What False Security Looks Like
During slavery, we know that the person who directed the daily work of the enslaved was the overseer, usually a white man. But occasionally an enslaved Black man, a “driver” promoted to the position by his master, was given the job. In charge with certain privileges, yet very much still an enslaved person. Masters often discussed with their Black slave drivers on matters of farming, or on social arrangements in the quarters, and often deferred to their advice. As the driver matured and became more knowledgeable, his relationship with his master became one of mutual regard.
So, this constant struggle between power and impotence presents some questions:
How did Black drivers relate to their masters, and to their fellow slaves over whom they held authority? How did they adapt to the vulnerable (and empowering) position between master and enslaved?
As author bell hooks wrote, “White women and black men have it both ways. They can act as oppressor or be oppressed. Black men may be victimized by racism, but sexism allows them to act as exploiters and oppressors of women. Black male sexism has undermined struggles to eradicate racism just as white female racism undermines feminist struggle. As long as these two groups or any group defines liberation as gaining social equality with ruling class white men, they have a vested interest in the continued exploitation and oppression of others.”
Enter Kayne West.
I know, he’s draining. Kanye, once again, has everyone riled up over his reckless words and actions in the name of free speech. We ought to be used to it by now, particularly with his “slavery was a choice” rant and the cringe-worthy visit to the White House to tell Trump how much he loved him.
The latest? His presentation in Paris for his brand YZY. The collection included a variety of pieces that were, to say the least, weird. But the culprit of the show was the “White Lives Matter” slogan on the back of some of his designs. Doubling down on its usage, Kanye decides to post images of himself side by side with none other than Candace Owens. They both stood proud in their anti-Blackness, wearing the slogan on the back of their shirts, while Candace smiles big for the cameras.
*Insert a long sigh and shake of the head here*
Vogue’s Global Fashion Editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, a voluptuous Black woman who is cozy in her skin, provided a critique on how disgustingly violent and harmful Kanye’s display of ignorance was through the collection. Kanye stoops to yet another low by tearing into Gabriella with rude, fatphobic remarks and encouraging his following to also disrespect her.
This incident has proven once more why Malcolm X said in 1962, "The most disrespected person in America, is the Black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman."
Just like the enslaved “driver,” Kanye is the main one we didn’t see coming. He has somehow been manipulated into thinking he has supernatural eminence. He believes that he can say and do whatever he wants, without consequence. He believes that his antics, rants, and hatred of women gives him power.
People say that they want the “old Kanye” back. The truth is, whatever we think we’re missing is gone, and most likely wouldn't want it back. This is the Kanye we have to work with, like it or not. Social media will restrict him for a few days, and then allow him back. We keep pointing to mental illness and give issue him a pass. Or, even better, label him as crazy which also just removes him from accountability. Mental illness does not factor into his anti-Blackness.
The good news is that we don’t have to worry ourselves about what we’re going to do with Kanye West. It’s not our job to do anything for a grown man who is quite deliberate and intentional about what he's saying and doing. We have our own lives to be responsible for. We lost another one. No matter how much we desire to have the ole’ Kanye back, it’s best we don’t.