Your Words Matter


Julien De Rosa/AFP/Getty Images/TNS

Kanye West, center, attends the Givenchy Spring-Summer 2023 fashion show during the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week on Oct. 2, 2022, in Paris.

Sara Gelrud, Copy Editor

I was in my car the other day driving back from a test prep class when “Ghost Town” by Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) started playing on the stereo. Usually, playing music after hours of studying is a sort of meditation for me. This time, it was anything but.

I’m not the type of person to listen to Ye’s work but I happen to like this song which is nostalgic to me. Now, instead of bringing up fond memories, the song reminds me of the antisemetic remarks I’ve heard. Ask any of my friends: my taste mainly lies in rock and indie music. It’s no coincidence then, that “American Idiot” by Green Day began playing after I skipped Ye’s track. The irony of this did not escape me.

The month of October has included a string of antisemetic comments from Ye (truly nothing new from Ye noting his past antisemetic remarks). On Oct. 5, Ye tweeted, “when I wake up I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE”. Shortly after being suspended from Twitter because of this comment, in an interview with Chris Cuomo on NewsNation, Ye talked about the “Jewish underground media mafia”, propagating prejudices that have been used in extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and White Lives Matter. 

Ye’s remarks were violent, inciteful, and responsible for igniting acts of hate: such as the one on an LA freeway in which supporters of the Goyim Defense League— an extremeist group of antisemitic conspiracy theorists— hung banners depicting “Kanye was right about the Jews”. To put the power of Ye’s speech into perspective, Ye has 18 million followers on Instagram and 31.5 million followers on Twitter. There are only 14.8 million Jewish people in the world. How am I supposed to deal with a new wave of anti semitism when the first wave never ended?

Hate speech has no place in the world. You cannot justify any form of hate speech no matter how you think it’s warranted based on the misleading and harmful stereotypes you believe to be true. This is exactly what Ye attempted to do (and failed miserably at) during an interview with Piers Morgan in which he defended his hate speech.

I don’t support cancel culture. A person made one mistake, so what? But when the “mistake” is made repeatedly and propagates nation-wide hate, that’s when I draw the line. Ye’s bipolar disorder does not excuse the level of bigotry exhibited by him. We must pay attention to the harm this kind of rhetoric invokes on the nation which is exactly what Adidas and Balenciaga did when terminating their contracts with Ye.