The Ableist Undertones of the Left’s Kanye Hate

| October 9, 2018

Recently, rapper Kanye West performed on Saturday Night Live. While on stage, he expressed his admiration for President Donald Trump. The left-wing media reacted to this by denigrating Mr. West, mostly on race. Mr. West, being an African-American, is supposed to oppose President Trump. As if it were not bad enough that Mr. West was told that he’s a “race traitor”, many of the criticisms levelled at Mr. West revolve around his reveal that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Mr. West’s opinion on President Trump has been dismissed, most notably by SNL star Pete Davidson, as the ramblings of a mentally ill person, saying “There’s nothing wrong with taking [medication]”, obviously mocking Mr. West’s mental state. This is absolutely ableist. Dismissing Mr. West’s opinion because of a disability (though he has a much more disability-positive term for it) is completely inappropriate and a dangerous precedent to set in how we consider people with disabilities. What they are essentially saying is that Mr. West cannot have a valid opinion on the President because he happens to have bipolar disorder. Either that, or they are going to essentialize disability and people with disabilities to shame someone who they disagree with into silence and score political points. And Democrats are the focus of this particular issue, but this is not a partisan issue limited to one side. It is a human issue. For all we know, when Mr. West said after Hurricane Katrina that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”, Republicans may have reacted in the same way if Mr. West were diagnosed at that time and it would have been just as inappropriate and offensive. Dismissing Mr. West as “mentally ill” when he expresses his opinion denies people with disabilities the right to be heard and taken seriously. Mr. West is not his disability. He is a person first and foremost, and he deserves to have his opinion respected and considered the way a non-disabled person would.