Being a crotchety old white racist and all, I don’t mind admitting that I thought Kanye West and Jay-Z were the same person until a week ago.
It doesn’t help that both of these black hip-hop “geniuses” are hooked up with omnipresent big-butted superstars Kim Kardashian and BeyoncÃ©, respectively. I haven’t intentionally listened to any new music since the second Clinton Administration, so I’m forced to assume both men churn out that same monotonous booming racket, shot through with corrosive ghetto braggadocio, which white liberals have been hailing as “brilliant” and “boundary pushing” since late last century.
Now, though, on the off chance I ever need to identify who’s who (perhaps in a police-station lineup), I can remind myself that Kanye is the one who sells Confederate flag tour merch.
That this same fellow equates himself with Jesus on his new album seems barely worth mentioning. Lily-white John Lennon (sort of) beat him to it back when Kanye was just a gleam in his ex-Black Panther father’s eye. No, in our secular culture, “racism” is the new blasphemy. What a red cape is to a bull, the Confederate flag is to bullshit.
Take the case of Hillbilly Heaven. As its name suggests, this late lamented BBQ joint in my Canadian hometown had a “Southern” theme, right down to the Confederate flag over the front door.
Now, when I was growing up there, Hamilton had maybe two dozen black people, all Caribbean. When Hillbilly Heaven hit the headlines, however, I was shocked to learn that the city had once been “a refuge for those fleeing to Canada on the Underground Railroad.“
And boy, were the “descendants” of these “refugees” and their white liberal pet-owners angry about that restaurant sign. They even mused about taking the owner to one of those delightful Canadian Human Rights Tribunals you may have heard tell of. After making a bunch of laudably defiant noises, Hillbilly Heaven caved in and painted over the sign.
Every day I thank God for making Canada too cold for cotton. Being blessedly free of all that tedious slavery (carpet)baggage means a glimpse of the Stars and Bars just makes me hum “Free Bird,” not “Dixie.” Indeed, literally right across the street from Hillbilly Heaven, there’s a T-shirt store/head shop that’s been in business since I was a kid, still displaying “rebel” flag Lynyrd Skynyrd cigarette lighters in its front window, beside the dusty Rasta doodads and pot-leafed drug paraphernalia. Oddly enough, Hamilton’s latter-day lunch-counter sitter-inners have never complained about that “racist” arrangement.
Anyhow, Kanye’s alibi for sticking Confederate imagery all over his pricey T-shirts and tote bags is one no liberal can argue with in good conscience, given its long and respected history: the “I’m reclaiming it“ excuse. Hey, it worked for “nigger” and “queer,” right? (Chicago-raised Kanye is not even the first rapper to “reclaim” a flag that never belonged to him in the first place”Southern-based acts such as Outkast and Lil Jon already beat him to it.)