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First, Kanye loses his billionaire status in a day because of antisemitic comments he made. A few days later, Kyrie Irving is suspended from five NBA games without pay and having to apologize for sharing an image of a documentary with anti-semetic rhetoric on Twitter.
I’m not even going to pretend like I truly understand the depth of what’s happening–why anti-semitism is on the rise or why Ye and Kyrie have so much to say about it. Nor am I going to cape for hurtful or divisive rhetoric of any kind, including antisemitism.
But what I do know is, two Black men are suffering the same fate as other outspoken Black people throughout history–being silenced and disempowered by any means necessary. In fact, we can call this a prime example of modern day buck-breaking.
During slavery, buck-breaking was the alleged act of publicly beating or sexually sodomizing Black enslaved men by white men to emasculate, punish, assert control and compliance, and discourage uprisings from other captives.
Evidence of buck-breaking?
In a retweet shared by Tariq Nasheed, he highlighted the use of “slave master language” by Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, stating that Kyrie Irving has been “put in his place quickly” after hopping on the trend of being antisemitic.
“Put in his place?”
What kind of slave master talk is that?
The anti-Black agenda is not even being hidden here https://t.co/OtDEid82YV
— Tariq Nasheed ?? (@tariqnasheed) November 4, 2022
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., el–Hajj Malik el–Shabazz (Malcolm X), and Fred Hampton were all murdered for being outspoken leaders in the Black community. Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Fanie Lou Hamer were either jailed, exiled or beaten for their radical stances.
Even well renowned authors like Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison have had their voices lynched in classrooms and libraries across the country for writing true narratives of Black lives in America.
The same is happening to Kyrie and Ye except their lynchings look different.
The public shame is an attempt to cancel and shut them up, a form of punishment and control. Forced apologies and fines as a show of compliance (because let’s be real, if they said what they said, they meant it and they’re not truly sorry for it). And when those tactics aren’t enough, you break them by taking their power which is what we see in stripping them of their wealth.
Unequal responses to anti-semitism
In contrast, we all know of white men who have made similar or worse antisemitic comments but haven’t come close to experiencing the wrath felt by Irving and Ye.
People want to know why Jeff Bezos isn’t catching the same if not as much heat as Kyrie Irving. Because, as it stands, Amazon’s platform is housing and profiting off the documentary that Irving shared on his Twitter account. Is the company not responsible for sharing anti-semitic materials, too?
Ex-President Donald Trump has said the most vile things ever heard in history, including making a slew of anti-semitic remarks and aligning himself with anit-semitic leaders. Even recently, the White House had to release a statement condemning comments he said about Jewish people.
Has Trump lost money for the garbage he’s spewed over the years? Yes. But with this extensive track record, have companies parted ways with him specifically because of his anti-semitic comments? I can’t find anything on the internet that says so.
Actor Mel Gibson has been called out several times for racism and anti-semitism but he’s never been canceled.
Billionaire Henry Ford was a known antisemitist who fueled antisemitism in the United States. In 1920, he purchased a newspaper and began publishing a weekly series called “The International Jew: The World’s Problem”. Did Ford Motor Company suffer from him spreading hate? Nope.
Accountability shouldn’t be hypocritical
And even Hall of Fame Quarterback Brett Favre has made anti-semitic comments. Back in 2018, he was paid and supposedly duped into recording a video for white supremacists.
Although Brett claimed he was sickened at the time, I now find it hard to believe that he had no idea what he was saying given his current role in stealing money intended for welfare recipients in Mississippi. It seems that he’ll do anything for a check.
White privilege is Brett Favre not being canceled by @Nike, Snapper, Remington, @Sears, Prilosec, @Sensodyne_US, @Mastercard, @Wrangler, @bergstromauto, @Hyundai, or @CopperFit for his role in a $70 million fraud scheme and stealing $5 million from poor Black children in MS.
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) October 26, 2022
So this isn’t a conversation about who’s right and who’s wrong or an attempt to deflect. Because as someone who’s tried to hold grace for Ye in the past, I’m done with homie. Standing in a “white lives matter” t-shirt with Candace “Black Karen” Owens at his Paris fashion show was the last straw for me.
But, this is a conversation about injustices within injustices with a longstanding tradition to stifle Black voices regardless of stance and a track record of biased accountability. If we want to be proactive in suppressing all forms of hate then we have to be honest about history, intentional in action and non-discriminate in accountability.
While I disagree with how Kyrie and Ye are being treated and definitely see the antisemitism accusations as a large witch hunt, I have to pushback with the parallels drawn here because you’re comparing a multi-billionaire and former president to an NBA player. The reason they don’t get cancelled is because of the power of money, not because of privilege. It’s still an inequity, but PLENTY of people were calling out Trump, but he had the power to absorb it and redirect it.
I think the issue that should be addressed here is how cancel culture in general affects athletes. It’s not just antisemitism, it’s anything deemed controversial. These professional organizations don’t want to offend their viewer base, so they lock down their players and silence them from speaking anything controversial. Actors are free to express their opinions because they aren’t representing an organization, they just represent themselves. But for some reason, athletes are tied to their organizations. People need to stop treating players like mindless characters in a game and realize they have opinions and that you can simultaneously watch them play sports while disagreeing with their opinions.
I’m glad I kept reading til the end because I agree with Ms. Peeples’ core argument. Black men are unquestionably treated and referred to differently than others who offer controversial views; this shouldn’t be a surprise. The question for me though, is how do we – as black people who see the danger and limited reasoning of these antisemitic statements – effectively deal with this particular strain of conspiracy theories, the ones that weave in black liberation thought in order to appeal to us? Neither Kyrie nor Kanye have spent enough time & energy to understand the theories and hypotheses they’re repacking for wide distribution to our youth and masses. This stuff damages the minds of OUR people as much as it offends jews. They need to be held accountable for THAT; not stepping out of whatever place others outside our community believe they should stay in.
“In contrast, we all know of white men who have made similar or worse antisemitic comments but haven’t come close to experiencing the wrath felt by Irving and Ye.”
That’s not true and everyone knows it. You can’t criticize jewish people or you will get fired. Many powerful white people were fired from media/entertainment jobs or forced to apologize like Marlon Brando and Pat Buchanan were went they criticized jewish people. Black celebrities criticize white people in general all the time and nothing happens. But say “jewish” and you get punished. Everyone can see this pattern.
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