May 2, 2018

"When you hear about slavery for 400 years ... For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.... You were there for 400 years and it's all of y'all. It's like we're mentally imprisoned."

Said Kanye West, reported in a lot of places. I'll link to CNN, which supplies a little of the criticism that predictably ensued and Kanye's clarification:
"Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will. My point is for us to have stayed in that position even though the numbers were on our side means that we were mentally enslaved... [T]he reason why I brought up the 400 years point is because we can't be mentally imprisoned for another 400 years. We need free thought now. Even the statement was an example of free thought. It was just an idea. [O]nce again I am being attacked for presenting new ideas."
Kanye got our attention by saying something that seems wrong. And it's wrong in a direction that is precisely the way nearly everyone feels inhibited about going: failing to acknowledge the full horror of slavery. But Kanye claims freedom of thought, and once he got our attention, he added detail that you might feel compelled to think through. He knows people care about him and want to understand him, so we (not all of us, but many) want to understand his explanation. And it's not that confusing. He's not withholding empathy from the people who suffered in the past. He's calling people today to a higher ground of freedom. If you truly see the horror of forced slavery, why would you, who are physically, legally free, keep yourself in a condition of mental slavery?

It made me think of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song": "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery/None but ourselves can free our minds." The lyrics website Genius has this annotation:
These lines were derived from a speech given by Marcus Garvey, a proponent of Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism:
We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind
Marcus Garvey is also a prophet in the Rastafari culture, which Bob Marley followed.

This idea that no one but ourselves can free our minds recalls an idea that predates the Renaissance, which is that if the mind is free, one can never be truly imprisoned. One example comes from “To Althea from Prison” by Richard Lovelace:
Stone Walls do not a Prison make,
Nor Iron bars a Cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an Hermitage.
Mental slavery, Marley suggests, is the real slavery, the fundamental slavery from which one must free oneself.

87 comments:

Kirk Parker said...

What's this world coming to, when a mere rapper has more interesting and challenging thoughts than the Designated Public Intellectual (T. Coates)?

h said...

Jazz saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk wrote a song called "volunteered slavery" (which as I interpret it, refers to the subordination a man volunteers for when he falls in love with a woman).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7XCjzNJ5gs

sykes.1 said...

Well, NPR has called Kanye a "colored boy" so we don't have to listen to him any more.

Christopher said...

Kanye got our attention by saying something that seems wrong. And it's wrong in a direction that is precisely the way nearly everyone feels inhibited about going: failing to acknowledge the full horror of slavery

This is similar to what Scott Adams has said about Trump and messaging in general. For example, typos might be intentional typos, drawing attention to the message; Trump saying something that seems off and twists everyone into outrageous outrage, all the time focusing on the core of Trump's message. I know Adams has been chatting a lot about Kanye lately and though I haven't followed it closely this must be partly why.

SDaly said...

Where are they coming up with the 400 years figure? It doesn't apply to what is the U.S. at all. Slavery in the U.S. began (with very minimal numbers) in the mid-1600's and ended in 1865.

Jim said...

Kanye, I’d like you to meet my friend Epictetus.

Lucien said...

SDaly: Slavery may have begun in British colonies in North America in th 1600s, but even if you date the birth of the U.S. to 1776 it lasted fewer than 90 years.

The 400 year number is like the 20% of college women who are sexually assaulted.

Ralph L said...

400 years would mean slavery has another year to go (1619-2019), unless he's including the Spanish. Perhaps it will unhappen.

DanTheMan said...

>>The 400 year number is like the 20% of college women who are sexually assaulted.

Try to be more precise, Lucien. It's 25%. And rising. It will be over 100% soon.

Sebastian said...

"Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will."

What "seems wrong" about that? They got shackled and put on a boat because Africans were captured and sold by other Africans. Why were Africans so mentally enslaved to the benefits of enslaving their fellow Africans for so long?

Ralph L said...

It's "all y'all", not "all of y'all."

Hagar said...

Well, not exactly. Legal slavery ended with the 13th Amendment, but "mental slavery" continued under "Jim Crow;" the established system that was a fact of life in the South and largely honored also in the North and sometimes even abroad.

