If you haven’t seen Kanye’s latest interview with TMZ, then there is a chance you may have dial-up internet or live under a rock with Patrick Star. If you do, that’s ok, but let me fill you in. Yesterday, Kanye appeared for an interview at TMZ’s headquarters in California and attempted to capture the office’s attention for some time. During the interview, West touched on his face to face meeting with Trump over the summer, being addicted to opiates and a number of other topics. Above all else, West made headlines when he uttered the words, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice.” As one would expect, that five-second soundbite deservedly made the rounds on social and traditional media outlets because it’s outright stupid. However, there’s a portion of West’s interview that is nearly as offensive, but didn’t get the same amount of airtime.
During West’s rant, he had a back and forth with TMZ’s Van Lathan in which West said, “Black people have a tendency to focus and march when a white person kills a black person or wears a hat, but when there are 700 kids being killed in Chicago it’s ok.” To make matter’s worse, while Lathan is arguing that West’s statements are false, another TMZ employee can be heard backing Kanye up. From there, the conversation moves on to other topics and ultimately lands on the point where Kanye speaks ignorantly about slavery. The question that still remains is, “Why do people continue to let Kanye and others spew this narrative about ‘black on black crime’ when it is nearly as harmful as his comments about slavery?”
Yeezy is the first in a long line of black activists, artists and politicians to paint Chicago as the center of “black on black crime” when in fact it is nothing of the sort. First, Kanye mentioned, “700 kids” being killed in Chicago. In reality, only once in the last fifteen years has there been more than 700 homicides in the city of Chicago. Furthermore, shootings in the city of Chicago are down 30% from where they were in 2016 and 2017. To address the second part of Kanye’s statement that indicates that no one cares about kids losing their lives in inner-city Chicago, it is utterly false. In 2015, men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. marched down 79th street to advocate for an end to city violence. Every year, St. Sabina’s Church in Chicago leads a rally to advocate for peace within the city. Rhymefest, one of Kanye’s former collaborators, works tirelessly to create alternative safe art spaces for kids within the city to turn to. There’s BUILD Chicago. There’s CASA Central. There are hundreds of groups within Chicago working to limit violence within Chicago. Meanwhile, West aligning himself with someone who couldn’t care less about kids in Chicago.
Kanye saying over 700 people die in Chicago with Candace Owens echoing with "Black people don't march for "Black on Black" crime" is A1 racist conservative rhetoric and a #AllLivesMatter talking point. It's a slap in the face to community orgs addressing community violence too. https://t.co/dEFweCxyOZ
— Charles Preston (@_CharlesPreston) May 2, 2018
Most importantly, Kanye’s statements stand in support for an overarching phrase called “black on black violence”. As a result of redlining and defacto segregation, white people tend to live near white people, black people tend to live near black people, etc. In addition, crime tends to happen more in low-income environments regardless of race. In the end, what ends up happening is that white people kill white people at a higher rate than anyone else, but we never hear about “white on white crime”? Black people killing black people is an issue of proximity and environment and not some plague within black people. In other words, the idea that no cares about black kids dying in Chicago is a myth. The idea that there is a thing called “black on black crime” is also a myth. Kanye’s stupidity is sadly not a myth.