Kanye West’s controversial slavery comments merit reflection

West makes no bones about being a capitalist himself. He and his frequent collaborator JAY-Z have frequently rapped about being rich, hustling (both legally and illegally) and helping others to become more wealthy. West’s solution to the problem of Black disenfranchisement is not to commiserate with the poor—it is to help them become rich. That is where West fundamentally departs from the liberal mindset. Liberals need the poor to remain poor because they can then use the plight of the poor to expiate their own guilt by hating the rich, and they can con the nation into wasting resources on a so-called war on poverty that has failed miserably despite hundreds of billions of dollars being thrown at it.

West clearly understands the nature of racism in America and has chosen to adapt by questioning the status quo. He understands that of course physical slavery in America was not a “victimless” crime. But he is asking people to cast off the mantle of victimhood and don the shawl of prosperity. His message is all about freeing ourselves from the mental bonds that have endured since the physical shackles were broken, which is why it is so apropos for this moment.