All empires of the past that I can think of also were slave states. In several, the most powerful positions in the empire were held by slaves. In China, the imperial eunuchs were self-selected, but they were still slaves for all practical purposes. The Ottomans deliberately sought out talented youths in Greece and other subject areas, brought them to Istanbul as slaves and educated them to become imperial officials. And so on.
It was just life in these empires - the way things were and would always be - until the empire fell.

Birkel said...

Maybe Kanye will discuss the Barbary Pirates who President Jefferson sent the Marines to confront.

From the walls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli

Those Pirates enslaved a lot Europeans.

Birkel said...

Whom? Whatever, pedants.

Hagar said...

In the US South, there was a very large difference between "The Hemings of Monticello," who were family, even if never to be publicly acknowledged as such, and Jefferson's field slaves, who most certainly were treated with AA's "horrors of slavery."
Again, that's how things were then.

Ray said...

Columbus enslaved Indians. 1493.

Brazil ended it 1888.

So close to 400 years.

Anyway, the remark by Kanye is going to be used to destroy his credibility.

TerriW said...

When I saw the 400 years of slavery in the post title, I thought it was going to be about the Jews in Egypt, but I was wrong.

Ralph L said...

Go, Thought, on golden wings.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead

pacwest said...

I always thought that electing Obama was an opportunity to end the mental enslavement of the Great Society and the race hustlers, but he decided to go a different way. Because he couldn't break the chains himself, or common political expediency I'm not sure. I am disappointed that a lesser figure such as Kanye would bring that message. Others have tried and failed. Hopefully someone will succeed. For the good of the union. For the good of the race. Division will not make us stronger.

the 4chan Guy who reads Althouse said...

I don't know, but maybe the mentality of slaves came from, like, a culture that kidnapped and imprisoned their own people and sold them as slaves and shit. So even when they were brought to a new land, they thought of themselves as slaves because that was their first culture and it just was how shit was.

I mean, that's fucked up and shit, but I think that maybe that's kinda Kanye's point: they were already, like, imprisoned in their minds, and they couldn't comprehend how things could be different, no matter where they ended up.

Because when you're not treated as human, it can be hard to understand what being human is. And maybe it didn't make sense to them until they were put in a culture where the discrepancy between being a slave and not being a slave was, like, really fucking obvious.

And then maybe the biggest turning point was the slave-owners teaching the slaves Christianity and shit. Because, even if you're being told you're a slave, you're also being told that you have a soul, and are worth redemption.

And if you're worth redemption, maybe you really are worth being free. So teaching the slaves about Jesus and shit maybe let the cat out of the bag. But then they stopped reading about Jesus and the Bible and shit, and the cats went back into the bag. Because I have a cat that likes getting into bags, even though there isn't rally anything in there for him to do. But I don't keep him trapped in the bag, he can come out whenever he wants, and that's cool.

I figure I'm probably wrong about this, because it kinda makes sense to me, which is usually when someone smarter than me says I'm, like, wrong and shit.

I post my shit here.

Rushmore said...

You say you'll change the constitution
Well you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well you know
You better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow

Rushmore said...

You say you'll change the constitution
Well you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well you know
You better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow

John Lennon

Francisco D said...

It is not so much the "slavery mentality" that disturbs me, although it is a valid point.

It is the rush to victimhood that is mostly found on the left, and increasingly on the right.

Victims are guiltless and admirable for their "suffering." Bullshit!

Get over your "oppression" and grow up!

Ken B said...

“No-one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

John Henry said...

In Haiti, which had some really gruesome slavery, the slaves realized that they did have a choice.

They revolted and took over the entire country.

H/T Madison's own Mike Duncan and his Revolutions podcast series. 30 episodes on the Haiti slave revolt. Much more than you ever cared about learning but interesting enough to listen all the way through.

www.revolutionspodcast.com

I recently finished the series on Bolivar and the South American revolutions and am now working my way through the French Revolution. Not bored yet!

