The intersectional left vs. Kanye West
The left may not win this fight as it has won so many others, such as Dave Chappelle, who innocently suggested to an audience that we should "give Trump a chance." He later apologized for it after the comment angered some of his more "woke" fans. More recently, after a social backlash, pop-country singer Shania Twain apologized for an "awkward" comment she made in a Guardian interview, in which she said she would have voted for Donald Trump.
The SJWs of the left demand absolute compliance to maintain relevance in the social sphere, you see.
But Kanye West is bucking them nonetheless. Among his sometimes free association Twitter feed, he had the audacity to tweet, "I love the way Candace Owens thinks."
Candace Owens, for those who don't know, is a young conservative pundit and Trump-supporter. Some might say that she's an unconventional Trump supporter, however, given the fact that she's not only young and female, but a black woman. The left attacks her for that, sure. But she's fierce in her factual deconstruction of the Democrat narrative – namely, token myths like institutional white racism and white privilege and Hollywood virtue-signaling – and she incessantly reminds her followers how Democrat policies have caused a regression in the black community since the 1960s, as myriad facts can attest. As the great Thomas Sowell, no stranger to facts, has said, "the black family survived centuries of slavery, and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the liberals' expansion of the welfare state."
We have no way of knowing for sure, outside an admission from West, whether he was spurred to tweet in favor of Candace Owens because of it, but Owens has also been pretty vocal about her incredible respect for him in the past.
Why does she respect him? One can assume that she really enjoys his music, of course. But as she said at the Conservative College Student Action Summit in January of this year, after relating some of the criticism and even death threats that she's received in response to her conservatism:
The one thing that I practice in my everyday life is I'm unapologetically myself. And I hope that you guys are inspired to go out and be yourselves, in front of your families, in front of your friends...
Another question I get is "who do you admire?" Do you guys have any guess as to who I'm, like, the number one fan of? ... Kanye West.
Her reasoning, she offers, is because he's "unapologetically" genuine. He does not apologize for who he is or why he thinks what he thinks and does what he does. She said this as a lead-in to describe one of the virtues she admires about Donald Trump, as she also sees him as unapologetically genuine and without regard for the hatred that he receives for believing and saying the things he does.
West took the bold position of being an advocate for Owens, likely knowing that it would anger many of his followers. And when confronted by countless angry responses, he didn't apologize. He doubled down.
"People demonize people and then they demonize anyone anybody who sees anything positive in someone whose been demonized" (sic), he tweeted, following it with "[t]he thought police want to suppress freedom of thought."
The series of tweets that follows is interesting, at least in this context. West tweeted, "Constantly bringing up the past keeps you stuck there."
This and other tweets suggest, certainly, that he has listened intently to the message of Candace Owens, who often describes how the black community seeing themselves as victims of America's past diminishes their future. In a video Owens tweeted the day before West's offensive tweet, she tells an audience, as Black Lives Matter protesters attempted to shout her down:
There is an ideological civil war happening. Black people that are focused on their past and shouting about slavery, and black people that are focused on their futures, okay? ...
I guarantee you, what you're seeing happening is victim mentality versus victor mentality[.] ...
Victim mentality is not cool. I don't know why people like being oppressed. It's the weirdest thing I've ever heard. "I love oppression, we're oppressed, 400 years of slavery, Jim Crow." Which by the way, [to protesters], none of you guys lived through. Your grandparents did.
Then (perhaps suggesting that he also knows the context of Candace Owens speech in January), West tweeted, "We live in a time where people don't respect people for being themselves," followed by West doing the unthinkable: more directly challenging the status quo of the intersectional left.
"People respect people for following the general trend and consensus," he tweeted, following with "there was a time when slavery was the trend and apparently that time is still upon us. But now it's a mentality" (sic), and "self victimization is a disease" (sic).
I haven't the slightest clue what any of this means in the broader cultural sense. But the feeling is inescapable that this may be a fairly significant hill won by the advocates of free expression.
For the record, the trait that Candace Owens praised Kanye West and our president for possessing is not always a positive one. Being unapologetic as an absolute is not a virtue, for everyone should be able to recognize when mistakes are made. And everyone makes them, often due to lack of knowledge or context as we learn and become more complete as human beings.
But Kanye West has taken a bold stand against the leftist doctrine that demands that the prevailing social consensus dictates truth. He has advocated the ideas of freedom of thought and the notion that believing oneself to be a victim of the past is counterproductive to striving toward a successful future. Those important ideas have taken center stage, for however brief a moment, for an audience that may never consider such things otherwise. Whether his refusal to apologize for his opposition to the politically correct status quo is due to his ego or the simple fact that he and Candace Owens are unquestionably correct in this instance, I don't know. And I don't care.
I just hope he doesn't change his tune on this one, because it strikes me as a somewhat pivotal event.
William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.