Recently, the record producer/fashion designer/rapper Kanye West met with the president of the US Donald Trump. The meeting which came after Kanye infamously threw support behind him (after the election) has stirred up much controversy, confusion and even hurt amongst both his fans and persons who are close to or involved in the continued civil rights struggle in that country. The usual cries from these people range from the question ‘how can the man who called Bush a racist endorse this man?’ to petty insults along the lines of ‘the man is obviously crazy, see his many breakdowns for proof’.
Such stances, both the question and the statement, reveal to me a level of naivety in the world at large for the answer to the question ‘why is Kanye acting this way’ is hilarious in its obviousness. Mr West gravitates towards Mr Trump and his ilk simply because they share the same basic core beliefs, they are if I may paraphrase Mr West ‘Kindred spirits’.
What could I mean by that? Simply put, these are two men of the same class, living in the same bubble, interacting with the same people and dealing with the same problems at the end of the day. Problems such as the state (particularly at the federal level) taking away money through taxes. Problems such as poor infrastructure (which rich person wants to travel in a dilapidated airport, and it is the rich, as they are the primary travellers). Problems such as copyright and patent lifespans, so that the holder can live like a rentier.
People are not shocked by Ted Nugent supporting Trump, they are disgusted but not surprised when Rosanne Barr vocally supports Trump, but they draw the line at Kanye. In this instance I have to agree with him, I agree when he says his detractors are ignorant and racist. Racist because they have for the most part bought into the fact that all minorities should vote Democratic and ignorant because they fail to realise that economics and class trumps race any day.
Herman Cain ran in 2012 on the Republican ticket on the far-right fringes, Ben Carson ran in 2016 as a mixture of Christian right and the Chicago school of economics, Nicki Minaj openly supported Mitt Romney in 2012. How many more instances does the public need to understand that just because a person is an ethnic minority does not mean that they are all of a sudden, some bleeding-heart liberal or pre-disposed to progressive revolutionary thinking? Class almost always wins out and shows itself in the end and it has done so here only with the brashness and pomposity of Kanye West.
These uncle-toms (or roast-breadfruit) know full well what they are doing, and they know why they are doing it. They know full well who they are aligning with and they have no problem as it secures their wealth and their place in the class. This can again be seen in the likes of a Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley, both of whom have roots in the sub-continent, both of whom are at the top of the social, political and financial hierarchy and both of whom represented the reactionary wing of the Republican party. The same can be said for the ethnic minorities who are the elected members of the Democratic party, those at the top both socially, financially and politically and who also happen to be on the reactionary end of that party.
This incident to me proves once again that while race is important, the most important thing the most pressing issue is the class issue. Race is sexy, one can easily get agitated and behind the cause or individual because it/they are visible but as seen by the examples laid out above, if left isolated from the issue of class then one ends up with an Obama in office, Abu-Jammal still in jail and a Bernie Sanders type candidate not getting the support of the minority congressmen and senators whose racial ilk would benefit the most from his policies.
Stop looking solely at an individuals race and start taking into consideration the class aspect as well, once that is done one finds that most actions then make sense and are less surprising. Clinging blindly to race alone, thinking that because you and your potential representative or cultural idol share the same skin tone does not automatically mean that they are on your side. Think of the famous line from Aquemini by Outkast, ‘is every nigger with dreads for the cause?’ and think of its response ‘no’ and use that as one’s mantra. Ask whose interests does this person represent, try delving deeper than the colour of the person’s skin and if I may be crass check out their bank books, that more often than not will give you the true response as it relates to that question.