John Henry

Ken B said...

Here is Maxine Waters telling Kanye not to “talk out of turn” and to speak less.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/05/01/maxine-waters-kanye-talking-out-of-turn-should-think-twice-about-politics/

The return of “uppity”?

John Henry said...

Blogger SDaly said...

Slavery in the U.S. began (with very minimal numbers) in the mid-1600's and ended in 1865.

Not to defend the horrors of slavery but it ended with minimal numbers in the US, on a world scale, too.

In the 1,000 years between 900 and 1900, estimates are that 100,000,000 black Africans were sold into slavery. Mostly by other black Africans. Most went north and east. More than half probably died on the journey. Those who made it could generally expect to live no more than 2 years in conditions that made Dachau look like a BSA camp.

About 10-11mm went to South America and the Caribbean. in a 250 year period. More than 500,000 just to Haiti.

Less than 1 million came to the US. The US was also the only place where there was a natural increase. More births than deaths.

Thomas Sowell has written extensively on this. One of the volumes of the Migrations and Cultures trilogy is on world slavery. Also lots about enslavement of non-Africans.

We should also note that it was white men, acting for religious reasons, that took slavery to be common, accepted and pervasive to, over about 75 years, rare and unacceptable.

Kudos to Kanye for quoting Sowell in some of his Tweets

John Henry

Rick said...

He knows people care about him and want to understand him, so we (not all of us, but many) want to understand his explanation.

Black privilege?

John Henry said...

Perhaps Kanye can do a rap song about Thomas Sowell?

John Henry

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

Kanye got our attention by saying something that seems wrong. And it's wrong in a direction that is precisely the way nearly everyone feels inhibited about going: failing to acknowledge the full horror of slavery.

I don't think "nearly everyone" feels Kanye is going in a wrong direction here. What "nearly everyone feels inhibited about" isn't "failing to acknowledge the full horror of slavery". What normal people "feel inhibited about" is expressing sense and truth and being come down on like a ton of bricks by various groups of self-appointed social enforcers who have a vested interest (financial or psychological) in keepin' it dumb.

How do you tell if someone has "failed to acknowledge the full horror of slavery"? What does that even mean? As far as I can see, it doesn't mean anything but that someone has a difference of opinion with progressive conventional wisdom or the latest progressive analyses or "solutions". (E.g., somebody tried to talk like an adult to a shrieking SJW dumbass or a mob of holy-rollin' goodthinking academics.)

It's kinda pathetic that more than half a century after the Civil Rights movement, exhumed "freeing your mind" rhetoric (which was pretty stock stuff from the time of Frederick Douglass to the '60s) is being treated as controversial ("challenging") stuff.

Hagar said...

Today, insisting that "white people should give us stuff" may well be a hangover from slavery days, when the plantation owners were supposed to look after their slaves. (That was so, even if often just polite fiction.)

Being "free" means you are free to compete.

richlb said...

SDaly - Where are they coming up with the 400 years figure? It doesn't apply to what is the U.S. at all. Slavery in the U.S. began (with very minimal numbers) in the mid-1600's and ended in 1865.

Maybe that's Kanye's point - DID slavery really end in 1865? Maybe his point is that African Americans are still slaves today, to the Democrat Machine now.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

John Henry: Thanks for the link to the revolutions podcast. Looks interesting.

Hagar said...

Some people - on either side of the divide - do not like that kind of freedom.

buwaya said...

K. West is a talented self-promoter, and he may have noticed something about public attitudes the others haven't. There may be an underexploited market niche he sees in his field of entertainment. I've no idea about it, its entirely foreign to me, but it exists, obviously, and he has been very successful in it, so he should know.

Never assume any of these people (in that industry) are sincere about anything. They are specialists in attracting attention. The interesting thing is that this thorough professional has chosen to attract this sort of attention.

Michael K said...

Foreign born blacks do not understand American blacks who seem frozen in time, like a rabbit looking at a snake.

Even blacks from the Caribbean, who also had a legacy of slavery, do not understand the American blacks.

