On October 31, 2018, Kanye West sent out a tweet atoning for his recent political statements and activity.
Over some time now, Mr. West has been bouncing between embracing and denouncing the GOP — but I find this extremely problematic. In his now infamous White House visit, he either found his old MAGA hat or bought a new one, but nevertheless, showed up banging on the desk and ranting, just like Trump, who somehow managed to sit across from Kanye in a room full of cameras with a closed mouth, would normally do. His statements and actions are problematic because of the way the current political climate is being used as a justification and a medium to try to defend white supremacy and turn a blind eye to senseless violence.
Everything the MAGA hats stands for is an atrocity. To me, it symbolizes white supremacy and the hypocrisy of modern day government in America. That’s what I felt when I picked up the hat.
I reflected back on slave narratives I’ve read in my studies, the film Birth of a Nation (2016) and the autobiography of Frederick Douglass. I thought about the mistreatment of slaves: the degradation and dehumanization of multiple races by unprovoked flogging and forced breeding. I thought about our Black women being treated at their all-time worst in history. That’s what I feel when they are say that’s when America was great, when it was OK to openly discriminate against the Irish, Jewish and a gamut of other sub-classes. White nationalists are saying to make it OK to do these things again.
You simply can't pick and choose, but at some point we all have to choose something. If you stand for what this hat represents (or any other vehicle or symbol of violent nationalism), you are standing for white supremacy and injustice. You stand for emboldened xenophobes and their entitlement that enables them to shoot up a place of worship, and commit other acts of hate violence.
By the way, I'm taking a moment here to recognize a story that's being ignored in the mainstream media:
As we mourn and await the names and stories of Jewish congregants lost in Pittsburgh, there are 2 more names to say tonight:— Alex Goldstein (@alexjgoldstein) October 28, 2018
Vickie Lee Jones
Maurice E. Stallard.
Murdered by a similar face of hate in Kentucky on Thursday. May their memories be a blessing. pic.twitter.com/xvctRm9GXO
Vickie Lee Jones and Maurice E. Stallard were shot and killed in a Kroger by White Terrorist, Gregory Bush.
Back to Kanye.
Bruh, what the f**k? Are you awake? The only people I can imagine to wear that hat is one who proudly acknowledges the truth about the foundation of our country, the open brutality and violence — that’s what they are calling for. They are calling for a time when the KKK ran rampant, and lynchings were set up for mere sport and entertainment.
When I picked up the hat, I felt shame for all the atrocities we've committed against each other, for brutal violence and injustice and for a large number of our citizens embracing the rejuvenation of white supremacy.
For God’s sake, wake up Mr. West! Wake up America!