys being the arm candy for famous for being famous young mostly white girls these days? Fads can be terrible things. Certainly not a rational basis for picking significant others.
Finally, I don’t think West’s bi-polar disease is terribly relevant. Tons of people in show business are bi-polar. The media still heap praise upon their every move. See, eg. Charlie Sheen. If West is mentally ill, it’s indicative of the ethical corruption of the media and all his surrounding enablers. The whole thing is a goat rodeo and no one calls it out.
Except for Jack.
Okay, okay Jack. You got me. You were kidding about Kim Kardashian. You could’t resist, could you. You just fit in these hilarious jokes in the middle of your discourses and some of them go right over my head like stray bullets.
Your son is correct. Popular rap music is mostly consumed by white teens. I don’t think you can consider it black music when the majority of listeners are white children. If you look at a picture of a Kanye concert black people are few and far between.
A peculiar phenomenon. Just not sure what to make of it. So is the “reality” of rap, as in “keepin it real” just a bunch of mumbo jumbo sold to gullible white kids by black artists and Jewish producers?
Reading from the landing page top down I first read about Paul McCartney followed by this story about Kanye West. Could there be a relationship? Or is even thinking this already racial divisive? It makes one wonder.
The culture of “Love Me, Do” and rap are pretty darned far apart to begin with.
Just as Nixon termed “the great silent majority” which were/are mostly white people in fly-over country who don’t hold the same views as the so-called white east/west coast elites, is it possible to consider that blacks have their own “silent majority” who are in agreement with West? Very often in these discussions, I get the sense that people think this anger and angst comes out of nowhere, that there is no reason for it. If that’s the first assumption, someone like West, indeed, appears to be an ethics corrupter. However, if strong, influential forces from pop culture and the black community” are silent, along with just about everybody else in communities of color, perhaps it is because for them West is speaking a truth – again, a truth that may not make sense in ethical analysis (or be particularly comfortable for the hearer), but which reflects what many feel is the condition of their lives.
Most, if not all, of your commenters, I assume, are white. The comments make perfect sense if seen from that viewpoint – well educated, thoughtful, and with a strong sense of what is ethically correct. I do not think they take into account the viewpoints and sense of “otherness” that West speaks to and which obviously resonates through the lack of condemnation and silence when he makes one of his divisive statements. As a stage director, you know full well the eloquence of silence. In this case, I think it is the silence of agreement and West in all his flamboyance and outrage breaks that silence to speak what is an uncomfortable truth for many.
Chris Riley? You out there?
Sorry, Chris Bentley.
Many people feel all sorts of things, especially when people like West go out of their way to validate and rationalize those feelings. The fact that they feel them doesn’t validate them, mean they are “true” or make them less destructive.
On the other hand, it may be a reflection of the discomfort many people experience when they are called racist, Uncle Tom, back-stabber, white apologist, not really black, enabler, Oreo, traitor, terrorist, pro-slavery, etc. Persecution has a funny way of keeping some folks silent.