Kanye West: The artist bound by antisemitism and internalized racism

By Daniela Morales, 10th Grade

Kanye West otherwise known as Ye has recently stirred up social media (well, at least until he got kicked out of it) with antisemitic tweets and a controversial picture featuring American commentator Candace Owens, in which both are wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt. These two events happened one after another, with the shirt incident taking place in Ye’s show at Paris Fashion Week and the antisemitic posts being published this past week. To start with the shirt episode, it is important to know that not only did Ye wear it but the models in his show did too, except Naomi Campbell. 

The phrase “White Lives Matter” as the Anti-Defamation League says, is a “hate slogan, used by the KKK, the Aryan Renaissance Society, and other white supremacist groups.” It certainly is ironic to see a POC being racist towards his race, but it wouldn’t be the first time for Ye. In 2018, Ye said that the 400 years of slavery in the United States “sounded like a choice”, The Guardian reported. Following his line of thinking, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear that Ye did not apologize for his actions but rather attacked those who rightfully disagreed with him.

Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, from Vogue, got backlash from Ye after posting on Instagram that the “White Lives Matter” display was “deeply offensive, violent, and dangerous.” Ye responded to Johnson’s opinion by making fun of her body in various posts which he then deleted. This shows that Ye is immature enough to wear the shirt but not mature enough to accept his wrongdoings. After all, in the opening of his fashion show, he said: “Everyone here knows that I am the leader … you can’t manage me. This is an unmanageable situation.”

It is indeed an unmanageable situation since just a week later, Ye came back with another set of problematic posts. The antisemitic posts were first published on Instagram and after his Instagram account got restricted, making him unable to continue his posts, the rapper moved on to Twitter. On Instagram, Ye said that a fellow rapper, Diddy, was being controlled by the Jews after Diddy criticized the “White Lives Matter” shirt. Then on Twitter, Ye said that he was going “death con 3 On Jewish people”. Twitter has indefinitely banned him from the platforms due to his transgression of hate speech. 

You would think now that both Twitter and Instagram have banned Ye, surely he won’t be able to post any more hateful comments for a while. But you’re wrong: the Guardian just reported that on October 17th, 2022, Ye confirmed that he will buy Parler, which is a right-wing conservative media platform, coincidentally managed by Candace Owens’ husband. Ye expressed his reason for buying this platform, “In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves.” But should an opinion be expressed when it directly violates the human dignity of other people? I don’t think so. 

When a celebrity like Ye with a huge reach makes these types of comments, it is harmful to the communities he disrespects because they are humiliated and delegitimized by someone many see as ‘iconic’. Both the black community and the Jewish community have engaged in a constant fight to free themselves from the stigmas that not only American society but also the world has put on them, and their efforts shouldn’t be undermined by anyone just because they have followers. The good thing is that although people like Ye are always present, there’s a more educated society right now than a few years back, and there’s more we can do to challenge these injustices. 



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