Kanye v Kaepernick — Breaking ranks
By Mark Alexander
There was a revealing contrast between how the Democrat Party and its mainstream media public relations team handled the activities of two black men in recent days. Kanye West was labeled a "token negro" for visiting the White House, and Colin Kaepernick was hailed as a cultural hero by Harvard. It provided a stark case study in the Left's politics of division. Any black man who threatens that racial divide becomes an immediate target for scorn and ridicule.
Why? Because any break from this orthodoxy poses an existential threat to the electability of Democrats.
Kaepernick was the celebrated leader of the NFL's national anthem kneelers while he was still employed. He received Harvard's "prestigious" W.E.B. Du Bois medal for, well, kneeling. The award was presented by Harvard's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, with Afrocentric professor Cornel West presiding. West teaches courses on W.E.B. Du Bois.
Kaepernick is the mediocre former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who was receiving an annual salary of $19,000,000. In 2016, he bought into the faux Black Lives Matter movement and declared, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." He set off a racially charged "protest" across the nation — kneelers of all ages!
For the record, Kaepernick was abandoned by his black biological father before he was born and put up for adoption by his 19-year-old white mother. He was then adopted and raised by a loving white couple in an upper-middle-class suburb.
It is no small irony that he has become a celebrated critic of so-called "white oppression," especially by "racist" police targeting young black men — but that's a lie based on a myth.
Kaepernick's anger is likely rooted in a deep sense of abandonment by his black father, and his protest is wholly misdirected.
Most recently, he was rewarded for his "hate America" crusade with a lucrative contract for a Nike advertising campaign.
According to Harvard, "The Du Bois medal honors those who have made significant contributions to African and African American history and culture, and more broadly, individuals who advocate for intercultural understanding and human rights in an increasingly global and interconnected world." Right. This from an institution that has most recently been practicing systematic discrimination against students with Asian heritage.
On receipt of the award, Kaepernick said, "I feel like it's not only my responsibility, but all our responsibilities as people that are in positions of privilege, in positions of power, to continue to fight for them and uplift them, empower [young black people], because if we don't, we become complicit in the problem."
Kaepernick is definitely "complicit in the problem."
It's a fitting irony that he'd receive an award in the name of an avowed communist sympathizer. At the height of Soviet oppression worldwide, Du Bois wrote, "Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature. ... The highest proof of his greatness [was that] he knew the common man, felt his problems, followed his fate."
Du Bois, who received a Ph.D. from Harvard and cofounded the NAACP, also said that Adolf Hitler's socialist Nazi party reign of evil was "absolutely necessary to get the state in order."
One of Du Bois's much better known contemporaries, Booker T. Washington, was a critic of Du Bois's fomenting of racial division — the same division for which Kaepernick has been honored. In his book, My Larger Education, Washington wrote of Du Bois and other racial agitators with words that are even more applicable to present-day race agitators: "There is [a] class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. ... Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays."
Washington continued: "Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. ... There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."
Years ago, before the current billionaire-backed Democrat Party's advocacy for socialism emerged, my friend Walter E. Williams, a brilliant black economist who long ago broke with the Left's divisive orthodoxy, offered this summary of why Democrats are soft on socialism: "The reason leftists give communists, the world's most horrible murderers, a pass is that they sympathize with the chief goal of communism: restricting personal liberty. In the U.S., the call is for government control over our lives through regulations and taxation."
When it comes to the Democrats' most loyal constituency, black voters — 90% of whom have been lulled into political servitude by the Left — there's little tolerance for those who venture off the urban poverty plantation and dare to challenge the identity groupthink that Demos have crafted for black folks. But that's exactly what rapper-entrepreneur-promoter Kanye West did when he went to the White House for a meeting with Trump, another master promoter. No mystery why these two relate to each other well — they both speak the same language!
West is a 41-year-old Atlanta native who grew up in Barack Obama's backyard, Chicago. His father was a Black Panther who later became a Christian counselor, and his mother was chair of the English Department at Chicago State University before retiring to serve as her son's manager. As a teenager, he was intrigued by the brash style of the leading rap stars and set his sights on becoming one of them. He received college scholarships, but furthering his education became an obstacle to his rapidly developing entertainment career. One of his popular albums was "College Dropout," which was about embracing who he was rather than adhering to the social and cultural path he was expected to travel.