There are middle class American blacks who have escaped the slave mentality but only a few. At least compared to the majority and the black culture.

I too hoped that Obama would do something positive for blacks but he was a leftist agitator to whom ideology was more important.

The inner city culture is dying, by abortion and homicide. There are people who want to escape, like the mother of Charles Payne who wanted a brief case for his 13th birthday. He escaped by joining the Air Force.

Of course, he has now been entangled by the sex abuse industry,

The hellish schools promoted by Obama's DOE hold many kids back who want to learn but are held by the violence of those who don't.

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...

"The interesting thing is that this thorough professional has chosen to attract this sort of attention."

Everybody loves an OG, to praise or to excoriate. Politically, Trump is very much that. I'm guessing that's a large part of what West likes about Trump.

Ken B said...

This is a dehiscence of a liminal election.

buwaya said...

As for what he says, there is both more and less to it than its content. Its done for emotional effect and probably doesn't deserve historical analysis; however there is a purpose to it.

Birches said...

Isn't that what the new Birth of a Nation was about?

Michael Owens said...

I like to think that while I might be enslaved successfully for my entite life by violence directed against me, if I had children who were to be slaves there would be some dead slaveowners right quick and damn the consequences.

Michael said...

Angle-Dyne AB

Bravo for 8:52 comment. And I thought my bullshit radar was well tuned.

Caldwell Titcomb IV said...

"400 years" should probably be more like 4,000 or 40,000 or 400,000 years.

The stupid obsession with slavery is a stupid excuse for fucking up.

DanTheMan said...

>>Some people - on either side of the divide - do not like that kind of freedom

Agreed. When the wall fell between east and west in Germany, some came over to freedom, found out that nobody was going to tell them where to live, or where to work, or what to do all day, so they went back.

Howard said...

Kanye was just appointed by Trump to be Ambassador to African America

Jupiter said...

"failing to acknowledge the full horror of slavery."

Anyone who thinks the experience of black slaves in the US encompasses "the full horror of slavery" is failing to acknowledge the full horror of slavery. As someone remarked upthread, most slave populations decreased and eventually became extinct. American slavery was actually almost benign in comparison to the practices of almost every civilization that ever existed.

Jupiter said...

The Spanish complained that the American Indians made poor slaves. In captivity, they tended to pine and die, like wild animals. What West may be acknowledging is that the American blacks descended from slaves are descended from a people who survived and even throve as slaves. I could see how, to an American black, that might well be the ultimate horror of slavery, and a source of deep unease. How many generations does it take to domesticate a wild animal? "Give me liberty, or give me death", said Patrick Henry, and we quote him with approval, as an American patriot crying his defiance to a (rather innocuous) tyrant. If I were an American black, I think I might well take pride in the actions of Nat Turner. But Turner failed. And Turner was the exception, not the rule.

Gahrie said...

If I were an American black, I think I might well take pride in the actions of Nat Turner. But Turner failed. And Turner was the exception, not the rule.

Definitely don't bring up John Brown's attack on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry.

Caldwell Titcomb IV said...

Jupiter said...
The Spanish complained that the American Indians made poor slaves.


And it wasn't unusual for Indians to enslave other Indians.

Larry J said...

SDaly said...

Where are they coming up with the 400 years figure? It doesn't apply to what is the U.S. at all. Slavery in the U.S. began (with very minimal numbers) in the mid-1600's and ended in 1865.


More to the point, the United States didn't exist until we declared our independence in 1776. Before that, we were British colonies.

Many years ago, I watched a comedy routine by a black comedian. He said something along the lines of "all the brothers like to talk tough. They say that if they'd lived back in the slavery days, they'd tell the man to fuck off. Yeah, then (whip-sound). Yessah, Massa!" His point was the slaves were brutalized into submission and suffered horribly. When you get hit by a bullwhip, it tends to take the fight out of you.

Slavery has been part of the human condition throughout recorded history and probably existed before anyone recorded what was going on. Slaves existed in ancient Egypt. We marvel at ancient Greece and Rome but those societies were built on slavery as well. Slavery existed at one time or another just about everywhere and still exists in some places today. It's hard to comprehend a mindset that someone else is so inferior, they don't have any rights as an individual and are nothing more than property.

