Kanye and Trump
Credit: Choose Trend/flickr

I didn’t write about Kanye West’s visit with Trump and a whole gaggle of reporters because, frankly, the rapper’s unhinged rant was an embarrassment to everyone involved. But I am interested in what Trump and his enablers are trying to accomplish by giving one African American supporter of the president such a high profile. It triggered exactly the kind of reaction they were looking for from the media and gave conservatives like Michael Goodwin an excuse to write things like this:

Any dissent from the ruling coercive liberalism might be contagious, and therefore must be silenced. Diversity of thought cannot be permitted.

So we can assume the left fears West could be a leading indicator that Trump’s appeal to the working and middle classes is cutting across racial barriers.

And precisely because Democrats are making a fetish of race, gender and identity politics, a prominent racial and cultural force like Kanye West leaving the fold could be the start of a movement toward conservative values. Which is why he must be silenced by any means necessary.

In the conservative mind, liberals aren’t reacting to the racism and sexism on display almost daily from this administration, they’ve merely made a “fetish” of the accusations.

Goodwin goes on to cite this poll as a demonstration that Kanye could be the start of a movement.

According to reputable pollsters, Trump’s support among African Americans continues to be in the single digits to low teens. But in the face of all evidence to the contrary, Trump and his enablers are desperate to paint a picture of African Americans and other people of color abandoning their liberal roots in support of the most racist president in modern history. It is an absurd claim, and yet, the New York Times has decided to buy in and give the idea some merit.

If the New York Times is able to find enough people of color who are Trump supporters to do a profile, they will be feeding the narrative the president and his enablers want to spread. This is not about Republican outreach to people of color. If that was the intent, the Trump administration wouldn’t continue to do and say racist things. For example, the president would stop making the derision of black athletes who take a knee in response to police brutality a central theme at his campaign rallies and his Department of Justice would once again begin to investigate systemic racism in law enforcement.

The real reason for the false narrative has nothing to do with outreach to people of color. Kanye West is being used by Donald Trump and his enablers to suggest that their rhetoric and policies aren’t racist. The message is, “We can’t be racist because this black man loves us,” which is the essence of tokenism.

Tokenism is the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to be inclusive to members of minority groups, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of racial or sexual equality…to deflect accusations of discrimination.

The Kanye West story produced an awful lot of click bait, once again demonstrating that Trump’s only skill is in masterfully playing the media. Apparently the New York Times isn’t done exploiting that narrative yet, so they’ll continue the kind of distortion that allows this administration “to deflect accusations of discrimination.”

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Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.