Ten years into his career, he was touring with the biggest acts and had found his stride as a performer. His popularity soared in the following decade, in part based on his controversial and often obscene remarks. His marriage to reality TV star Kim Kardashian boosted his populist stock, and he's become one of the most celebrated cultural icons of young black Americans, among other demographics.
If West is anything, he's a masterful self-promoter — which is good reason to exercise caution with his "endorsements." But those who know him say he is, in fact, a "freethinker" bent on breaking old black molds.
In 2016, West announced his support for Trump and in December met with the President-elect at Trump Tower in New York. Earlier this year, he was roundly criticized for reaffirming his support for Trump. While it was controversial for Trump to take this most recent Oval Office meeting, it was also a cross-racial promotional coup. West said he wanted "to discuss multicultural issues ... included bullying, supporting teachers, modernizing curriculums, and violence in Chicago. I feel it is important to have a direct line of communication with our future President if we truly want change."
In other words, he recognized that Obama's "hope and change" agenda was all smoke and mirrors.
In the recent meeting with Trump, West was accompanied by another breakaway Trump supporter, former Cleveland Browns Hall of Famer Jim Brown, perhaps the greatest football player ever. West said that other celebrities have shunned him. They "tried to scare me to not wear this [Make America Great Again] hat," he stated, adding, "When I put this hat on, it made me feel like Superman — my favorite superhero."
He told Trump, "You made a Superman cape for me."
West recognizes that Trump and Republican policies have resulted in, among other economic results, the lowest unemployment rate for black Americans in history.
You may recall the controversy that erupted when West, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's devastation in 2005, infamously said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." He was asked about that remark in his meeting with Trump, and he said, "I was very emotional, and I was programmed to think from a victimized mentality, a welfare mentality," adding, "I think that with blacks and African-Americans, we really get caught up in the idea of racism over the idea of industry."
He explained: "We say if people don't have land, they settle for brands [like] Polo-sporting Obama. ... We want a brand more than we want land, because we haven't known how it feels to actually have our own land and have ownership of our own blocks. So when you don't have ownership, then it's all about how something looks. It's about the patina. It's not about the soul. It's not about the core."
After they met, Trump noted, "He's a very different kind of a guy, and I say that in a positive way. Those in the music business say he's a genius, and that's okay with me. Kanye West gets it."
Of course, the meeting was more about show-biz than substance, but when a black rapper with tens of millions of fans steps off of the Demo plantation for a meeting like this, people pay attention.
Democrats couldn't say much about the meeting without the risk of alienating West's fans and a core Democrat constituency. So they left the condescendingly racist rants to their black Leftmedia talkingheads — who they figured could get away it.
CNN's Bakari Sellers declared, "Kanye West is what happens when Negroes don't read." CNN's Tara Setmayer said West was "the token Negro of the Trump administration." And CNN's disgraceful Don Lemon summed it up, "What I saw was a minstrel show. ... Him in front of all these white people, mostly white people, embarrassing himself and embarrassing Americans, but mostly African-Americans, because every one of them is sitting either at home or with their phones, watching this, cringing."
But as for getting away with it, they figured wrong.
Conservative columnist and noted black critic of the Left Deroy Murdock immediately called out CNN's "reprehensible, racist comments," angrily declaring, "Black Americans who think for ourselves are mocked and degraded with words we last saw under Jim Crow. If President Trump had no black supporters, they would call his circle 'lily white.' Now, one of America's most prominent black entertainers praises and visits the president, and he is trivialized as a 'token' who 'doesn't read.'"
And NFL legend Herschel Walker went to social media to express that he was "appalled over Don Lemon's despicable behavior" and questioned "why CNN doesn't take all three [Lemon, Sellers, Setmayer] off the air?"
What Democrats fear most ahead of this midterm election, especially given their disastrous PR attempt to derail Brett Kavanaugh's SCOTUS appointment, is an erosion of black voters' allegiance.
A recent Rasmussen poll found that Trump's approval rating among black Americans is at 36%, nearly double his support at this time last year. It won't take many black defectors from those poverty plantations — those who cross party lines or simply don't show up to vote — to dash the Democrats' hopes of retaking the House and possibly the Senate next month.
Given the nonstop assault on Donald Trump by the mainstream media and popular culture, it's hard to imagine the existence of any black Demo dissenters and defectors. But they're out there — and this is yet another miscalculation of Trump's grassroots appeal.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.