link You're the Best, Kanye West “9”

Tell it like it is, brutha.

I've only just seen the clip of the hands-down fantastic Kanye West talking on an NBC fundraiser.

It was clear that he abandoned the auto-cue and just went all-out to say some very important words which I think evade many of the citizens of America, especially during election times.

He said "George Bush does not care about black people.", among other things.

You can download the amazing clip and see for yourself.

Is he right? Well, I see no solid evidence to the contrary. He is, after all, a cowboy. Texans don't like blacks. It's an unfortunate stereotype, but in a conservative state with history like that, you must admit that a good number of white middle-aged men will foster such views.

I personally have a very strong feeling that Bush simply doesn't really care about all of those black people dying, but is only really acting (reluctantly) because of the criticism (or chance of impeachment?)

If you happen to be a conservative American and are reading this thinking, 'how can he possibly say that?' or just plain 'what?', I would like to point out that the news you watch or read in times like this is quite unlikely to tell the important stories behind such a tragedy. On the record cast I linked to a BBC Radio 4 podcast where you can hear some of that for yourself. There's plenty of it to go around, and I do wonder how much airtime it's getting in the US. Certainly on stations like Fox News.

This whole event is nothing short of a shame, especially because it's a man-made disaster.

I will hold back for now for sake of respect, but I can see the facade of free, equal, rich America falling fast. As one reporter said the other day, this hurricane has uncovered an ugly part of America, a secret shame if you will.

However, you haven't excatly been having a good few years...

9 Comments ~ Post a Comment

Anonymous Kyle Adams: Rather interesting, considering the praise Mayor Nagin (black) has been giving President Bush. Personally I think Kanye stepped over the line, speculating about something very few know anything about (the heart of another person). One final note: I've been reading most of the major Katrina-related blogs, I've listened to BBC and NPR, so don't think I'm somehow ignorant of the stuff going on in New Orleans.

Blogger Fin: A short glance at Wikipedia tells me that Nagin likes to switch parties quite a bit. Nothing wrong with that, but he has supported Bush before and I might expect he is watching what he says for fear of being removed.

Kanye enlisted one of your rights to speak his mind. I do expect he is voicing a large opinion by doing so; it can't just be Kanye and I who think this.

Specifically, Fox News is likely to gloss over the cold, hard truth of New Orleans. NPR does, I believe, appear left of centre in its content, so I would expect more rigorous reporting on their part.

And now it seems that Bush HIMSELF is to investigate what went wrong!


Blogger Leon: Kanye West expressed his opinion which he is entitled to.

I think the American govt. was caught off guard by the hurricane and it based many of its actions on foreign response times - ie - it takes x amount of time to send aid to Africa (for example). Something of this magnitude affecting areas beyond the 'diaster area' threw everything out of whack.

The Bush administration erred in its initial appraisal of the situation. I hope they are better prepared if there is another terrorist attack.

Free, equal, rich? - one thing that disasters do is reveal these illusions whether in Canada, America, or the UK. The difference between the "First" and "Third Worlds" is that more of us live within the illusion and call it democracy.

Blogger W.C. Varones: Oh, man! I had it all wrong. Kanye West is a comedic genius.

Anonymous Kyle Adams: I'm not begruddging Kanye his right to free speech. Just because someone can express their opinion doesn't make said opinion wise, informed, or accurate. Especially when opining about where another man's heart is.

Secondly, this talk about the Bush administration erring or being slow in the initial assessment is a bit premature and naive. There are still too many unanswered questions because, quite frankly, there are more important things to take care of right now.

Once the survivors have been rescued and cared for, we can begin looking at the response and identifying the bottlenecks. The Bush administration can not be blamed if there was any slow response on the part of Governor Blanco. Nor should Mayor Ragin (who did an excellent job at the hellraising necessary to get folks moving post-disaster) escape inspection; for example, what happened to the city-owned buses that were supposed to be used in an evacuation situation like this?

