And now for something completely different. . .

A student request:

I was wondering if you could make a blog post about how Kanye West lost all of his followers (around 9.2 million) in a matter of minutes due to the fact he posted a picture in a “Make America Great Again” hat to support Donald Trump.

And to add: people have started a viral hashtag called #ifslaverywasachoice due to Kanye’s comment on slavery … “400 years of slavery was a choice.”

I am not a Kanye expert, so I will defer to the experts who populate the classrooms. . . .

 

Edit: Here’s a column from a Kanye expert, in case you’re interested.

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19 Responses to And now for something completely different. . .

  1. Loveish Sarolia says:

    Kanye’s comment is his own opinion and no one has the right to change it, however, when the deaths and captivity of millions are being called a “choice” then criticism is appropriate. The decisions made by him to state his opinions that affect others is not very wise and will result in him being subjected to a discipline at some point.

  2. Tija Latrice Johnson says:

    (Attention: No one African American can speak for all African Americans.)
    Many times people think that being African American means we agree on the same issues. This is a total misconception. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. One of the perks of this country. I don’t agree with his decision to support Trump but I’ll respect it. What I do not, will not, and can not respect is his statement alluding to slavery was a choice. The audacity for him to say something like this is beyond disrespectful to his ancestors. It is very true that we are not enslaved anymore, but do not act like this country was made for us. Do not act like all the initial bills and pieces of legislature were created with any African American in mind. (It took them a minute. Stay woke.) African Americans who do feel welcomed and at home in the US had to work for that feeling. To basically tell the world that being disrespected, demoralized, and dehumanized is a choice is mind blowing, especially as an African American. No one chooses to be beaten, mistreated, split up, and tortured for 400 years. So for anyone who thinks slavery was choice, I respectfully say you can save that mentality and be quiet.

  3. Chanclinique Hairston says:

    Suggesting that slavery was a choice is not only disrespectful but ignorant. Nobody chooses to do hard labor, be raped, killed, or mistreated. If it was such a choice people wouldn’t have been killed for planning to escape/escaping. The slaves would have to America on their own not be forced upon a ship, traded, and bought. This is just as ignorant as to say the slaves called their friends and asked “Hey are we going to work for master today? What time y’all want to meet out there”? Everyone is truly entitled to their own opinion but somethings are just unthought of and wrong.

  4. Tyra L. says:

    I understand everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but Kanye completely stepped over the boundaries. Many people took offense to his comment including me. If slavery was a choice, why did individuals escape from their plantations instead of leaving? Why would people endure in harsh conditions for 400 years if it was a choice? Obviously he did not acknowledge the individuals would have risked their lives to escape the cruelty of the plantations.

  5. Kerrigan A Clark says:

    Seeing as Kanye is such a public figure that can openly express any opinion that he has, had me appalled when he made the comment about slavery being a choice. It shows how out of touch he is with the world and with his background. I mean coming from a different race may have been different, but coming from an African-American who by all means should understand that the 400 years of enslavement that was endured by our ancestors was not a choice is very hard to understand. He is basically saying that his ancestors and any of our ancestors who were in slavery were there and just stayed there because they wanted to. That really makes no sense to me. Being where he is in the public and being apart of such an influential family in the media, Kanye should be using his platform to advocate from the positive side of rights and sending out positive messages about and for the community, not that slavery was a choice.

  6. Millie Perdue says:

    Short Version: Kanye is canceled
    Long Version:
    Dear Oh Dear. Kanye what are you even doing with yourself? While I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of Kanye’s music, clothing, or lifestyle, I can say that these recent events are by far worse than any of his poor excuse for a clothing line. To sort through all this mess let’s start with the Trump situation. While I can’t say I’m a supporter of Trump myself, every person is entitled to their own opinion. I do believe that birds of a feather do flock together, which would explain why one rich narcissistic man could relate to another, but that’s none of my business. What really got me on this whole situation was his comments on slavery. Saying that slavery was a “choice” really doesn’t make sense to me especially since he’s a member of the black community. I’m by no means an expert on the topic but to me, it seems like he doesn’t care enough to do proper research or even care enough to understand what he said was wrong. I don’t feel bad for him. I don’t feel sorry for him. I feel bad for the people that looked up to him and had to deal with this as the last straw.

  7. Annanesya James says:

    Kanye West is such a big celebrity that you wouldn’t believe that he needs to go by the saying, “All press is good press.” This leads me to believe that he’s the type to do what he wants when he wants. Maybe he just wants to stir the pot. As for his comment about slavery being a choice, I believe he was looking at the point of continuing slavery. As if he was saying we could have ended slavery sooner but we “choose” to keep it. It is ridiculous to think he was trying to say that African Americans and those how were enslaved choose to be enslaved. But because media is media, I’m sure thousands of people looked at his comment this way.

