Kanye’s Anti-Semitic Language Is Harmful

Ancient Philosopher Denounces Kanye’s Actions

The following article was written by Sara Gelven for her Humanities class.

It’s no question that Kanye West has been beyond out of control. Don’t try to make any excuses about his past or who he is, no one can act like this. There’s a variety of reasons why his plethora of comments and actions against Jews is harmful. But what we need to talk about is why—after he’s been dropped by Adidas and Balenciaga and condemned by Skechers and TJ Maxx – people are still praising him and listening to his music.

It all came to light on October 6th, when Kanye joined Tucker Carlson on FOX News. During his interview, Kanye sprinkled in various anti-Semitic conspiracies—ranging from that Planned Parenthood was created to control the Jewish population, to kids learning about Hanukkah would only be beneficial due to the possibility of “financial engineering”. But it didn’t stop there, for the next few days, Kanye posted on multiple social media platforms about how Jews are controlling, and that he plans to go “Defcon 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” It may seem easy to brush these attacks off and forget that it ever happened. But these words have quickly instigated many extremist actions. Just weeks into his tirade, a banner was hung over a Los Angeles freeway. It read “Kanye Was Right,” and people stood over it, holding a salute to Hitler. These people weren’t joking. They thoroughly believed that Jews should be killed, and Kanye is telling them it’s okay to go on.

People often make the argument to “separate the artist from the art.” While that can be okay regarding a rude celebrity, it shouldn’t be applied to multimillion dollar celebrities that use their platforms to spread harmful claims about harmless groups of people. A treasured text, The Enchiridion of Epictetus, reminds us that the things “under our control are conception, choice, desire, aversion;” people cannot control how Kanye acts. The public will remember who continued to accept Kanye’s actions, and when he does something unforgivable, they will not forget.

Some argue that Jews deserve this treatment. Even thousands of years ago, the timeless Epictetus said that people’s actions are not the reason for your distaste of them, but your distaste itself. “It is not the things themselves that disturb men, but their judgment about these things.” Kanye is projecting his own troubles and unhappiness onto Jewish people. He has been unable to give a true negative experience to explain why he has this feeling.  Instead, he claims that Jews have hurt him, without any real description of what has happened.

Kanye West’s words are harmful and dangerous. None of us have the power to contain him, so we all have to stand against his claims. Stop listening to his music, even streaming it online can give him a source of income. Don’t buy or wear his clothes with Adidas or GAP—the companies themselves don’t want the public buying any of it, so they took it all off the shelves. And most importantly, make sure you stay in touch with your Jewish friends. Ask them what you can do to help. The best thing we can do is stay together.