Kanye West never ceases to amaze me. Whether it’s his music, his fashion line, his choice in women, or his ability to put both of his feet in his mouth at the same time, the guy is an enigma.
Although Kanye can be extremely obnoxious, I typically find his antics to be entertaining, and truthfully, I find his behavior to be the mark of a (musical) genius. But recently, Kanye opened his mouth and what came tumbling out landed on us like Plymouth Rock. I think I’ve finally had enough.
In a recent speech at Oxford University, Kanye continued on his Human Race Over Everything Campaign, declaring that racism was fading away, and that classism had become our newest social plague.
Via The Tab Oxford:
“They think we’re done with racism. What about elitism? What about separatism? What about classism?”
West made similar comments not too long ago at the BET Honors awards and in a recent interview with BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe.
“Class is the new way to discriminate against people, to hold people down, to hold people in their place based on where their kids go to school, how much money they make, what they drive, where they live and what type of clothes they have and how much they have in their account for retirement.”
But Kanye…the clothes and shoes you make are…expensive…?
While I definitely FEEL Kanye when he talks about classism and social stratification in the U.S. and worldwide, what I CAN’T get with is him trying to put one form of oppression over the other. His attempt to make one “trendier” than the other. The “new” racism. No. Let me break it down.
1.Classism is not new. Classism dates back further than we think. We can look back to the 1600’s, where class was a function of the caste system. If you were born into royalty, that trickled down from generation to generation. If you weren’t born into royalty, well the rest of your bloodline had to suffer. How about when the Pilgrims “discovered” America and stumbled upon the Natives? The Pilgrims, deeming themselves superior to the Native people, began another treacherous cycle of oppression. The same holds true for the enslavement of Africans, etc. etc. So Kanye, the issue of classism is indeed a very old one.
2.Mr. West, is race not often a determining factor when when we talk about classism? Do racism and classism not intersect? Isn’t it true that white men make more than ANYBODY? Let’s not willfully ignore the racial wealth gap/educational gap. All of these things are factors when we talk about class. According to CNN Money, a 2010 study found that White Americans have 22 times more wealth than blacks — a gap that nearly doubled during the Recession. The median household net worth for whites was $110,729 in 2010, versus $4,995 for blacks, according to recently released Census Bureau figures. To me, this clearly shows how race affects class.
3.Lastly, racism is still racism. I don’t care what kind of spin you try to put on it. And to suggest that there is a “new” racism is silly and hurtful.
According to a 2012 report from Syracuse University, many white millennials didn’t even consider racism to be much of a problem in America anymore, claiming that white people face just as much discrimination as Black people do. And THAT’S where the problem lies according to a report from Al Jazeera.
The problem is that when white people believe racism is not plaguing the Black community and robbing them of a vast amount of opportunities, they are then inclined to believe that “persisting inequalities can only be explained by the personal weakness of Blacks,” researchers noted.
So, who IS this Kanye, I wonder? Is this same Kanye who declared that George Bush didn’t care about Black people? Is this the same Kanye who rapped about how Black celebs “get on” and leave their Black girlfriends for white women? What’s changed? His new wife?
Well, from here on out, I’m not taking Kanye seriously. Like, at all. Especially now that I know he doesn’t read.
“Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed. I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book’s autograph. I am a proud non-reader of books.”