At a Sunday Service in SALT LAKE CITY, a city not especially known for its dazzling diversity, Kanye posited that people called him a coon for asserting his right to support Trump. In the same breath, he insisted that Trump’s Republican Party was the continued tradition of Lincoln’s emancipating party, which we've already tackled. Kanye continued that people maintained that his race should have precluded him from supporting Trump. Kanye retorted to such claims: "I ain’t never made a decision based off my color; that’s a form of slavery, mental slavery.” We're placing this in the Times Right, because even though Yeezy's wrong, the isolated quote, admittedly out of context, is quite accurate. The quote could be "you human, so you can't like Trump," and it'd still be correct.
In the clip of the performance, much of the white audience in so-red-it’s-Latter-Day-Marroon Utah reacts to Kanye’s claims with applause. All the while, Kanye’s Black crew dances to the gentle sound of “Jesus Walks” in the background, and it feels like really they’re the ones engaged in debasing labor, forced to perform as their leader spouts racist nonsense that has a real impact on themselves and their community. Of course, Trump isn’t the only absurd candidate Kanye is throwing his weight behind in 2020, but we’ll save that for another day.
Yeezy, who does not take kindly to any form of direction, which is probably why we’re living this nightmare in the first place, asserts that if he were to withhold his support for Trump on the basis of his identity as a Black man, that would be some form of mental bondage. Now if that were literally true, if the Democratic Party enforced that every Black person cast their votes for their party alone, there could be some credence to Kanye’s notion of an enslaved voter citizenry. Kanye's claims are of course not true; Black Americans have the right to cast their votes for whomever they choose to support. Black voters have historically cast their ballots for the Democratic Party in large numbers, determining that the left-leaning party best supports Black Americans' interests in achieving equality, dating back to the Democrats' support of progressive social programs in the New Deal and Civil Rights-era legislation. Meanwhile, Trump and his party have repeatedly indicated that they will make few efforts to consider the marginalization of communities of color in this country.
Yeezy has every legal right to show support for Trump. However, in supporting Trump he legitimizes and propagates a massively regressive and racist platform, one that harms Black people and other communities of color. Chance the Rapper, who acts as if Yeezy personally birthed him into the world, defended his peer rapper on Twitter saying, “Black people don’t have to be democrats,” which is absolutely true. However, the Republican Party as it stands today is a racist entity. That does not mean that the Democrats have clean hands; however, one party is far more tolerable on its face. Chance later walked back those tweets when Trump thanked him for the support. It would be lovely if Kanye, Chance and the rest of us didn’t have to consider race as we voted. It would be spectacular if our politicians and our society were not racist and that appeals to racial tensions in the country were useless with voters. Unfortunately, due to the history we have inherited, race is at the forefront of almost every aspect of politics and should be a major consideration for every single American voter.
Trump has a long record of racist actions towards Black communities and other minority communities, long before he was ever president. There could be a laundry list of crude, offensive, and racist things Trump has done, if you took that laundry, raked it through muddied water and refused to clean it for about 50 years, all the while allowing the pile to grow. 50 years of dirty, and barely obfuscated, laundry is too much to delineate, so instead we’ll take a look at the times news outlets attempted to number those occurrences. Here’s a list of the lists of the times Trump was racist, because, shockingly, some people still really need you to spell it all out in front of them.
Donald Trump’s long history of racism, from the 1970s to 2020
Vox has this great compilation that spans 5 decades. They note the list is not comprehensive and they keep it updated, because after 50 years of racism, old habits die hard, especially when you make no effort to quell them.
The 15 most offensive things that have come out of Trump’s mouth
Prior to Trump’s election, Politico created a shortlist of the 15 most offensive things Trump had ever said. My personal favorite was “I have Black guys counting my money. … I hate it...The only guys I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes all day.”
Trump Condemned Racism As ‘Evil.’ Here Are 20 Times He Embraced It.
In 2017 the Huffington Post ran an article criticizing the hypocrisy of Trump calling racism evil, detailing 20 times he was racist.
Here Are 16 Examples Of Donald Trump Being Racist
The Huffington Post keeps another running list of times Trump was racist, this one last updated in February 2017 includes 16 incidences. I like the part where Trump said he couldn’t denounce former KKK leader David Duke for supporting him because he couldn’t condemn an organization he hadn’t researched.
An Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry
The Atlantic has a very detailed look into various examples of Trump’s racism, including interviews with people associated with the different situations. While discussing the white supremacist mob that took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, the periodical quotes Richard Spencer, who organized the mob saying, "There is no question that Charlottesville wouldn’t have occurred without Trump. It really was because of his campaign and this new potential for a nationalist candidate who was resonating with the public in a very intense way. The alt-right found something in Trump.”
