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July 05, 2018 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily

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9

Thursday July 5, 2018
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com MICHIGAN IN COLOR

The problem with supporting Kanye West

Coming back home
for the summer after
being away at college
is quite an interesting
experience. You realize
not much has changed
and almost everything
is the way you left it,
yet inside, you feel like
you have transformed
so greatly within such
a short time that you
sort of stick out like a
sore thumb among the
rest of your peers. It
takes a while to adjust
back into the usual
swing of things.
At first, coming back
home for the summer
felt great. I missed
my family, I missed
my friends, I missed
being able to drive
and knowing my city
like the back of my
hand.
I
especially
missed the food and
not having to depend
on the halal section
of the South Quad
dining hall to fulfill my
daily protein intake.
However, being away
from home for so long
and being immersed in
a more open-minded,
diverse and positive
environment
made
me forget some of the
most pressing issues
I resented about my
hometown
in
the
first
place.
Among
these
issues
are
rampant homophobia,
relentless
gossiping
and judgment, racism
and
anti-Blackness,
slut-shaming and so
much more. Though
only
a
45-minute
drive,
my
college
campus feels like a
world away from my
predominantly
Arab-
Muslim hometown of
Dearborn.
I had forgotten the
daily
Twitter
wars
that take place when
people begin bashing
each other or putting
others
down
for
making choices that do

not coincide with their
own religious beliefs.
I had forgotten how
some words on a screen
could make me feel so
unsettled and angry
as I witness my LGBT
friends being attacked
online by people who
once smiled to their
face in high school.
I had forgotten that
blood-boiling
feeling
when
a
friend
or
coworker makes a tone-
deaf remark and you
have to decide quickly
whether to listen to
the urge in your heart
telling you to call them
out or the knot in your
throat telling you to let
it slide. I had forgotten
saying something is not
always as easy as you
think. The suffocating
feeling
of
knowing
something is wrong but
not knowing what to do
about it still resurfaces,
though I try my best to
keep it at bay and not
engage in negativity.
I am not trying to
bash my hometown.
I love it with all my
heart; it is a part of me
and a huge chunk of
my identity. My family
is wonderful and my
friends are amazing; I
had a good education
and the city can really
come
together
and
support
each
other
when
it
needs
to.
However,
it
would
be
incognizant
to
pretend issues do not
exist that have been
fostered by generations
of
ignorance
and
bathed
in
hatred.
Mental health issues
are
ridiculed,
gay
people are ostracized,
girls are bullied and
“exposed” and people
are hurt, day in and
day out. I often hear
my hometown referred
to as a “bubble,” where
many
people
get
trapped, refusing to
challenge their belief
systems
and
think
outside the norms with

which they have grown
up. On one hand, I
understand this is not
entirely the fault of a
community that was
compelled
to
move
into a small city of
people of their similar
background out of fear
of hatred by settling
elsewhere.
Many
people
in
this
city
come from families of
immigrants,
people
who
have
known
pain and racism and
economic
inequality
all their lives. This
is all they know; this
is
generations
of
ideals passed down.
However, I do believe
it
is
the
personal
responsibility of each
individual
to
learn
about others, expand
their
horizons
and
confront their flawed
behaviors. There is no
excuse for remaining
ignorant. That is a
choice.
Growing up in this
city, it took me a while
to
recognize
myself
as part of the problem
and unlearn so much
of the negativity that
was
spewed
around
me constantly. I, as
did many others, took
it upon myself to learn
from
marginalized
groups and empathize
with
struggles
and
causes outside of my
own. As I strive to
constantly be learning
and growing, I try to
challenge the harmful
notions
around
me
while still holding true
to my faith. I strive
to call out injustice
where I see it in hopes
that we as a collective
may take small steps
toward a kinder and
more
understanding
community.
My
community is often the
target of hate, but we
cannot expect people
to come together for
us if we cannot come
together for them, or
even for ourselves.