JAORE said...

Surveys of yoots reveals that many believe the pre-Civil War US was the only slavery in the history of mankind.

Bay Area Guy said...

This is a deep issue, that requires some thought and patience and civility.

Yes, slavery was, in essence, the "original sin" of America.

But, a lotta courageous folks fought and died in the Civil War (1860) to help end slavery.

Jim Crowe laws shackled black folks for another 100+ years, so we have to acknowledge that too.

The question is, 160 years after the Civil War, 50 years after the Civil Rights Act, when American blacks falter in society today, in 2018, is it due to:

1. past slavery
2. past Jim Crowe laws
3. current racism
4. a combination of all 3
5. something unrelated

Thomas Sowell makes that argument that the "Great Society" (i.e, the modern welfare state) enacted right after the Civil Rights Law in the mid-60s is a chief culprit. He argues that it chased the black husband out of the household, which dis-incentived work, and destroyed the traditional black nuclear family.

So, I can acknowledge the "horror of slavery" if somebody wants me to. I also acknowledge the "horror of Nazism" and the "horror of Communism" and the incredible steps the USA did to fight those institutions and organizations.

In return, though, I would like our Left of Center friends to acknowledge that not all modern day problems in the black communities of Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland are proximately caused by slavery, and, in fact, many modern day problems in black community are proximately caused by bad ideas and bad decisions, today.




Unknown said...

Kanye has successfully distracted the pedants while he engages in a substantive discussion of the issue.

-sw

Titus said...

Pubes always bitch about Hollyweird liberals but when they think they got one on their side they orgasm.

Char Char Binks said...

Slavery started in prehistory, and continues today. Some people are natural-born slaves. Many Blacks have a deep-seated need to blame Whitey for slavery in order to cover up the shame they feel for having been punked for so long.

buwaya said...

"most slave populations decreased and eventually became extinct"

Not most, but some, where there were few. And they went extinct mainly by interbreeding with the local population such that it became difficult to distinguish them as "black". This happened in Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay.

One interesting remnant of the black slave population of Mexico is the often-played 17th-century Baroque piece (yes, there was a lot of Baroque Mexican music). You run into this one all over the place lately, if you are into Baroque.

Tarara qui yo soy Anton

Its in the now-extinct "black" dialect of Mexico, 17th century version.

Ray said...

Perhaps he is referring to the slave mentality, which perhaps survived Slavery in the US.

It's amazing how Western Civilization quickly ended slavery, a tradition going back through out recorded history, so thousands of years at least.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Spike Lee had a character say, "free your mind and your ass will follow." I don't remember if it was in the same movie, but he also had a scene where a character got angry and attacked someone because they prioritized going to work over hanging out.

The point is, Kanye's observation used to be common place. One of the Marsalis brothers theorized that the misogyny in rap originated in the anger black men had to internalize during slavery, when they couldn't protect their women.

The Vault Dweller said...

When I first heard of Kanye's slavery comments, I was more focused on the number 400 years. The earliest mention of slavery in what would become America, was in Jamestown Virginia in 1619. If you take that as the starting point, 400 years of slavery would bring slavery up to sometime next year in 2019. Slavery ended shortly after the end of the Civil War in 1865, roughly 250 years after the first instance in Jamestown. If you stick with 400 years of slavery as a timeframe that leaves roughly 150 years of slavery that is self-imposed or by choice.

The gist of what Kanye is saying is true. If you limit yourself by seeing yourself as a victim and keep waiting for some outside force to end your victimhood before you live you life, nothing will improve, nothing will change.

Achilles said...

Titus said...
Pubes always bitch about Hollyweird liberals but when they think they got one on their side they orgasm.


Now that is a deep thought.

Very deep.

The deepest.

Hagar said...

Erling Skjalgsson on Sole became a rich man by buying slaves from the Vikings, giving them a piece of land to cultivate, and telling them they could buy their freedom with their excess produce, and he would act as a grocer and bring it to market for them.
This would have been in southern Norway around 1000 A.D.

