Sunday, February 17, 2019

Yeezy and Sleazy.

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( “That boy done lost his mind” I can hear my late father saying after Kanye West’s twitter praise of his “dragon energy” brother Donald Trump. And, as surprising as Kanye’s support can be, I was even more astonished to find that public opinion polls show Trump’s support among black men at roughly 1-in-4. How can that be?

Is it a case of “blinded by the bling”? Are we so caught up in materialism that we can’t see past the planes, helicopters and gold-plated toilets? Recent articles have disclosed how Trump conned his way onto the Forbes list of the 400 richest people in the world and then used that falsified position to borrow against his supposed wealth. The whole myth of “Trump the self-made businessman” is fake as he used his father’s wealth, and rolodex, to build his company. And Trump’s father started his business from the ill-gotten gains of his father’s string of bordellos. Every publicly traded Trump company ended in bankruptcy and his missteps ruined any chance Atlantic City had to take advantage of its head start in the gaming business on the east coast.

Is it “Stockholm syndrome” where we have come to admire, and want to emulate, our captors? Have we succumbed to thinking that if someone has “all that money” they must be doing something right? Is it “the white man’s ice is colder” and money greener? Surely we don’t think that someone whose father marched with the Klan, who, with his father, ran a company that refused to rent to black people and who says that our ancestral continent is full of “shithole” countries can be worthy of our praise and support.

Or is it some kind of “Kanye consciousness”, you know, he knows something that we don’t know. Some kind of counter-intuitive contrarian thinking. What the hell is “dragon energy” anyway? I must confess, I don’t get it. I’ve known people who take the opposite side of an argument “just because…” but this expression of support for an obvious foe has me baffled.

Black female Trump supporters Diamond and Silk notwithstanding, I am also concerned about the wide divergence of opinions regarding the president between black men and women. Those same public opinion polls show his support among black women in single digits. How can black men and women see things so differently? Where black men see virtue, black women see vice. What does that say about how we, as a family, view other issues plaguing our community? Have black men and black women become so estranged that we can’t agree on a common path forward for our children?

In the end, it’s not how black men and women feel about Trump, it’s how do we feel about ourselves? Do we love “the skin we’re in”? Do we see our future in each other or, as Kanye saw his future in Kim? Can we acknowledge that unity is not uniformity, but still agree on what’s best for our community? When Chance the Rapper tweeted out that “we don’t all have to be Democrats”, don’t we understand this is way beyond Democrat versus Republican: we are in a virtual life and death struggle for our future as first class citizens in this country.

There are forces rising who hear the “Again” in the Make America Great slogan as a call to return to a time that was not at all friendly to our quest for basic human rights and an end to second class status. Whether at a Starbucks, on the golf course, at the gym or any other public spaces, our right to be there can be questioned and become a police matter like enforcing the “white’s only” spaces during Jim Crow.

A late night TV comic did a routine on this oddball duo he dubbed Yeezy (West) and Sleazy (Trump). But maybe it’s not so strange after all. Brothers don’t have to look alike, their bond can be that they think alike. Maya Angelou said, “When people tell you who they are, believe them.”

Staff Writer; Harry Sewell

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