Kanye Is Wrong About a Lot of Things But He Might Be Right About This

Oct 11, 2018 12:00:00 AM

by Tanesha Peeples

Outrage: The Constitution Doesn’t Care About Black People

I think Kanye is suffering from that middle child syndrome where he feels like he’s not getting enough attention from his parents so he does the most ridiculous stuff to get it. Like when he made the comment about slavery being a choice a while ago. Or last week when he said that the 13th Amendment—the one that abolished slavery— needs to be abolished. Earlier this week he was talking about meeting with Trump to talk Chicago violence—even though Dumb Donald has been pushing stop and frisk lately. And as an update, Ye has deleted his social media accounts which may be best for him and us, and his membership in the Black Delegation. But let’s back up to this 13th Amendment thing. A little after making that idiotic comment, he backtracked and said that it actually needs to be amended because of the exception clause that serves as a loophole for slavery and involuntary servitude—which is today’s prison system. [pullquote]While we all may be over Kanye and his antics, some of the stuff he says isn’t completely off.[/pullquote] Especially about the constitution. Because last week during a visit to the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum, I learned that Alabama’s constitution still upholds school segregation—despite the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board that ruled racial segregation in schools unconstitutional. Now before anyone argues that voters shot down referendums to amend the language because of funding concerns, let’s also consider the fact that some school districts in Alabama and in several other southern states have tried and succeeded in efforts to secede and reinforce segregation. And nationally, housing policies still cause segregated communities that obviously lead to segregated schools. One thing was confirmed for me on that trip to Montgomery—as much as things change, they stay the same. Enslavement and oppression lives in the form of inflated Black imprisonment. Some White people still don’t want their kids to go to school with Black kids. And state and federal laws protect institutional racism. This is America, 2018.

Hope: Better Educators, Better Advocates

Visiting the South has always been bittersweet to me. The visual aesthetic of the land and the southern hospitality are things you can’t really find in the midwest. But the trees often remind me of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”.  Historical landmarks make me think about the brutality of slavery and Jim Crow.  And I can’t help but wonder if I cross into the “wrong part of town,” will I be the next victim of racial hostility? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJc1wxKODBw So on top of all that, the visit our team took to the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery last week was tough. My friend Vesia’s comment about the emotion behind it all hit the nail on the head. https://twitter.com/vesiawils/status/1047833602866794496 But if there is a bright side to being slapped in the face with oppression, it’s the beauty of learning about history and applying it to the work we’re doing. Because I know for a fact that we all left Montgomery feeling empowered and more focused. https://twitter.com/mreruchie/status/1048005321577435137 Gwen Samuel, Zach Wright and Jason B. Allen all came back inspired, pissed off, ready to educate, ready to advocate and forever changed. I was at that point in this work where hopelessness and exhaustion were setting in. But witnessing two Black youth react to seeing the names of their ancestors who’d been lynched got me back on track. My fight for access and opportunity for marginalized communities is for them.

Tanesha Peeples

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work—“If not me, then who?” As the former Deputy Director of Activist Development for brightbeam, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for change in the public education system. Her passion for community and relentless mission for justice and liberation drive her in uplifting and amplifying the voices and advocacy of those that are often ignored. Tanesha wholeheartedly believes that education is the foundation for success. Her grand vision is one where everyone—regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender or ZIP code—can have access to a comfortable quality of life and enjoy the freedoms and liberties promised to all Americans. And that's what she works towards every day.

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