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Kanye West’s pro-Trump views don’t add up

His support for conflicting ideologies ignites racial conversation

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Kanye West’s pro-Trump views don’t add up

West has come back to social media after a yearlong break with full support of President Trump, to much confusion and clap back from fans and news outlets alike.
(Photo courtesy of AP News)

West has come back to social media after a yearlong break with full support of President Trump, to much confusion and clap back from fans and news outlets alike. (Photo courtesy of AP News)

West has come back to social media after a yearlong break with full support of President Trump, to much confusion and clap back from fans and news outlets alike. (Photo courtesy of AP News)

West has come back to social media after a yearlong break with full support of President Trump, to much confusion and clap back from fans and news outlets alike. (Photo courtesy of AP News)

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Kanye West has created a furor on Twitter and in the media since his tweet on April 21, which supported black conservative commentator Candace Owens. “I love the way Candace Owens thinks,” he said. This began a period of political tweeting from West in support of President Trump and his policies.

Owens is a staunch Trump supporter. She said in an April 16 tweet “I truly believe that @realDonaldTrump isn’t just the leader of the free world, but the savior of it as well.”  Owens has every right to her beliefs, but Kanye West’s public statements about his politics do not add up.

West thinks he and President Trump are kindred spirits. “You don’t have to agree with Trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought,” he tweeted.

Most recently West got in trouble for a comment he made during an interview with TMZ.  “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … For 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” he said.  That remark sparked many impassioned articles and tweets. “Kanye must not realize it, but his rants are a gift to racists,” said Brian Stelter of CNN.

West apologized for his statement on TMZ.  “To make myself clear. Of course, I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will,” he said in a now-deleted May 1 tweet. But that’s not what it sounded like when he spoke to TMZ. Why say “400 years” otherwise?

“Kanye’s rhetoric continues to fuel the racist right-wing folks who believe that black people are responsible for their oppression,” said DeRay McKesson, an activist supporting the Black Lives matter movement in a May 1 tweet.

There was also support from people who agree with West’s political statements. “Kanye West has performed a great service to the Black Community – Big things are happening and eyes are being opened for the first time in Decades,” said President Trump in a tweet.

“It is good to hear that he is speaking what he thinks,” said John Minster, chairman of the DePaul College Republicans. “It was nice to see that he was not afraid of the inevitable mob that would come at him if he said things that didn’t exactly go along with the Hollywood dogma.”

Minster’s remarks are typical of many other conservative voices who jumped on Kanye’s switch.

West caused controversy after he declared support of Trump. (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

“It is amazing how fast conservatives picked up on it, I think the DePaul College Republicans retweeted it,” said Doug Klain, secretary of the DePaul Democrats.

These tweets are a change from what West has said in the past. He famously said during a charity telethon for Hurricane Katrina on NBC that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

Even though that was the most famous clip of him from the telethon, West also said that “if you see a black family, (the media) says, ‘They’re looting.’ “You see a white family, it says, ‘They’re looking for food.’”.

West has also expressed opinions on police brutality and race relations in lyrics that are definitely left-leaning.

“Racism’s still alive, they just be concealin’ it,” he rapped in the song “Never Let Me Down” on 2004 album “The College Dropout.”

“Can I at least get a raise of the minimum wage?” he asked in “Heard ‘Em Say” from his 2005 album “Late Registration.”

“Meanwhile the DEA/ Teamed up with the CCA/ They tryna lock n—as up/ They tryna make new slaves/ See that’s that privately-owned prison/ Get your piece today,” he recited in 2013’s “New Slaves” from his sixth studio album “Yeezus.”

But his tweets are not necessarily consistent. On April 28 West tweeted a photo of Stoneman Douglas massacre survivor and gun control advocate Emma Gonzalez with the text “my hero Emma Gonzalez.”

That does not match Candace Owens’ views. On March 4 Owens tweeted that “The @NRA is the oldest civil rights organization in the country,” which hardly matches up to West’s support for Emma Gonzalez.

Owens, in a video posted to her YouTube channel, argues that “racism has gone from an actual threat to a simple voter strategy.” In other words, she denies that racism is serious. She has also been critical of Chicago, West’s hometown. She has tweeted comments that suggest that police brutality does not exist, because cops in black communities are always there to help them.

West has the right to change his mind, his political opinions and views. Maybe he doesn’t personally experience racism and segregation like he used to. “Being famous can often shield people from the worst expressions of racism, at least in public,” said DePaul professor and Director of the Center for Black Diaspora Christina Rivers. “But I wonder if being famous also invites a certain amount of racism, simply from being out there as a public figure.”

“I can only assume that he experienced racism in the same way other black men in Chicago would, before his fame,” Rivers said.

Fame won’t get him away though. “No matter who you are, where you are, from how much you make, what car you drive, (or) how many Twitter followers you have, there will always be people out there who believe you should stay in your place,” said Evan Moore, a journalism professor.

Kanye West may not experience racism the way he did when he was not a celebrity.  But he can’t escape it. Racism is real. West doesn’t deny it in his lyrics. His support for Candace Owens, who denies police brutality, who thinks that racial disparities are not because of discrimination, but because of a “victim-mentality”, does not mesh with West’s previous political beliefs. Until he expounds more, it is impossible to know what he really thinks, or whether his political philosophy adds up.  But from what he has said so far, it doesn’t. Even he admits that he is unsure. In a tweet on April 27, West said “I haven’t done enough research on conservatives to call myself or be called one.”


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Kanye West’s pro-Trump views don’t add up