On
February
2016,
musical artist Kanye West
tweeted out “BILL COSBY
INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!” but
I’m sure this escaped your
memory, didn’t it?
There is plenty to say about
Kanye West, but there are
plenty of memories that
appear to be missing in
the minds of our young
social activists. After West
showed his support for
President Donald Trump
and claimed slavery was
a “choice,” many people
rushed
to
defend
the
21-time Grammy Award
winner. The few memories
that seem too conscious
within the public mind are
West is a “musical genius”
who is suffering from
“mental illness” and still
“grieving the loss of his
mother,” though one has to
wonder if this a way for fans
to validate his behavior.
Even celebrities rushed to
support West, like Chance
the Rapper who tweeted,
“Black people don’t have to
be democrats.” It’s pretty
clear though West’s actions
continuously
prove
his
incompetence, people will
still defend him no matter
what he does because they
fell in love with the “old
Kanye.”
Minority
communities
have worked to try and
support West, and this
makes sense because of
his cultural significance.
In 2004, West released the
album “College Dropout”,
which won a Grammy
award for Best Rap Album.
After his debut album,
West
collaborated
with
artists such as Jay-Z, Lupe
Fiasco and John Legend
resulting in multiple songs
reaching No. 1 on iTunes.
In addition, West’s fearless
nature has never been
hidden from the public. For
example, after the Category
5 storm Hurricane Katrina
demolished New Orleans
in 2005, West did not back
away from calling former
President George W. Bush

someone
who
“doesn’t
care about Black people.”
This was a time when
the
African-American
community
appreciated
West’s vocalness on issues
that affected their lives.
Even West’s rap lyrics
have
always
provided
deep insight into different
societal struggles while still
maintaining a very high
energy.
However, to support West
because he is the victim of
his circumstances would
be nothing but a twisted
fantasy. As West released
his newest solo album “Ye”
as well as a collaboration
with musical artist Kid
Cudi
titled
“Kids
See
Ghosts,” I was both shocked
and disappointed to see
how many of my friends
have continued to support
him. The issue with West is
not that he is a Republican
or even that he supports
Trump, the problem is
West continues to present
himself as a minority who
uses his own voice to abuse
other minority populations.
West’s
tweet
declaring
Cosby’s innocence clearly
shows his inability to see
the sheer significance of
sexual assault. His blatant
disrespect
for
women
portrayed in this tweet
shows he has continued to
go unscathed while equally
working to silence voices.
Meanwhile, his claim that
slavery was a choice is so
disrespectful to centuries
of struggle; it doesn’t just
negate the struggles of
African-American
slaves,
but also the people from
all
around
who
were
pillaged and colonized by
communities in power.
And minorities all over
the world gave him a No. 1
album.
Isn’t that just hypocritical?
After Trump’s election, I
saw a lot of tweets about
how those who voted for
him decided racism was not
a final straw. Do we hold
any standards for those we
support with our money? In
these moments, I’ve come to
realize even those who have
felt the quick prick of racist

comments are all right
with having blood flow if
the beat is good enough
or if the rap verse slams.
Though West’s comments
are bad, it is much more
than that — this is the type
of grotesque behavior that
leaves a particularly nasty
taste in your mouth, not
because of the flavor but,
rather, how long it lasts.
West’s comments are the
reason why people feel
marginalized
because
people actually look up
to him. If you see your
coworker
listening
to

Kanye West’s album or
it happens to play on the
radio, you are reminded
some people in the world
don’t acknowledge your
struggles as valid. For
me and for so many
other
people,
hearing
the comments made by
those people is a constant
reminder that the factual
evidence of abuse against
minorities will never be
enough to be acknowledged
by millions of Americans.
West may be a “musical
genius” or “mentally ill”
or grieving for his mother,
but he has also experienced
the same racial prejudice
that we all have, only
he chose to silence the
voices of his own race
once he gained additional
socioeconomic benefits in
order to promote his music.
And we supported him
for doing that. For those
who bought his album,
who posted it on their
Instagram story, do you
have any right to be angry
with those who use hate
to fuel their social status?
So next time I see another
minority
tweet
about
conservative commentator
Tomi Lahren or wishing to
stand up for the immigrant
children separated from
their parents, I have to
wonder, did their pockets
ever support a different
narrative? West is a not a
victim and the words you
sing along to hold more
oppressive
blood
than
your hashtags can try to
counterbalance.
And don’t you forget that.

By KAREEM SHUNNAR

MiC EDITOR

Ignorance isn’t the right choice

By EFE OSAGIE

MiC EDITOR

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