It’s not a matter of Republicans and Democrats, but of conservatives and liberals. Kanye West has chosen to stand with the conservatives. The Deep South was the Democratic “Solid South” from the end of Reconstruction until Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” began the Deep South’s shift to become the strongest base of the Republican party. In other words, while the Deep South has shifted from one party to the other, it has always been the most conservative region of the nation.

In Shaw, Mississippi there was only one doctor’s office. It had two entrances. Above one entrance was a marble sign with the word “WHITE” in inch-deep chiseled letters, and above the other entrance was a sign identical in every way except that the word was “COLORED”. Both signs were painted completely over with a Kelly green, but paint doesn’t hide inch-deep chiseled letters so well. The signs were plainly visible, and the townspeople obeyed them.

This was in 1984, twenty years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act that made such signs strictly illegal. I saw the signs while I was on home on leave from the Navy. If I’d had half a brain and any heart at all, I would have called up Time Magazine…but I didn’t. Why? Because to me (and to everyone else in Shaw), it was normal. The racism was (and is) so thick in the Mississippi Delta that you can cut it with a knife (and yes, like my family and every other white I knew, I was a part of it).

I wish I could get Mr. West to go with me down to the Delta and get him to stay there for about a year, that he might learn that slavery and Jim Crow were never a choice for African Americans, and that by his embrace of Trump and conservatism, he’s not helping his own people, but is instead enabling the racists who to his face are so grateful for his help and for his “broad-mindedness”…but who, as soon as he’s out of earshot, are laughing at his sheer naivete, and who would use and dispose of him without a second thought, just as Simon Legree did Uncle Tom.

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Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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