The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates is getting a lot of attention and praise for writing a 5,000-word screed against hip-hop star Kanye West, essentially linking the very concepts of freedom and free thinking to whiteness (even drawing some baffling parallels between wanting to live in a peaceful suburb and supporting the Confederacy) and accusing West of betraying his black heritage by asserting the right to think for himself and not automatically reject President Trump or conservative ideas instead of accepting the ironclad Democratic mindset of the ethnic collective. It’s staggering that anyone would invoke the horrors of slavery to justify telling a black man that he’s not free to think for himself.
At the link, Ben Shapiro deconstructs Coates’ identity politics attack, which includes an exhortation to West to come “back to Chicago, back to Home.” Well, maybe he doesn’t want to come back to a city that’s so plagued by gang violence that despite strict anti-gun laws, nearly 40 people were shot in just three days last week, including 4- and 15-year-olds wounded and a young mother killed – and a city that, by the way, hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1931. Coates dismisses West as dangerously ignorant for calling Chicago the murder capital of the world, linking to a chart showing that, if you figure it per capita, it ranks behind several other cities (I’m sure that statistical asterisk is very comforting to the people who’ve been murdered). At #1 is St. Louis (last Republican mayor: 1949), followed by Baltimore (last Republican mayor: 1967) and Detroit (last Republican mayor: 1962.) Well, that certainly proves his case that blacks shouldn’t question Democratic leadership!
Shapiro notes the irony of Coates refuting West’s complaints of people wanting to box him in by threatening to call him white if he doesn’t stop thinking outside the box.
Further irony: It may hard to believe after reading Coates’ essay, but he once received a MacArthur Genius Grant. I guess that’s one box he’s trying to break out of.
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