One thing that many folks outside the U.S. frequently miss is the way things like this are supposed to work (especially with a Republican federal government). Local government is the first line of response for dealing with local disasters. If they're overwhelmed, it trickles up to state, then federal. It seems like most folks outside the U.S. expect things to work from the top down, but that's just not the way we do things over here. Especially in the South (we fought a war over that).

For the record, I despise Fox News and I find it insulting that leaning left would somehow result in better news coverage. There is much to be said for moderation...

Blogger Fin: Kanye's opinion came from deep down, and it's not quite something which can be factual because it is about how someone else feels. But it's an opinion which is shared, and one which has never been aired on TV before. Just because it's not something you're used to hearing doesn't mean you should dismiss it as rubbish; it's a foolish move to ignore people's feelings.

Nothing is premature about this criticism; it needs to be applied if the man is to do anything. I am sure response would be slower if he wasn't under international pressure.

Bush can most certainly take criticism for the slow response of his team. He is your grand leader, and if he is unable to have support move to aid victims quickly enough, especially if he is aware there might be problems. He could have at LEAST come off of his vacation to be ready for such an event. I hear that he was holidaying it up while New Orleans was getting battered. Great way to be there for your people, that.

The bottom line is that the USA is the most powerful, rich country in the world and it can't move to minimise a natural disaster.



Now George is about to investigate himself (an unbelievable statement) and make others below him resign to make him look good. In situations like this, decent people resign and apologise.

Blogger Kevin: By the way, the American media have been covering the race issue since the Thursday after the storm. We're not morons.
I have to say, however, that the most ignorant thing I have ever heard an intelligent person say about this issue is the following:
"The bottom line is that the USA is the most powerful, rich country in the world and it can't move to minimise a natural disaster."
Minimise a natural disaster? Do you hear yourself?
People were told they needed to evacuate. Some did not. Those that did not seek shelter were injured, trapped, or killed. Sometimes, there truly was no recourse for them. Many times, they just didn't try hard enough to seek it out because no-one realised they would need to! No one could have devised a short-notice solution to the levee breaks. Nobody knew for certain where the hurricane would hit the hardest.
What did you want the government to do? Forcibly remove people? Threaten to forclose upon their houses (right before the were destroyed)? Deploy units in an area ABOUT TO BE HIT BY A HURRICANE? Does that make sense? Where the relief would be destroyed and therefore unable to provide any of the said relief?
I guess the question is: what qualifies you to make these observations? Do you understand American politics entirely? Do you have an intricate knowledge of emergency coordination?
Is there anything that qualifies your opinions except for their existence?
I might do well to ask myself the same once in a while.

Blogger Fin: I understand that sounds a little stupid, and I was thinking for other ways of saying this quickly, but what I was on about is minimising the aftermath of the whole thing.

The Katrina thingy is one part natural disaster and one part man-made disaster.

You are right, natural disasters are often hard to combat, bur man-made disasters are not.

Opinion or no, the man-made part of this could have been minimised. It really could have!

Surely enough it would be wrong to send in people before the whole thing, but you don't need to wait five days to start getting people out of there.

I do, however, understand that some people wanted to say. Sure. I can see why, living in a place where hurricanes come all the time people must get complacent. But that is no reason to think that once people have said they want to sit out the storm, they don't need to get out of there afterwards, certainly if it got a bit worse just before it hit.


Let's just not.

There's more writing on these comments than there is in two months of my blog!

Blogger Kevin: You know, I realized that afterwards.
And kicked myself for my quasi-emotional response. It's just the world seems to think they understand America's problem.
Actually, the following paragraph (the most possibly inflammatory) was meant to be directed towards the American media:
"I guess the question is: what qualifies you to make these observations? Do you understand American politics entirely? Do you have an intricate knowledge of emergency coordination?
Is there anything that qualifies your opinions except for their existence?"
A re-read reveals that that is liable to misunderstanding.

Anyway, that was all just a rash reaction to you saying "brutha". It's just irreconciable with that British accent of yours. ;-)

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