Wake Up Mr. West 

Photo by Mike Barry | CC BY 2.0

It seems we living the American dream
But the people highest up got the lowest self esteem
The prettiest people do the ugliest things
For the road to riches and diamond rings

—Kanye West, All Falls Down

Another week, another controversy for Kanye West. As sexy as the Uncle Tom narrative is for the mainstream media, Kanye’s comments about slavery were more reckless than malicious. Mr. West explains: “To make myself clear. 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…The 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. Once again I am being attacked for presenting new ideas.”

As historically insensitive as Kanye’s statements about slavery were, we have to concede that Kanye gets a few things right. The echo chambers that we live in take away from the ability to freely think. We are rendered complacent by the mental slavery of neoliberalism. We live in a society that hates each other, thinks little and organizes even less. Technology, short term jobs, economic uncertainty, the coming climate change apocalypse, the division of communities thorough globalization, mass incarceration, the growth of the police state…

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