Achilles said...

It will be fun to watch the leftists try to force Kayne back on the plantation.

The thing is this didn't happen in a vacuum. Kayne isn't just randomly spouting off. He chose this time. He has harbored these thoughts for a long time. He talks to a lot of people and has a lot of relationships. He is at the center of Black culture.

And he came out now.

Nobody is talking about that blue wave anymore. Nobody is talking about impeachment anymore. Now we are discussing the Nobel Peace prize. Even Gallup had to admit Trump's popularity is growing.

Everyone likes the strong horse.

The Vault Dweller said...

I wonder how much Kanye having children affected his views. A lot of this could stem from fears that if his children view themselves as black, then given current culture, they could view themselves as trapped or forced to act a certain way. That certain avenues in life or even just ideas, could be off limits. This could be in part because he doesn't want his children to view themselves this way.

I have a younger friend who tells me about his his friend who is black. They are both in their young to mnid-twenties. My friend has been working for a long time in a very labor intensive job in the agricultural business in California. He has never really been paid that much. His friend who is black, is on welfare and has never held a job for more than a few weeks. My friend keeps telling his black friend that he needs to get a job and do something, and his friend responds that he can't because of white privilege he is always going to be kept down. This is one hundred percent an example of person that is limiting their own potential because they view themselves as trapped and a victim. I suspect Kanye is trying to fight back against this mentality.

Hagar said...

Legend has it that around 590 A.D, Pope Gregory the Great was browsing around in the slave market in Rome and noticed some blond and blue eyed children for sale. He asked who they were and they said they were Angles and came from Britain. The pope remarked that they certainly looked like angels and moved on, but supposedly this encounter moved him to send St. Augustine of Canterbury to proclaim the Roman Catholic version of Christianity to the British Isles.
(The Pelagian Heresy version was already there.)

The main exports from the British Isles in those days were Cornish tin (to make bronze with) and slaves captured in the internecine tribal wars.

buwaya said...

Juan Garrido, conquistador -

Codex Azcatitlan

Check him out - one of the true OG's of the conquistador business.

tcrosse said...

The main exports from the British Isles in those days were Cornish tin (to make bronze with) and slaves captured in the internecine tribal wars.

Britons never never shall be slaves.

bagoh20 said...

I understood what he meant the first time I heard it, mostly becuase it's silly and lazy to think he meant it in the way he's being criticized for meaning it. Why would he say it meaning it that way. Well, he wouldn't.

Also, many slaves when freed, did decide to go back to it in some form, from returning to the plantation, to sharecropping, to voting knee-jerk for Democrats only to be taken for granted and disrespected as nothing more than pawns.

Kevin said...

Eighteen years, eighteen years
She got one of your kids, got you for eighteen years
I know somebody payin' child support for one of his kids
His baby mama car and crib is bigger than his
You will see him on TV any given Sunday
Win the Super Bowl and drive off in a Hyundai
She was supposed to buy your shorty Tyco with your money
She went to the doctor, got lipo with your money
She walkin' around lookin' like Michael with your money
Shoulda got that insured, Geico for your money
If you ain't no punk
Holla, "We want prenup! We want prenup!" (Yeah!)
It's somethin' that you need to have
‘Cause when she leave yo' ass, she gon' leave with half
Eighteen years, eighteen years
And on the 18th birthday he found out it wasn't his?!

Hagar said...

Every known society in history has had slavery, so we are all descended from slaves and slave masters.

dreams said...

And this. Plus this.

"Kanye West revealed in a TMZ interview on Tuesday that he wanted to apologize to George W. Bush for saying in 2005 that the president did not care about black people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina."

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2018/05/01/kanye-west-want-apologize-george-w-bush-2005-comment/

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/05/kanye_reveals_obamas_history_of_being_a_selfish_jerk.html

heyboom said...

I was one of those who detested Kanye for what he said about President Bush. However, I do believe in redemption and what he is doing now, taking the hits and standing up to his fellow travelers is something to behold. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

Although, Kim will be divorcing him soon if he keeps it up.

buwaya said...

