A lot of digital ink has been spilled in pursuit of the roots of Kanye West’s seemingly inexplicable alt-right turn. While some believe that he’s just doing it for attention or out of spite for slights on the part of the past President, and others praise him as legitimately seeking to free his thinking, I’m less interested in the “why” than the “how” — namely, “How do we show Kanye just how wrong he is?”
After all, the views he’s espoused have been condescending toward Black folks, reinforced alt-right talking points that justify deplorable, harmful policies, and supported the President who’s repeatedly expressed openly bigoted and misogynistic views during his first term. It’s normalizing all those things to have one of the most recognizable Black faces in pop culture reiterating them, and while the damage he’s doing can’t be measured, he’s definitely reassuring bigots and idiots — both right and left wing — that their worst biases against Black people are confirmed.
Incidentally, the “how do we fix this” solution comes directly from something Kanye himself explained during the run-up to the release of his coffee table book detailing his Watch The Throne Tour with Jay-Z. “I am a proud non-reader of books,” he once said, both giving us the prime explanation and the easiest fix for his current tailspin. Kanye West just needs to counteract the Youtube clickhole he’s undoubtedly found himself trapped in with some good, old-fashioned pages of words of the well-researched, peer-reviewed, primary-sourced variety that inform the reader and nourish the soul.
However, if that undertaking seems too taxing for the written word skeptic, at the very least, it might behoove him to incorporate some viewpoints other than those of the “next Tomi Lahren” Candace Owens. Rather than continuing to berate Mr. West for parroting these condescending and ignorant views, here are some suggestions for books from Black authors and true thought leaders that may do the work that thousands of troll responses on Twitter will never be able to — replace those ill-informed opinions with genuine knowledge and understanding of just why his statements have been so hurtful in the first place. We miss the Old Kanye — maybe a better-informed New Kanye is the first step to bringing him back.