I’m not sure if the antisemitism Of Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, is due to mental illness. In the end, it’s not an excuse, anyway. I do not believe Ye is being fooled. I do not think he’s being quarterbacked by bigots, pushed into this ugly world, somehow persuaded. I believe he is an anti-Black racist and anti-Semite. I believe it is that simple. I believe companies should have dumped him long ago. I believe his words of him threaten and endanger Jews.
By now you may realize this will be a different type of column. So let’s begin this blunt and needed conversation, shall we?
Many Black people turned away from Ye after he partnered with Donald Trump, said slavery was a choiceand lied, saying George Floyd wasn’t actually murdered.
When Adidas, moving at the pace of a sleep-deprived snail, canceled its partnership with Ye this week – following other companies doing the same – a number of Black people watched, hands on hips, wondering what it took so long.
We knew what Ye was long ago. To the rest of you, welcome aboard.
In the end, in the very end, this ugly story is about one thing: simple hate, and how a Black man, of all people, should know better than to traffic it.
Details: Kayne West is getting dumped. Who’s just gotten out of the Ye business, and why?
More:Ye loses billionaire status, Adidas ends partnership over ‘dangerous’ antisemitic remarks
Related:George Floyd’s family files lawsuit against rapper Ye after remarks on Floyd’s death
Blacks and Jews have a unique, powerful and, sadly, generational relationship with persecution. In many ways, particularly during the Civil Rights movement, we have long been allies, brothers and sisters. There’s a historic, loving and empathetic connection between our communities. It’s a connection that has been tested at times – and not always flawless – but has remained close, especially now during the racism of the Trump era.
It cannot be overstated how destructive Ye is to this unity and to race relations overall. He is one of the most popular celebrities alive with tens of millions of social media followers. People, for various reasons, for reasons I will never comprehend, listen to what he says.
Most important, other antisemites are utilizing Ye not solely as a dividing force, but the Black face of one.
White supremacists like Tucker Carlson take advantage of it because it pushes the narrative that it’s not just white people who can be anti-Semitic. Ye is their racist dream, the ultimate tool, and Ye is – purposefully – playing into that.
And yes, there’s a conversation to be had about why Ye suffered extreme consequences (as he should) but other racists like, say, Joe Rogan do not.
Ye’s journey into hate comes at a frightening time in America. If you haven’t been paying attention, this is a scary moment for Jews. The persecution they face isn’t theoretical. It is real and disturbing, and so much of it is being pushed from right-wing extremists in the media, entertainment and politics.
The Anti-Defamation League reported in April that antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in the United States in 2021, with a total of 2,717 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism. This represents the highest number of incidents on record since the ADL began tracking such data in 1979, the organization said.
It’s not just the numbers or the violence. It’s two other factors: the openness of the mustache and how Ye is a rallying cry for racists. He’s become the anti Ray Allen, who has dedicated much of his life to fighting antisemitism. Allen’s reaction to Ye is heartfelt and classy.
When a president of the United States or a star Black rapper is openly racist against Jews, it opens up massive permission structures for others. They replicate like viruses. I haven’t felt or seen anything in my lifetime like the current levels of open white nationalism we’re witnessing now. While it’s directed against many peopleit has become laser-focused on the Jewish community.
Antisemitism is something everyone needs to condemn in the strongest terms, and that includes people like Boston Celtics player Jaylen Brown. Brown was one of the first athletes to sign with Ye’s Donda agency.
“The reason why I signed with Donda Sports, it represented education, it represented activism, disruption, it represented single-parent households,” Brown told The Boston Globe.
This response was inadequate and even cowardly, which Brown later realized. He announced on Tuesday he was leaving Ye’s company. Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald also said Tuesday he was cutting ties with Ye.
“In the past 24 hours, I’ve been able to reflect and better understand how my previous statements lack clarity in expressing my stance against recent insensitive public remarks and actions,” Brown wrote in a statement. “For that, I apologize. And in this, I seek to be as clear as possible. I have always, and will always, continue to stand strongly against any antisemitism, hate speech, misrepresentation, and oppressive rhetoric of any kind.”
This is how it should go. There should be no acceptance, of any kind, of anti-Semitism.
Also, if you’re Black, and defending Ye, well, why? He’s made it extremely clear he doesn’t care about us. In fact, he’s made it extremely clear he hates us.
The solution to all of this isn’t easy, and the blunt truth is that hate can, and sometimes does, win. What we do to counter all of this is understand that the battle against racists and fascists never ends. The arc of the moral universe doesn’t always bend toward justice; it oscillates.
Once Ye’s inevitable fake apology tour begins, don’t fall for it. Banish the racists to the litter box of history. Never forgive them. Never forget them.
And keep fighting, together.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kanye West, a Black man, should know better than to traffic in hate