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Kanye West and the Intellectual Plantation

By Tyler Bauer

What if I told you that President Trump called a rapper a “token negro,” said this rapper “is what happens when negroes don’t read,” and implied the rapper can’t be taken seriously because he has mental health issues?

Well, President Trump didn’t say that . . . but CNN did.


Kanye West – the man whose political career includes that time he awkwardly said, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” – has become an outspoken supporter of President Trump. This has been met with a unified response of disgust and hatred by anyone left of center.

“Uncle Tom.”

“Trump’s Lil Cookie Boy.”

“Kanye West has set us back 155 years.”

The Data

Since the Great Depression, blacks have been one of the Democratic Party’s most loyal demographic groups. According to Pew Research Center, about 80% of blacks support the Democratic Party, while only 11% of blacks support the Republican Party. Among all demographic groups, blacks are the most strongly Democratic.

Kanye West’s support of a Republican, combined with his skin color, makes him an interesting case where the intersection of race and politics didn’t quite go as expected. Add to this his popularity, and he is perhaps the most prominent black Trump supporter, which draws praise from the right and disdain from the left.

The (Almost) Monolith and the Intellectual Plantation

As Pew’s data show, blacks are as close to a voting monolith as we see in American politics. The near-unanimity of Democrat-identifying blacks makes it all the more noticeable when a non-Democratic black is outed. The popularity of the Democratic Party among blacks – as well as the reaction to blacks who don’t identify as Democrats – has led to the creation of the following term: the intellectual plantation.

The term “intellectual plantation” refers to the near-monopoly Democrats have on the black community’s political ideologies. In this analogy, the rather than the plantation (the Democratic Party and the left as a whole) controlling a black person’s freedom, work, etc., the plantation controls a black person’s politics. When a black person – such as Kanye West – leaves the Democratic Party (the plantation), he or she is punished for running away (much like a runaway slave would be). Admittedly, comparing slavery to party identification is apples to oranges, but the way in which the Democratic Party feels entitled to a black person’s vote is reminiscent to the way a plantation owner felt entitled to a black person’s labor.

This is exactly where Kanye went wrong – he left the plantation. Now that he’s a runaway, he has to be punished for siding with the opposition. He made the choice to own himself and think for himself, which angers the members of the intellectual plantation. As soon as he left, he was degraded by those who once sided with him. By thinking for himself, he earned the ire of the entire left, which branded him as crazed, stupid, and an “attention whore.”

.        .        .

All of this is because Kanye West had the audacity to be an individual and have an original thought. You don’t have to agree with Kanye’s politics, but don’t call him – or anyone, for that matter – a “token negro” and say he set the country back to 1863 just because he supports the other party.

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