I get it.
No, really. I do. Trust me.
Kanye West is not the easiest person to like. Or defend. His main contribution to our culture — his music — has become increasingly bizarre and inaccessible. His public words — interviews, tweets, speeches at Pusha T record release parties, etc — somehow manage to vacillate between ridiculous, obnoxious, ridiculously obnoxious, and obnoxiously ridiculous. He also somehow manages to be both socially awkward refuge and attention whore. Oh, and he is currently engaged to our country’s patron paragon of vapidity; one of the only American women who matches him in both fame and the level of immediate visceral distaste they induce.
I haven’t even mentioned Kanye’s peculiar relationship with race. And how he manages to use both Black and White women as props and proxies in his music. (I guess I just did mention it. But I won’t continue.)
(For those of you who don't read the gossip blogs—or watch national news—Kim was allegedly called a "nigger lover" by an 18-year-old White man at a Los Angeles doctors office. The accused also screamed at and berated the reality star before being punched by her fiance.)
So, I get the urge to dismiss what reportedly happened to him and his fiancee as some sort of comeuppance. Or a publicity stunt. Or maybe you don’t think it was a form of comeuppance or a publicity stunt, but since you just don’t like Kanye and/or Kim, you heard the news and was amused by it. Maybe you even thought it was funny.
I also get the urge to dismiss Kanye as a hypocrite. I mean, he did create a song called “Niggas in Paris.” And he is attempting to “re-brand” the Confederate flag. And, I mean, he is engaged to a White woman. So if touchy race-related subjects didn’t seem to bother him then, why should he allow a simple “nigger-lover” to bother him now?
But, while I guess I get those urges, if you allow your personal distaste for Kanye and/or Kim to dismiss the fact that what (reportedly) happened to them was very wrong and somehow disregard the fact that their apparent response was very normal human one, you — with all due respect — are stupid.
Actually, let me rephrase that. Perhaps you are not stupid. I’m willing to concede that. But you are acting stupidly. And you are doing a great impression of a stupid person.
You could reasonably argue that Kanye overreacted. You could also make a reasonable argument that a woman who knows her man is volatile should do everything in her power to diffuse potential confrontations. But even then, you can not dismiss the natural human elements at play here. And you especially can not allow your feelings about celebrity to dismiss them.
There is nothing strange or un-understandable about a man coming to the defense of his woman after she was insulted and physically threatened. And, when you include the racial element — Kim was reportedly called a “nigger-lover” — it becomes even more understandable. Was he right to do that? Maybe. Maybe not. Right “in the moment” and right “from a distance” are two different types of rights. And, as much as we want to theorize or speculate about what they should have done, moments requiring an immediate fight or flight response have a way of overriding logic.
And, speaking of logic, for those who feel like Kanye and Kim’s interracial relationship somehow gives people a pass to hurl racial insults at them, do you realize how unlogical you sound? Do you realize you’re arguing that racial epithets should only hurt people who live a life you’ve deemed racially palatable? That, since Kim Kardashian has a history of dating Black men, it’s somehow ok to call her a nigger-lover?
I’m not suggesting that what happened to Kanye and Kim is the type of wrong that should make us picket, petition, and protest. (I think they’ll be fine.) But, what’s the point of all the picketing, petitioning, and protesting if we arbitrarily decide that if a Black person doesn’t live the way you want them to live, it’s open season for Whites to say or do anything to them?
I do get it though. Neither Kanye nor Kim are easy people to like or defend. But what’s right is right, even if it involves someone you really want to be wrong.