John Legend just schooled Kanye on Republicans and slavery after Kanye’s ignorant tweet

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Per his ongoing public stream of consciousness, Kanye West took to Twitter this morning to share a screenshot of a text from a man identified as “Steve” that draws a tenuous link between slavery and the Republican Party.

Singer John Legend who, along with his wife, is an outspoken progressive, took it upon himself to dispel the false equivalency that because Abraham Lincoln was a “Republican” in name from 1861 to 1865 does not mean that the GOP of today still represents the same values.

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A basic understanding of civics would explain that, by the early 1900s, the Republican and Democratic parties began to switch positions. Whereas the Republican Party prior to that point advocated for labor unions and personal rights, the Democratic Party were anti-federalists and didn’t want the government to intervene in their personal affairs. Sound familiar to certain parties today?

Meanwhile, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, landmark legislation that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, was signed into law by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson. The concept was initially proposed by his predecessor, another Democratic president, John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated before he could see any concrete legislation pass. While the legislation passed with bipartisan support, opposition came from the last vestiges of the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Southern Democrats who, by modern standards, virtually no longer exist in the party’s current form. In fact, the most notable opponent to the legislation was Barry Goldwater, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 1964.

If Kanye thinks that he is acting as some unifying voice by drawing misguided false equivalencies between factual American history and right-wing propaganda devoid of nuance, he is in for a rude awakening. The rapper has a massive following; even giving misinformation like this a platform is perpetuating America’s already rampant ignorance regarding its own history.

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If Kanye really wants to unify Americans, he could start by informing himself with even the most basic of facts before propagating disingenuous falsehoods.

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Brian Tyler Cohen

Managing editor

Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

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