(May 2nd, 2018)
In recent days, rapper Kanye West has made news across political lines. After a dramatic shift in ideology, the rapper came out in support of Donald Trump. In the TMZ news room, he remarked that 400 years of enslavement for blacks in America sounds like a choice. For Jews this was a line of thinking that did not feel foreign as some have blamed the Jews for not fighting back in the Holocaust. The “sheep to the slaughter” trope is a topic we have explored extensively in class. In one of the posts here on the blog, we saw how the Holocaust is being invoked in the gun control movement and counter-movement. Some have remarked that if Jews had not handed over their guns, the Holocaust would not have happened.
In response to a headline reading “The Holocaust is to Jews as Slavery is to blacks” , British comedian David Baddiel, who has a Twitter following of 526,000, tweeted “So. Just a heads up, Kanye: that wasn’t a choice, either”. Regardless of the fact that Kayne West has, by some accounts, gone off the deep end, the larger issue is that he is not alone in his line of thought. The conversations surrounding these posts were full of people saying that they would have fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising or revolted in a manner similar to the nation of Haiti. In truth, arguments such as these are intellectually lazy. These arguments do not account for the fact that in both the Holocaust and Slavery, the victims were often in unfamiliar places, among unfamiliar languages, and unarmed.