Ten years ago Kanye West said "The President doesn't care about black people", but is
Looking on back on the 10th Anniversary of Kanye West's most famous and controversial public statement.
Ten years ago Rapper/Producer and now "apparently" future presidential candidate Kanye West said these seven now famous words "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People". On national television during a telethon to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Kanye West at that time was still beginning his career and not yet the mega star that he would eventually become, attacked “The leader of the free world” and the United States government itself in what could have led to an end to his promising career.
There is a long history of artist who have taken controversial political stances or made public impromptu statements that ultimately lead to them being “black-balled”. The list is endless in our history; Nina Simone, The Dixie Chicks, Sinead O’Connor, Billy Holiday even John Lennon; all saw their careers take a dip and some never recovered after they made remarks unfavorable to the powers that be, However the reverse seemed to have occurred for Kanye. His statements arguably raised his stock price and even caused George W. Bush to lament in his biography that; that moment was the "lowest point of his Presidency". Yes not the crashing of a global economy or an unnecessary war that caused the deaths of millions including tens of thousands of American soldiers, but the words of a young upstart entertainer cut the former President like a Knife. Why? Because, it was in fact true. But maybe it wasn't George W. Bush who didn't care about Black people but America itself.. President Bush was only the representative of the country, at the time just the sum of parts built on the backs of African slavery and white supremacy. The proof that the Presidency doesn't seem to care much for the plight of America's Black citizens is that ten years later we have a Black President who is obviously sympathetic and empathetic to the plight of African Americans but appears to be none the less apathetic to the idea of radically addressing systemic African American disenfranchisement and racial injustice. During the wake of Ferguson last year when civil rights and civil liberties were trampled on by a militarized police force, the President was no was nowhere to be found, he has yet to visit the region. Earlier this year in Baltimore after riots arguably incited by the police and the city when they dismissed children and teens early from school and then local police forced the children off city buses and ordered them to walk home. Where was our Black President? Understandably the President's job is to maintain order and keep the nation together. However Obama has yet to make the trip to Baltimore which is only 45 minutes by car maybe 10 minutes by helicopter from Washington DC. The clear message sent is unlike any other constituency the President cannot appear to be too close to victims of the state whether it is via neglect or intentional harm. Historically and unfortunately the poor and the black have been all too often been on the receiving end of both neglect and intentional abuse at the hands of the state. So here we stand ten years removed from watching a major U.S. city literally drown before our eyes, many celebrate the "gains" that New Orleans has made. However they ignore the plight of its local and now greatly reduced African American population. We ask where is the President? Where is Barack Obama on the issue of “right to return”? What is his position on helping former Black residents return to their homes? Why hasn't Obama called for a massive infrastructure spending bill for the lower ninth ward? As the #BlackLivesMatter movement gains more and more political influence why hasn't the President called for laws that would radically reform law enforcement? Or even encourage the next President to do so. Maybe it is too soon for him to make any suggestions to a potential successor and perhaps being a lame duck it doesn’t make much sense to embark on radical legislation. But what does he have to lose? I am not naïve; I know the political barriers facing this President, but he has seemed so impotent on issues that directly affect Black people and his hands very well may be tied on a lot of things. But what does that say about America and our state of affairs? Kanye West was right George Bush didn't care about Black people but maybe that was because "America" wouldn't let him.. - J-Didda PS: This was not a “Bishop Is Crossing” OP-ED I know I haven't "crossed” in a few weeks been busy but one is coming this week so stay tuned.