Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Crushing On Yeezy And Hating On Michelle?

villagevoice |  Conservatives raging at a comedian who hurt their feelings, as they did over White House Correspondents’ Dinner entertainer Michelle Wolf last weekend, is pretty much standard behavior for the folks who think everyone else is the snowflake. But the spectacle of white right-wingers rejoicing over the recent pro-Trump ravings of Kanye West may confuse you, especially considering they probably know him more for his many public self-embarrassments than for his music. Why would members of a white revanchist movement fawn over a black rapper who famously said George W. Bush didn’t care about African Americans?

Well, for one thing, conservatives conveniently abandoned Bush years ago. For another, it all makes more sense when you consider their historic lack of popularity with black people and their weird jealousy over it.

Even if you only casually follow politics, you know that since the days of Nixon’s Southern strategy Republicans have had a contentious relationship with people of color. This has only gotten worse under Donald Trump, a hyper-obvious racist whose rants about Colin Kaepernick and John Lewis, not to mention his treatment of Mexicans, Muslims, and Puerto Ricans, have helped speed the GOP’s conversion into the White People’s Party.

Thanks to gerrymanders and white rage, Republicans have so far been able to hold their majorities just fine without black support, so it’s fair to assume they feel about black votes the way James Baker felt about the votes of Jews. But the conservatives who use the GOP as a host body are more conflicted.

On the one hand, many conservatives reflexively portray blacks as violent thugs who must be subdued by militarized police, particularly right after a racially charged news story has engaged their lizard brains, or if they are Heather Mac Donald.

On the other hand, conservatives seem genuinely hurt and confused when black people call them names like “white supremacist.” You can see this most clearly in their annual aggrieved Martin Luther King Jr. Day essays in which they either try to claim MLK as one of their own (“King’s Orthodox Christianity is one of those inconvenient truths that a lot of people on the left tend to ignore” — Da Tech Guy) or tell black people to stop persecuting them with their contempt (“MLK Day proposal: Give the race card a rest” — Michelle Malkin).

Sure, white conservatives applaud when Charles Murray tells them black people are their intellectual inferiors, but in their view that’s just science (and free speech!), not anything to take personally. And anyway, it’s the liberals who are the Real Racists, keeping blacks enslaved on what conservatives like to call the “Democratic plantation,” from which conservatives only want to rescue them by ending affirmative action and food stamps, which will give them the bootstraps they need to succeed.

Yet despite this helpful hectoring, most blacks keep voting Democratic, so conservatives sulk and brood, only occasionally brightening when a black celebrity says something that can be charitably interpreted as right-wing. Bill Cosby, with his pull-up-your-pants shtick, was their go-to for years, but for obvious reasons you see much less of that now. Chris Rock is their usual backup; here’s National Review’s Kyle Smith kvelling, “When he speaks about the destructiveness of porn he sounds like Ross Douthat.” (And I thought I was the only one who found Douthat hilarious!)

So when West busted out his pro-Trump tweets last week, notwithstanding that he also said, “I haven’t done enough research on conservatives to call myself or be called one,” the brethren were juiced. Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell are all well and good, but here was a black guy ordinary people had actually heard of and could stand to listen to!

Also, West wasn’t just saying things that could be read, if one squinted and had had a few drinks, as conservative policy statements. In fact, West didn’t stipulate any conservative policies that he approved of. (I’m not sure he knows what they are.) Yeezy was just saying out loud, in a variety of peculiar ways, that he loved Trump and his dragon energy.