Kanye West Re-Enters Social 50 Chart at No. 2 Following Return to Twitter

A veteran self-promoter.

As I said above, what he is doing is more a symptom of the state of the public mind (as per his no-doubt insightful perception) than of his own political opinions, if he truly has any.

John Henry said...

Vault Dweller,

I had not thought about Kanye's children. He has kids with a Kardashian, right? These kids will be ethnically African-Armenian. Do they identify as black? Armenian? American? Asian?

At least they have Bruce Jenner at hand to help them understand how much of a choice these things can be.

John Henry

JSF said...

Here's where the 400 years came from....a song from the soundtrack of Strange Days (1995) starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Lewis. Song by Me Phi Me (in the film: Jeriko One)

Bigelow did the film on the heels of the LA Riots, mix in some cyberpunk and the music industry and you have a cool flick. Now, the lyrics:

"Yeah, bring it on, death's about to grow from the seeds you sown
You fertilized it with poverty, you watered it with dope
And harvested it by the guns that betrayed my hope
But scopes came with them guns, now what do I see?
You and your family looking scared of me, you plead mercy
But non-violence has only got me half-way to where I want to be
Now my vengeance will make me free...

"So don't call me Martin Luther King in my face"
His dream's no reality, fatality's the case
You took away my dignity, I forgot about who I was
"But I never had a dream 'cause..."
Life is something that I think we can no longer share
"...my life is a nightmare"
Death is something I don't fear
America's been my boogieman for 400 years!"


Biff said...

How have we made it this far in the comment thread without an explicit reference to the 1970 Funkadelic album, Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow?

Daniel Jackson said...

It's wonderful and very powerful Biblical lesson Rev West is delivering to us all. The four hundred years is the number given to Abraham in the prophesy of the descent of the Children of Israel (his grandson) into the Land of Misery where they would be held in Bondage of physical and allegorical nature.

Go Down Moses, Way Down to Egypt Land;
Tell Old Pharaoh,
LET
MY
PEOPLE
GO

You have come up from the Land of Misery, out of the House of Bondage; but you have brought your chains with you. Brother Louis says this regularly to his flock: you have left the House of Pharaoh; but, Pharaoh holds you still.

This is the eternal message of the Passover--NEXT YEAR we shall be free because we are still leaving the House of Misery, which is the literal translation of the Hebrew word for Egypt--MITZRAIM.

This is a fine example of Christian Preaching straight from the Bible. The Preacher asks, why are you still act like you are in chains when you are FREE!! Jewish prayer books, at the end of the morning service, to remember six things, one of which is to remember that we are leaving the Land of Misery, the House of Bondage, each and every day.

Getting bogged down in the surface meaning of how many years such a means of production was used is meaningless. Slavery still exists in its virulent form as in its psychological form (ask anyone in their sixties with an outstanding mortgage or alimony to pay or student loans eating away at their security if they are not in Misery or Bondage if you doubt this).

It's not the point. The point is transcendence; be happy; be free; the Chariot is Coming; we are no longer in the House of Bondage; the Land of Misery. LECH LECHA The Lord tells Abraham in Babylon--go for yourself.

Reverend West awakes. He is no longer a Gangsta Rapper. He's a Street Preacher at the corner of 186th Street and Amsterdam Avenue with a RAP. Like the late great Reverend Gary Davis, he's got a Hammer. Let it ring.

Amen.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Daniel,

MITZRAIM means narrowness, constriction, in our Haggadah.

Oso Negro said...

Has it ever crossed anyone's mind that slavery might be only temporarily gone as a major institution?

buwaya said...

"Has it ever crossed anyone's mind that slavery might be only temporarily gone as a major institution?"

Slavery, as applied to masses of people doing straight labor in a major agricultural or industrial or service function, is gone forever. Technology makes slavery uneconomical. It was already getting uneconomical back in the mid-19th century. And more uneconomical every year since.

If it comes back it will have to be in some area of personal services where technology is an inadequate substitute.

