Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kanye West and the Return of Black Power

Cross-posted at Dagblog.

If you've bought Kanye West's new album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, you'll quickly realize that West has adopted a fairly healthy dose of race consciousness. The album cover is that of a black man being mounted by a white woman (an act of jungle fever that I assume was put for what he would assume to be shock value):

Kanye West's song "Gorgeous" puts the emphasis on Kanye's pigmentation, as he jeers that those "black-balled" him forgot about his "black balls," while elsewhere he says, "I treat the cash the way the government treats AIDS. I won't be satisfied til all my niggas get it, get it?" Now, as a hip hop connoisseur, this sentiment is always around but Pharoahe Monch said the same things in his 2007 album Desire, it didn't seem to be said with the same level of anger.

It's not upsetting that black power seems to be making an open return once again, it's just depressing. It shows that the animosity and anger that breeds it hasn't gotten away with the election of the first black president and that any one who had thought it had because of the alluring mirage of political correctness and coalition building was drastically mistaken.

Why shouldn't it return? While yours truly doesn't find that cover shocking or inappropriate, Glenn Beck's rallies have illustrated that there still are people that it would scare the bonkers out of. A friend of mine, who is African American, had become more conservative over the years and even started thinking of herself as a Republican. As of 2008, however, that dissipated and she has since converted to Islam, a much friendlier (at least in America) form of conservatism if you happen to be of color.

Meanwhile, classic black power anthems like Public Enemy's "By The Time I Get To Arizona" seem all the more appropriate as, from shootings to punitive immigration laws, Arizona fits Chuck D.'s description: ‎"And a smile on your face- 'cause the whole state's racist!"

Just imagine the racial intensity that could have destroyed this country if the attempted terrorist attack in Spokane had been successful:

The Associated Press has a report from an unnamed official in the investigation into the bomb discovered on the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane, who says it was the most potentially destructive device he had ever seen — a sophisticated IED with a remote detonator.

“They haven’t seen anything like this in this country,” the official said. “This was the worst device, and most intentional device, I’ve ever seen.”

There have also been reports that the bomb was packed with shrapnel to maximize injuries, and placed on a concrete bench to direct the full force of the blast toward the parade marchers. This was an extremely serious attempt at mass murder, and we’re very lucky the backpack was spotted by city employees before the parade began.

The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s).

This country would have erupted in racial violence, with many furious at the resurrection of old hatred by old methods. And you know what? Those furious would be completely justified in their fury that, after 150 years of abolition, much of white America is still seemingly uncomfortable with the decent, equal role of a group that was brought here by force. Persecution politics breeds other forms of persecution politics. Let's just hope things get better.

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