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Opinion: Focus More On Facts, Not On Kanye

Kanye+West+during+his+live+at+TMZ+studios.
Kanye West during his live at TMZ studios.

Kanye West during his live at TMZ studios.

Kanye West during his live at TMZ studios.

We, as U.S. citizens, have the right to express our opinions. It’s written in our constitution and it’s one of the things that puts this country far ahead the rest. We will always have thoughts that are opposite of each other and need to be able to civilly debate differing points of view.

Even though we are able to say anything we want, for the most part, there is a standard. These ideas should be based in fact, first. We are living in a time where false information is peddled through all mediums in order to influence the way we think. And it’s working. It has become harder and harder to decipher between a false story and a real story without doing some research yourself. In addition, this false information is taking advantage of certain human characteristics to push whatever message they’re trying to get across.  

This week, Kanye West made waves with an Instagram post where he was sporting a red Make America Great Again hat which sent his fans into a social media frenzy. He then had an interview with TMZ where he spoke about our society’s current state of mind and attempted to explain where the hate and vitriol is coming from is today’s sociopolitical climate. He made great points. He sometimes made no sense. He sometimes rambled into another tangent, but one of his point was clear: Slavery “sounded like a choice.”  

As much as I like Kanye as a person, the offending statement he made was simply not based in fact. And this is dangerous. Kanye has the right to say anything he wants but he must think about the position he is in. He has the power to influence a large group of people who have the ability to spread this information, true or not.

Yet I have to disagree with Kanye, completely. Slavery was not a choice no matter how you try to justify it. Removing people of any race, color or religion from their homes, transporting them in completely inhumane conditions to a foreign land to forcibly perform manual labor in extreme temperatures while also being raped, abused, and beaten to death is something that most, if not all, people believe was barbaric. It did not matter how many slaves there were, this was something that was completely out of their control and the owners made sure that this was the case.

He does makes a few good point about our minds being “enslaved.” I wouldn’t use the word enslaved but we, as a society, tend to follow certain trends in order to feel included in various groups. In a nutshell, he wants us to be able to express ourselves, to say what’s on our minds without fear of retribution from society.

While I do agree with this, again, there is a standard. These ideas must be based in fact, first. Not emotion. Emotion is a powerful way to influence people but emotions can cloud judgment. He wants us to be able to debate and be open to opposing views rather than sticking to our guns because of simply how we feel. He thinks our stubbornness to changing our minds is what fuels the hate and vitriol that surrounds us all.

These days, we have influential figures in various industries (entertainment, politics, etc.) that are sharing more of what’s on their mind, away from their respective industries. These ideas tend to ride on how the audience feels rather than what the audience knows and that will be a major obstacle to get over. 

We constantly have a barrage of misinformation based in emotion, among other things used to manipulate us, rather than fact. A lot of times, we can’t even tell it’s happening. I think that we must take it upon ourselves to make sure the information we take in is accurate. I wouldn’t say not to give these offenders a platform. Everyone in entitled to their own opinion, just like Kanye. What we aren’t entitled to is our own facts. At the same time, I agree with a few of his points. We, as human beings, need to be able to debate opposing thoughts without hating the other person and/or wanting to harm them.

 

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