Kanye has left the plantation.
After rapper Kanye West’s appearance with Donald Trump at the White House, the progressives unleashed their cable news and twitter bloodhounds to pursue West and drag him back to the Democrat plantation. Commentators who relentlessly police language for racial slurs no matter how barely detectable, suddenly were reveling in old demeaning insults like “minstrel show” and “token,” new ones like “Negro” (which I’m betting few of us know is now a slur), and idiotic ones like being a spokesman for “white supremacy.”
Know what struck me in the photos I’ve seen from that meeting? Trump and West genuinely seem to like one another personally, to enjoy each other’s company. They came across as just having a high old time together, without self-consciousness or pretense. Could be I’m all wet, of course; after all, I wasn’t there. But that was my take, for whatever that’s worth.
The tragic irony of this progressive distortion of black character is that it reinforces all the old racist tropes justifying segregation. The message sent with every cry of racism, whether it’s “disparate impact” or “cops killing unarmed black males,” is one of black weakness and inferiority. The old-school racists attributed this inferiority to nature. Today’s repackaged racism blames “implicit bias” or “institutional racism” or the all-purpose “legacy of slavery” to reinforce blacks’ helplessness and dehumanizing lack of agency.
Meanwhile, the old virtue of self-improvement through education and discipline is dismissed as “acting white.” The segregationists used to call this acting “uppity,” which referred not just to self-assertion or behavior outside the racial code, but also to speaking the King’s English or using manners or acting with decorum or being too fond of reading. In the end, however you camouflage it, all these sophistical excuses still add up to inferiority, the assumption that black people lack the virtue and character to better themselves and fight against joblessness, drugs, promiscuity, vulgarity, crime, and the slaughter of blacks by their black “brothers.” That’s why they need their progressive wards and patrons.
More astonishing is how this narrative insults those generations of blacks who, despite confronting violence ranging from beatings, race riots, and lynchings, to the daily indignities and demeaning slights of legal segregation, still steadily improved their lot. Jason Riley of The Wall Street Journal not long ago summarized this improvement documented by Thomas Sowell––another independent, free-thinking black intellectual despised by the progressive race industry.
Between 1890 and 1940, for example, black marriage rates in the U.S. where higher than white marriage rates. In the 1940s and ’50s, black labor-participation rates exceeded those of whites; black incomes grew much faster than white incomes; and the black poverty rate fell by 40 percentage points. Between 1940 and 1970—that is, during Jim Crow and prior to the era of affirmative action—the number of blacks in middle-class professions quadrupled. In other words, racial gaps were narrowing. Steady progress was being made. Blacks today hear plenty about what they can’t achieve due to the legacy of slavery and not enough about what they did in fact achieve notwithstanding hundreds of years in bondage followed by decades of legal segregation.
In the post-’60s era, these positive trends would slow, stall, or in some cases even reverse course. The homicide rate for black men fell by 18% in the 1940s and by another 22% in the 1950s. But in the 1960s all of those gains would vanish as the homicide rate for black males rose by nearly 90%. Are today’s black violent-crime rates a legacy of slavery and Jim Crow or of something else? Unfortunately, that’s a question few people on the left will even entertain.
Banishing from the public square that “something else” required a cadre of black “leaders” and “intellectuals” who perpetuate the identity politics that redefined blacks as permanent victims of ineradicable white racism. Leftist and progressive black intellectuals and professors, hirelings of progressive Democrat institutions like media and universities, have waxed fat on the privilege and perks of repeating this demeaning narrative of permanent black victimhood and dependence. They patrol the speech of anyone challenging it, helping to construct the regime of political correctness, a secular Inquisition that censors and censures those who stray from or challenge its doctrines. Just ask any conservative or libertarian or even moderate liberal black intellectual what the price is for showing independence and autonomy in their thinking––they will be demonized, and their blackness impugned.
What the Democrat-Socialists have done to the black family and black middle class is nothing less than a crime. If more and more black Americans are finally realizing it and walking away in disgust, well, good on ’em, I say. And if Kanye can be part of that long-overdue awakening, good on him too.
Update! Stipulated: Kanye is a bit of a nut, as Goad notes. Still:
But as wickety-wack as all that was, what had black pundits calling him a coon and a House Negro and an Uncle Tom and a race traitor and a sellout was his repudiation of every last political preconception that blacks have been spoon-fed and have willingly swallowed for the past couple generations—those “progressive” policies that have led to welfare dependency and broken homes and ghetto war zones. For as dumb and flighty as Kanye West tends to be, his chief sin was to say things that a black person is simply not supposed to say. The following are all quotes West made during the Oval Office press conference:
You know, people expect that if you’re black you have to be Democrat. I have a — I’ve had conversations that basically said that welfare is the reason why a lot of black people end up being Democrat.
And I said, “You have to bring manufacturing onshore.” And not even shore; into the core. It’s not about the border; it’s the core of Adidas. And Chicago is the core of Middle America. And we have to make Middle America strong.
You got Levi’s, the greatest jeans company in the world, making their jeans in Vietnam…We have to bring jobs into America because our best export is entertainment and ideas. But when we make everything in China and not in America, then we’re cheating on our country and we’re putting people in positions to have to do illegal things to end up in the cheapest factory ever: the prison system.
And we also, as black people, we have to take a responsibility for what we’re doing. We kill each other more than police officers.
One of the moves that I love that liberals try to do — the liberal would try to control a black person through the concept of racism, because they know that we are very proud, emotional people.
The problem is illegal guns. Illegal guns is the problem, not legal guns. We have the right to bear arms.
I can’t find a single factual error in there. It all seems eminently sensible—moderate, even. But the media’s Official Negroes were so inflamed by West’s comments, it’s almost as if they needed some Preparation H rubbed on their souls.
Of course they did. The Democrat Socialists have taken the black vote for granted for years and years, and they know that if they lose any significant portion of it they’re toast. They simply can’t have someone as well-known and admired as Kanye talking sense like this. They can’t afford it. The boy needs hisself a whuppin’, so’s he’ll know his place.