I never thought these words would pass from my lips, but: poor Kanye. It's hard these days not to feel sorry for the guy, in spite of his famous and well-documented infamous antics. Though I cannot cosign on some of the many tantrums he's thrown at award shows where winning would have been of little relevance to his career, it's sad to see a man who is being attacked and publicly shamed for being real.
In his now-infamous interview with Matt Lauer, Kanye West expresses regret and empathy for saying that George W. Bush did not care about black people in the wake of Katrina, because he was also accused of being a racist after the MTV awards debacle. But I too have empathy for Kanye West, as one who has been guilted for making real, accurate comments on certain situations, just because it made someone uncomfortable.
Kanye's declaration about Mr. Bush came from a place of frustration and honesty that is much bigger and more involved than the former President is making it out to be. He saw the statement as a personal attack. It was not. Kanye was expressing a disappointment and anger about a historical disregard for black humanity that has been part of our nation's fabric for centuries. This disregard, in spite of the Civil Rights movement and the many improvements in the quality of black American life still continues, and is still perpetuated by our government.
The statement had little to do with Mr. Bush's character, and more to do with his complacency in continuing the cycle. The fact that Bush pointed it out was the most disgusting point in his presidency, should disgust us all, and is a testament to the sort of President he was. It's amazing that the tragedy of 9/11, the destruction of our economy, the shameful handling of Hurricane Katrina, or even the body count of young American soldiers in the Middle East did not affect him as did some random popstar suggesting that he, like much of white America, has little regard for the welfare of their fellow citizens just because they look different. Events that affected this whole country and its history do not bother him as much as being called a name. That, my friends, is selfishness at its height.
What Kanye West said about Mr. Bush was real. And as inappropriate as his comments were at the time, what he said about Taylor Swift was real. In fact, a great many things that Mr. West says are real, and people seem to have a problem with them because in our culture, we don't like to hear the truth if it spoils our perfect little fake realities.
Kanye West clumsily reminds us time and time again that we need to look at situations for what is really going on behind them. It is said in the bible that "he who increases knowledge increases sorrow," and to a great extent, that is true. The more we look at our lives, the more we learn about the mechanics and history of society and various organizations, the more we see the injustice in them, and the more depressed we are about it.
Kanye challenges us to see these things for what they really are, and to face this sorrow, to face injustice and call it what it really is without worrying about who is going to be slightly inconvenienced by it.
Kanye, you don't need to apologize to anyone. Yes, some of your behavior in the past has been wildly inappropriate, but real recognizes real, and I just can't bring myself to hate you for it. Because at the end of the day, I doubt that George W. Bush cares about black people, and Beyoncé's music video was infinitely better than anything Taylor Swift has produced to date. *Kanye shrug*