    • Sophia says:

      I can agree with that to an extent, I don’t believe he intended it as that slavery as a whole was a choice. However, I don’t believe that even him saying slavery being ended as late as it was was a choice is acceptable. It scoffs at the thousands of people who lost their lives and lived in unwilling subjugation under slavery

  8. August Andre says:

    Oh, Kanye.
    Let’s be honest, Kanye’s reputation has been on and off for some years now. He has a huge ego and is known for making controversial statements. Just last month he was with Kim Kardashian at a March for Our Lives protest. Now, he is making many statements that infuriate the general public regarding Trump and slavery. I believe people reacted to this because they were disappointed in Kanye’s statements which is justified. Being that the majority of the world disagrees with Trump, I am not surprised in the sheer amount that unfollowed him, including A-list celebrities. I also believe this is why Kanye decided to post these pictures. He believed they would gain a lot of attention something Kanye dies without. At the cost of a few million followers, Kanye has put himself in the center of discussion across the world.

  9. Theresa Ho says:

    Kanye West has a huge ego and he knows he does. He doesn’t care what other people think about him or his actions as long as he is getting publicity over it. I feel like he just does whatever he wants because of how famous he is no matter how it affects his public image. Slavery is one of America’s greatest stains and saying that it was a choice is an insult to all of the African Americans whose ancestors were forced into slavery. Kanye shouldn’t care what the media says about him, but he should know that he is a great influence on the children who look up to him and he should uphold himself to a better standard. But with that saying, I still don’t think that he should have lost most of his followings because he supports Trump. It is his decision on who he wants to support, and just because he supports someone that you don’t, it doesn’t mean you should lose all respect for him or dislike him because of that. But in all honesty, I don’t care what Kanye does or says, he can do whatever he wants.

  10. Michelle L. says:

    There is comfort to be found in maintaining the status quo. I’m certain many uneducated and deprived slaves would find comfort in remaining enslaved because the alternative was too alien and the consequences too frightening for the thought of rebellion to surface. This would be the “mental enslavement” West mentioned in a Twitter post. West indicated in other tweets of his intention of expanding the exchange of “free thought” between people and wanting to “update our conversation.” In that way, I agree with West’s goal. West’s usage of a nebulous term–choice–I am worried will guide the conversation into the rabbit hole of semantics over dialogue that will advance human rights and equality. From one perspective, slavery was a choice because enslaved people cooperated with the institution for as long as they remained working to the ends of their masters. They were able to make the alternative choice of freedom through rebellion and escape. From a different perspective, slavery was not a choice because enslaved people could not say “no” to their owners when made to do a task. A single choice of “yes” is no choice at all. Either argument encounters an issue of defining choice, whether it is the wielding of freewill or the acceptance of options presented. West’s controversial statement has prompted conversation, but targeted at his character. Notorious for his ego, he is not immune to attack. After his Trump-supporting post, his social media numbers have plummeted, and he has been labeled a “traitor” and “white.” Amidst ad hominem attacks and internet outrage, I don’t see much dialogue occuring. West may backtrack, but protected by those who either agree or don’t care and lots of money, he might not need to.

  11. Sidney Mason says:

    Kanye West made also made multiple tweets about how free thinking can and will get you slandered by multiple people. Kanye expressing his free thinking and support of Donald Trump proved that he was right. People will judge you and ridicule you to think the same as them. He is trying to show people that you do not have to think as a culture and to think as your own person. Your views are your own and he is trying to prove to people that it is alright to be you and not a part of a group. On his 400 years of slavery was a choice comment, Kanye was trying to say that mental slavery took over the slaves as well. On a plantation, there were on average 8 overseers and 100+ slaves. When the numbers are that different, the slaves could have revolted, but they were mentally enslaved. Taught to not defy the overseers, the slaves were controlled with their lives on the line. If the slaves were mentally free, there was a chance of a revolt.

  12. Jacob Lee says:

    It was a choice, and before you scorn me, hear me out. A choice implies that there is a person or party who has more than one option and must decide which option to take. For slaves, there were essentially three: run, fight, or stay. To run meant freedom for yourself, to stay meant freedom for all, and to stay meant safety. We know now that many did run, there was success and failure with this. We also know that many chose to stay. Fighting, however, seems to be a scarce act for the time. Kanye was right when he said it was a choice, but he implies by saying that is that there was a lack of will to be free and that, possibly, slaves even liked it, and this is where he goes wrong. During that time period, communication and technology was not what it is today. There was no way for the slaves to know that they actually had a chance at being free, at winning the fight. From their perspective, if they tried to fight they would be severely punished or killed. So they did make a choice. They chose, based off of the information and evidence available, the best option they had.

