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Ye’s antisemitic comments are harmful beyond the Twitter-sphere

Once again Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, is in the news for spewing harmful extremist rhetoric. A week or so ago, Ye posted on Twitter that he was going to go “death con 3” on Jewish people and that Jewish people have an “agenda.” Naturally, this caused Ye to be banned from the platform which further empowered him to continue acting erratically. On Oct. 17, Ye entered into an agreement to purchase the radical right-wing social media site Parler. The current CEO of the platform noted how Ye is making a “groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again” by joining Parler and planning to purchase it. 

Ye’s recent actions are extremely concerning and can cause real-life harm to those he is talking about. On top of his radical antisemitism, Ye has been sharing comments about George Floyd, the Black man killed by police excessive force in 2020. Ye claimed after watching a Candace Owens documentary on Floyd that he didn’t die from police violence, but from fentanyl during an appearance on the podcast “Drink Champs.” Floyd’s family consequently began drafting a cease and desist letter to present to Ye, as the family has experienced a significant loss due to the reality of anti-Black police violence in America, and subsequent trauma from the death being publicized and used as an example of sorts. 

Having such a well-loved public figure claim the death of George Floyd wasn’t due to police violence but fentanyl instead perpetuates the criminalization of Black men and the use of excessive force. Ye also has pushed further into acting out against the Black Lives Matter movement by wearing a shirt with the phrase “White Lives Matter” during Paris Fashion Week. 

It’s clear that Ye’s mental illness likely isn’t making this situation better, but being bipolar isn’t a cause of becoming a radical right-wing extremist. Antisemitism doesn’t go hand in hand with mania, and Ye is showing his true colors beyond being able to blame his mental illness. Ever since around 2016, Ye has fallen into the trap of conservatism and has only gone deeper and deeper into the delusion and violent rhetoric that is central to the ideology. 

In 2020, Ye called COVID-19 vaccines the “mark of the beast” and noted that “they want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things, to make it where we can’t cross the gates of heaven.” Ye’s combination of religion and extremism is particularly dangerous as his rhetoric is as emotionally charged it can get when he uses words like “demonic” to describe Lizzo’s body positivity alongside airing out his anti-abortion stance. 

Ye’s connections to Black extremist Louis Farrakhan explain some of his takes being connected to Black Hebrew Israelite talking points including the idea that Black individuals are the only “real” Jewish people and that the “fake” ones are trying to control the non-Jewish population. With this comes Ye’s claim that he cannot be antisemitic because he identifies as Jewish. 

While I am neither Black nor Jewish, I am concerned about how public Ye’s turn to extremist views has been. Anti-semitic hate crimes in the United States hit an all-time high last year, with a 34% increase from the year prior. The NYPD reported 24 hate crimes against Jewish people in the city in the month of August 2022 alone, a 118% increase from last year. With antisemitism on the rise, Ye’s words and actions have a real impact on Jewish people across America.

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