Racial views of Donald Trump
Wikipedia, always the harbinger of knowledge, has a long page on Trump’s racism. Once again, issa clickto.
And then there are the video collections, such as this one from AM Joy.
The Huffpost took their lists and, like Kanye and wifie, made a movie.
Finally, my personal favorite from Samantha Bee.
Here are some of the greatest hits from these various compilations:
Trump's Discriminatory Housing Practices
In the 1970s Trump faced two housing discrimination lawsuits for a pattern of charging Black potential tenants higher rates and lying to them that units were no longer available.
Very Fine People on Both Sides
The two sides Trump was referring to of course were the white supremacists who marched through the streets of Charlottesville on one side, and people who oppose Neo-Nazis on the other side. If a member of the Republican Party has anything remotely negative to say about Trump, immediately they’re given a pejorative nickname and gracelessly flayed on social media, but a violent mob of white supremacists takes to the US streets and all of a sudden a measured response is the order of the day.
Then there’s the wildly unconstitutional Muslim ban, when he tried to do a discrimination on the US borders. Fascist!
Cinco De Mayo Tweet
It says to me "God, I wish The Matrix was a documentary so Neo could just hit the Off Switch."
Trump is clearly racist and has achieved political success despite, or likely because of these racist outbursts. Like the Republicans who came before him, appeals to white racial fears prove to be strong political currency. Yeezy’s support of a man who has shown time and time again that he cares little for the subjugated peoples in this country, indicates just how little regard Kanye himself actually has for making positive change for the Black community if it does not serve his own ego-motivated purposes. Yeezy has a right to his political views, but they are unconscionable. One cannot simultaneously support the struggle for an equitable society and support Donald Trump, the reasons why have been listed time and time again.
Of course, there’s Trump’s opponent: Yeezy himself, lol no just kidding, the other Black guy: Joe Biden. In May 2020, Biden apparently seemed to agree with Kanye’s supposed detractors, angrily alleging in an interview with Charlamagne Tha God that "...if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump then you ain’t Black.” No…. no, that’s not it. Biden’s position is one of condescension, that he, a white man (who hasn't even bothered to play the saxophone on Arsenio Hall) has the right to claim or bestow Black identity based solely on politics, or that he knows what is best for Black communities. Biden and Yeezy are saying the opposite thing, but they’re both wrong. Support for Trump damages our society and negatively impacts all minorities in the US, including Black people; however, support for Trump does not undo a person’s identity, nor does it allow the majority class any sort of right to control or confiscate that identity or the experiences that come with it. Biden later apologized for the comment.
In the interview, Mr. Tha God said what Biden’s now-running mate noted months before, the Democratic Party has routinely taken Black voters for granted, and Biden quickly proved Charlamagne correct. When the Republican Party runs candidates like Donald Trump, it gives the Democratic Party the ability to take advantage of the black voting bloc. Later, Biden compounded on this idea, reminding choice-less Black voters how dire the hard place feels in the face of the rock. In comments he later attempted to clarify, Biden noted that the Latino community, unlike the Black community, contained a great deal of diversity. For Black people the nation over, learning that there was no diversity of any sort in their community was news. Some highlighted how fundamentally Joe Biden misunderstood the Black community by pointing out that the presidential nominee neglected to even consider that many Latinos are themselves Black. Chicago-bred (much like Kanye and myself) comedian Jaboukie summarized the situation perfectly:
As Obama’s former Vice President, it is true that Biden has a large pull among older Black voters, much to the chagrin of young Black Americans. Despite the generational differences, Biden’s support from Black voters has been large and consistent throughout the Democratic primary. Now, with Kamala Harris, a Black woman, joining Biden in his presidential bid, it seems that Biden is shoring up any remaining support from Black voters. However, both Democratic politicians are known for their history of contributing to mass incarceration, Biden in his policies as a senator, and Harris, in her long-time position as a prosecutor in California. In a society where mass incarceration overwhelmingly affects the nation’s Black citizens, and at a time when our nation is reckoning with the harm policing bodies enact over Black bodies, for many young Black voters the current Democratic ticket is a grave disappointment in response to the exigencies of the moment. Biden and Harris are far from the ideal candidates, but when you have a president who has more than one published list about the multiple times he portrayed outward racism, you don’t have a president and you don’t have a choice. Kanye can be Black and support Trump, but he absolutely shouldn’t. No one should.