    • Tija Latrice Johnson says:

      I’m kinda late seeing this but I have a few questions.
      Are you seriously insinuating that disrespect & demoralization is a choice? Do you really think just because you ATTEMPT to run away meant you were free? Do you really think they were safe with their slave holders? I disagree with this statement “Fighting, however, seems to be a scarce act for the time.” Do you really think African Americans and others enslaved just took this mistreatment and tried to do nothing about it? “Kanye was right when he said it was a choice, …” <<< Is this something you honestly believe in your heart? You are correct African Americans made a choice. They chose to survive not to be dehumanized and enslaved . You can't bring a knife to a gun fight. Asking for myself. In all seriousness. Have a blessed day.

  13. AHHHHHH Politics says:

    I believe that everyone has a right to express their opinion, and that no opinion is right or wrong. However, I also believe that there are respectful and responsible ways to express opinions. The way Kanye West decided to express his opinions were incredibly disrespectful. He did not express why he believed what he did, and he did not approach it in a matter that would represent openness in what his viewpoints were. Whether or not one agrees with what Kanye said is great either way, I just hope that no matter what one’s opinion is, they will express it in a respectful, open, and understanding way, and also listen to the apposing side.

  14. Jackson S. says:

    So, after Kanye West was hospitalized due to the manic deterioration of his mental health, he recently said he writing a book about his philosophy on life on Twitter. Many of these tweets just seemed to be harmless; he tweeted “0h by the way this is my book that I’m writing in real time. No publisher or publicist will tell me what to put where or how many pages to write. This is not a financial opportunity this is an innate need to be expressive.” He’s talked recently about his bouts with anxiety and depression, if you look at his hour long interview with Charlemagne on his YouTube channel, he’s been trying to free himself from what history has destined him to be by “free thought”. He then came out supporting Donald Trump, as he touts in his recent music that because Trump won, it proves that Kanye can be president. Then Kanye went to TMZ headquarters and said his piece about how slavery was a choice.

    What he opened wasn’t a thoughtful conversation; we’re seeing a mentally ill man trying to sift through the cultural oppression he’s trying to fight by erasing the past of the Black person in America, or this is just a marketing ploy for upcoming albums. I don’t believe it is the former. Any person that’s been in a mental hospital would never go there for money under any circumstances. What he’s doing is gas lighting himself, taking fact and subverting it to something malleable, something that his mentally ill mind can wrap around. Turning reality into something it isn’t is something that Donald Trump is great at, Kanye West, a mentally ill person uses this quality to build a reality that he can live in–one where he isn’t the descendant of people who survived four hundred years of brutal slavery, and the brother of the family who still has to deal with the unjust system that that brutality created. Kanye West is rich/privileged enough to tell himself that the oppression against disproportionately poor black Americans isn’t real, but he’s mentally ill enough to believe that slavery wasn’t even a real thing.
    We all know that it’s easier to live in a world in which existential problems don’t exist, but saying that he started a conversation about race is like saying that flat-earthers started a conversation about geology. Let Kanye be Kanye, he needs to heal.

  15. Kaelon McNeece says:

    I’m nowhere near an expert, but Kanye as opened the floodgates for thoughtful, albeit controversial, discussion. How Kanye introduced his opinions and beliefs were nowhere near thoughtful, and that was what brought him down. He believes that slaves were mentally enslaved and had power they didn’t tap in to for 400 years, and he believes in the power of independent thought beyond the majority opinion. However, he introduced these complex topics by saying “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … For 400 years? That sounds like a choice” and “the mob can’t make me love him [Trump].” These quotes, especially the first one, show Kanye’s ignorance towards the entire circumstances of the issues he chooses to discuss. Regardless of if you agree with them or not, his opinions deserve equal light of day as everyone else’s, but that won’t stop entire legions of people from opposing him if he can’t discuss these issues without radiating waves of insensitivity.

  16. Brianna Leigh Ladnier says:

    Kayne has the ability to be republican. I personally do not have a problem with Kayne identifying as a conservative, but I do have a problem with his opinions that he publicly announces. He is not a bad guy, in fact, I think he is a great father, husband, and citizen. However, he is consistently traveling down the wrong path and attempting to be a representative for different large groups of people that commonly disagree with him.

  17. Ihatepolitics says:

    I beleive they shouls have been less concerned by his hat ,and more concerned about his opinion. He has more controversial opinions if people would just read what he wrote. People idolize people with out taking in to acount their opinions on things. Like the new wonder women actress being a Zionist.

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