Anyone who considers Kanye West a thought leader rather than just another rapper who garnered more than his fair share of fame by marrying a reality TV star is sadly misguided to begin with, but the hip-hop star’s comments this weekend about slavery, coming immediately after West’s defense of President Trump, should put that notion firmly in the grave.
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” West said in a disastrous TMZ appearance. “You was there for 400 years, and it’s all of y’all? It’s like we’re mentally in prison.”
West’s suggestion that slaves in America had a choice in their fate demonstrated just how celebrity and ignorance can combine to form a deadly brew of disinformation that sadly many non-celebrity ignoramuses will adopt as truth.
Maxine Crump, a descendant of a slave and leader of the organization Dialogue on Race Louisiana, appeared on CNN today to address West’s comments and show why they are so destructive, yet so persistent.
“It sounds like he stands only in the immediate, and for some reason, doesn’t want to deal with the past,” Crump said. “I am concerned that there would be people who would be influenced by his thinking and think, ‘Well, maybe he has a point.’”
“If they believe he has a point, it would be someone… because they haven’t had that education in K-12 education. … There were generations of people who came through that system [of slavery.] It was an American system. And it was legal, a legal system. Never right — but legal. And there were ways of keeping this construct that was beyond those individuals’ resources about. They did everything they could.”
Crump continued by describing West’s view of slavery as “very flawed and very surface.”
“…everyone who’s been through K-12 education, and anyone who’s involved in K-12 education at any level — administrators, those who write textbooks — any level of education level needs to be concerned about hearing that,” she added.
Crump’s telling indictment of Kanye West’s ignorance serves as the canary in the coal mine for American education, particularly when it comes to U.S. history. In the current kakistocracy under which we live, with states slashing taxes for the rich as they concurrently starve education budgets, we need all the warnings we can get.
You can watch the entire interview with slave descendent Maxine Crump in the video clip below.
"I am concerned that there would be people who would be influenced by his thinking and think 'well, maybe he has a point.'" – Maxine Crump, a descendant of a slave sold in 1838, reacts to Kanye West calling slavery "a choice" https://t.co/VaYbnAMQ3C pic.twitter.com/eb8zCKBLh1
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) May 2, 2018
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