If you live anywhere on the planet with a news outlet or internet connection, you have seen the storm caused by famous rapper Kanye West after he tweeted an anti-Semitic statement that cost him big. His comments have sparked outrage among his peers in Hollywood as many were quick to rebuke his statement. Adidas has dropped all ties with him along with Balenciaga and JP Morgan. According to Forbes, this tremendous financial loss will cost him his billionaire status.
Why should we care what he says? Kanye himself claims to struggle with his mental health, maybe this is just the rantings of someone who has lost their mind? When has verbal anti-Semitism gone too far? Will tweeting out to millions of followers, result in violence? Cancel culture has been quick and influential in isolating Kanye, but is it an effective and reliable way to deal with anti-Semitism? The swift, zero-tolerance response that resounded throughout the media is commendable and shows how far we have come, but is it enough?
The consequences are real
Last month’s commemoration of the 11 people murdered in the Pittsburg Synagogue massacre reminds us all of anti-Semitism’s very real and painful cost. Is it just hate speech or will it escalate to something more serious? In a world where the holocaust is being denied, Israel is being demonized and celebrities feel confident to use hate speech on public platforms, what responsibility do we have to stop this?
The questions may seem bigger than the answers, and anti-Semitism’s long and bitter history will not end by canceling Kanye. As a global community, we all need to be ready to stand up against any form of hate speech. We were too late with Kanye. He needed to be canceled a long time ago when he denied the slavery and suffering of his people.
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Photo credit: AJ Colores