Daniel Jackson said...

My GOOD Lieutenant, in everyone's Haggadah, מיצרים means STRAITS, or DIRE STRAITS, which is why it is often translated as NARROWNESS, which alludes to walking through that Valley of the Shadow of Death. צָרוּת means narrowness or narrow minded.

We were "slaves" living in misery resulting in narrow mindedness in the House of Bondage. The term עֶבֶד means Slave, but also Serf (the same word in French btw), bondsperson, servitude, or anyone who is in a binding contract. We were independent contractors (teamsters, actually) and our margin was very small, and then we had to pick up the costs of production putting in negative balance.

It is in the first Parshah of Shemot where we cried out from our MISERY but not to The Lord. It was The Lord who heard us and remembered the Covenant of Abraham some "400 years" before.

Bondage brings misery resulting in narrowness and dire straits.

I learn the weekly Parshah with my Marxist Commie brother; this is our favorite Parshah. He notes the exploitation of the masses; I note the fundamental problem of the working class and the independent contractor: over taxation, personal costs, and dealing with folks who do not honor their contracts. There is an old rabbinical rule for learning parables and prophecies: they are true for all times and for all people. I guess that is why we have Milton Friedmans with Karl Marxes.

Anyway, I stick with my drosh on MITZRAIM. If you would like proof texts, I will gladly supply them.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I won't quibble Dan, I'm sure your depth on this is greater than mine. That's what comes of Liz pushing that Hillel commie lib Haggadah on us. (Good gravy, you should see the commentary!) For extra fun, Robert still uses the Me'am Lo'ez and the pagination is nothing like and it is such a crash scene when he leads the service and everyone else is following in the other book.

https://goo.gl/images/MPW1wZ

Bad Lieutenant said...

Yes, the Straits of Mitzrayim. Independent contractor! Never heard that gloss before.

Of course, grandma and grandpa just used the Chase and Sanborn. (Do I jolly well date myself or what!) But that would be second night of course. The big shindig was always in Brooklyn at my great-aunt's. Oh, memories!

Bad Lieutenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bad Lieutenant said...

I would love a non commie Hagaddah if you can recommend. Accessible for English speakers too, please.

But not this one!

On Wings of Freedom: The Hillel Haggadah for the Nights of Passover https://g.co/kgs/ZVCU2S

The songs include If I Had a Hammer! Can you freaking imagine!

Daniel Jackson said...

GOOD Lieutenant, you are inspiring me to create one. Attempts to make the story's narrative au current have gone in the wrong direction. Rather than delving into the richness of the story within stories, especially with a tad bit more mysticism (it IS after all a total parable), the lefties have stripped away its richness and the tradition.

I confess that in my youth, with the Maxwell House Coffee free Haggadahs in Safety and Giant, rather than trying to understand who are all these characters, why they are exaggerating, and when is the next cup of wine, I would edit to my heart's content. Later, as I learned a bit more I acquired considerable regret over such actions.

A few years back, I had a Passover with some young secular Israelis, all with experience on the Field Of Judgment from their IDF days. Secular or not, they could all relate their own stories of being delivered from Misery and Dire Straits. They may not be observant nor traditional, but the eternal meaning of The Story, with their own stories, will remain with me all my days.

To get a more contemporary (as in scientific) orientation, read The Guide OF the Perplexed translated by Shlomo Pines who was an incredible scholar fluent in Sanskrit as well as Arabic. The former is very important since after he translated The Guide from Arabic to English in 1962, he began to translate the Arab scholars' translation of the Yoga Sutras circa 11th century. The Guide will give you a VERY different look and understanding of the parable of Passover. Start with Volume 2 https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Perplexed-Vol-2/dp/0226502317/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=GNVA7TTK080569W55ADW

Of course, through Madame's portal at Amazon (that sounds a bit risque, oui?).

Bad Lieutenant said...

Nice! Better than Friedlander?

Thanks, Dan, you write it, I'll drop a copy on every plate.

The worst part of the Hillel is the degenderization of the Almighty. "So mealymouthed.