One of the most talented rappers of our time, Kanye West, has been sharing his thoughts on the only medium where important thoughts are shared: twitter; Kanye has always shared his thoughts without being worried about political correctness but lately his thoughts have become more controversial. Last week he stated that he supports President Donald Trump and how they both have “dragon energy”. Yesterday he had an interview where he stated that he thinks slavery was a choice. He was swiftly schooled by one of the employees at TMZ, where he gave his interview. Before this comment, I was still trying to vibe with Kanye. I don’t support President Trump in most of what he’s done as our leader, but I do believe that in order for us to progress as a nation we need to have constructive conversations with those who do not have the same train of thought as we do. Kanye later tweeted that he knows that the slaves did not willingly leave their homes to be enslaved, but that it’s about mental slavery.
Mental slavery does exist. You can find millions of people in this country who are enslaved to their thoughts and not just black people. Many of the white folks who have been upset about immigrants coming to take their jobs in the mid-west and in coal country are enslaved to their past way of life. It’s easier to blame someone else than it is to admit that times have changed. This is mental slavery. They aren’t physically enslaved, but their inability to be free from the chains that hold them back have left them paralyzed in time. We need to stop saying that mental slavery is only a black person thing. It’s not. Anyone can be enslaved mentally, but it’s easier to say that blacks are mentally enslaved because our ancestors were physically enslaved. The idea that slaves didn’t try and fight and run away to be free is absurd. We have all heard the story of Kunta Kente and how they chopped off his foot in order for him to become Toby. Slaves did fight back and were tortured and maimed for it.
Kanye’s words are hurtful because you are putting the blame and the responsibility on the backs of the enslaved. Slavery happened in this country for 400 years, with blacks still having to fight for equal rights to this very day. When discussing slavery and its ramifications you have to fully understand the factors and the systems that have been put in place to keep an entire group of people from becoming fully integrated citizens. No one chooses to be enslaved. You are enslaved by another person who is choosing to do that to you. His words are hurtful because they are ignorant and surprising coming from someone who in the past has seemed like he understood the issues that blacks are facing. Yes, mental slavery exists, and yes, it is a choice but please don’t think that blacks in America are where we are by choice. When your government didn’t consider you an entire person and sold you off like cattle and created insurance because you as property had to be protected that will ruin your thought and the thoughts of generations after. Which is the point.
I hope that as the father of three black children, Kanye teaches his children their history. No amount of money or fame will ever change the fact that you are black. And no black person should ever feel ashamed for the fact that their ancestors were slaves. Someone went through hell and back to survive and you are living proof of their determination and will to be free. They didn’t go through one of the worst experiences a human can endure for us to sit here and talk about whether it was a choice. Their choices were robbed from them. The only people who had a choice were their enslavers. Let’s not take away their responsibility and give it to us. We’ve had to carry enough weight on our shoulders for too long. I’m not going to carry your burden too. That’s not my choice.