Racism’s Double Standard, By Rudy Gersten
September 19, 2005
Kanye West is a racist. Not that this should come as a newsflash to anyone who has ever listened to his music. West’s new album Late Registration just debuted at number one on the billboard charts, selling 860,000 copies in its first week. But the press has largely given the hip hop star a pass for his outrageous comments during an NBC telethon for Hurricane Katrina victims. As most Americans now know, the hugely successful rapper claimed that the government was sending troops to New Orleans not to help those in need but to “shoot us” and accused President Bush of not caring about blacks. But the fact that West is himself a racist must not be overlooked, or, as is the case with the mainstream media, completely ignored.
You won’t find any criticism of West on MTV, which has aired numerous documentaries in the past attacking hate speech, including questioning white rapper Eminem’s anti-homosexual lyrics. But MTV and other outlets apparently have no problem with West’s referring to whites as “the devil” or his claim that when a drug dealer buys Jordans and a “crack head buy crack…the white man get paid.” Funny, I don’t recall getting any royalty checks from local crack sales last month.
In a hit song off West’s new album, he degrades a black man who leaves his woman for “a white girl.” And in a recent interview with Stuff Magazine, West said he doesn’t believe white people should be "allowed to use slang until it is at least a year old.” Say what? Seventy percent of hip hop albums are bought by whites. But apparently West believes the majority of his fans shouldn’t be allowed to sing along to his tunes.
Racial demagogues like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have always had a public forum. Their bigoted records are somehow irrelevant to the reporters assigned to cover them. Jackson compared the scene at the New Orleans Superdome to that of a “hull of a slave ship” and his comment went almost completely unchallenged in the press. There is something fundamentally wrong with how nearly all of the media ignores comments like these. The Kanye West example shows us what we already know, that if you are black and famous you have a license to say anything you want and you will never be held accountable for it.
During his bumbling rant on NBC, West actually called himself a hypocrite for complaining and said he went “shopping before giving a donation.” While NBC did attempt to disassociate itself from West’s assertion that the president of the United States does not care about black people, no one has bothered to ask the question of why Kanye West was invited on an NBC telethon to begin with. When a major television network gives a platform to someone who has made a career out of rapping about the evils of white people, no one should be surprised when he uses that opportunity to spew more of his pitiful ignorance.
West, the son of a Black Panther, is never criticized about his racist lyrics by any of the outlets that have helped make him famous. Silent on the issue are MTV, BET, hip hop radio stations, and even Time Magazine, whose recent cover story proclaimed West “the smartest man in pop music.” I can assure those at Time that Britney Spears, everyone’s favorite pop music airhead, knows more about the world than Kanye West. At least she likely doesn’t believe that “AIDS was a man made disease placed in Africa just like crack was placed in the black community to break up the Black Panther party,” as West told his fans during the Live 8 concerts this summer.
The double standard is understood throughout the country. When a famous white man says something racially insensitive, he is roundly criticized by all. And rightly so. There is absolutely no place for racism in society today. But when a famous black does the same, it’s acceptable. Racism should never be tolerated, whether you are a U.S. Senator or a rap star. Trent Lott knows this. As do David Duke, Jimmy the Greek, and John Rocker. They all found out the hard way. And Kanye West is no better. He should be held to the same standards they have been held to.
It’s time Americans treated black racism no different than white racism. There is simply no justification for either. So when a rapper preaches about the evils of white people, it’s time for us to cut his mic.
Rudy Gersten is Director of Operations at the Center for Equal Opportunity.
Kanye West: " Yo it is the White Man who made Aids to kill off us Black People " everyone cheers (including dumbed down sheep White People).
Griffin: YES! KANYE WEST!
*Griffin turns on radio in 2010*
Griffin: Gayfish, he dissed ma girl Taylor.
Also assumed to be a black supremist, judged by his beliefs.
"All people are equal, see, but, um, black people are more equal th-than, others." - Kanye West