As Kanye West continues his downward spiral into the abyss, he just won’t stop spewing out misinformation about slavery and the black culture—and this time he’s trying to use abolitionist Harriet Tubman to justify his defective debates.
After saying slavery was a choice during a TMZ interview and getting owned by a staffer, West tired to justify his comments with this tweet:
I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves. – Harriet Tubman
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 2, 2018
“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” – Harriet Tubman
Tubman is one of the most inspiring leaders of the Underground Railroad and was a badass Union spy who led hundreds of people out of slavery. The problem is there’s no primary source that links Tubman to that quote.
You tried it!
Author Raquel Cepeda took West’s inaccurate tweet to task on Twitter:
“Harriet Tubman never said that. Sigh. This is what happens when colonialism wins: it makes you think you have free thought but, in fact, you are just being used as a pawn to disempower others in the community.”
According to Snopes, there is no original quote for this, and it was “entirely made up, and became popularized starting sometime in the 1990s. There is no documentation, nor historical basis for this quote.”
Rice University professor (and slavery historian) Dr. W. Caleb McDaniel said that attributing this fake quote is harmful to Tubman’s legacy and to today’s anti-slavery activism efforts:
“Modern historians know the truth: enslaved people resisted their condition in countless ways, large and small. If they were not able to attain freedom, it was not because they didn’t want it or because (as the fake Tubman quote would have it) they “did not know they were slaves.” It was because powerful forces were arrayed against them. The idea of “tacit consent” distracted attention from that fact.
“I worry that the fake Tubman quote could have the same “red herring” effect in conversations about modern trafficking. It encourages activists who quote and read it to believe that the only thing standing between modern slaves and freedom is knowledge, self-awareness, education, and a willingness to actively dissent. But the corollary comes uncomfortably close to the paternalistic idea that those who somehow “choose” not to be freed or don’t “know” they are slaves must tacitly consent to their own exploitation.
It is pleasant to think that the only obstacle abolitionists face is “false consciousness” on the part of trafficked persons. Unfortunately, that idea may encourage true believers in the quote to underrate the power and complexity of the forces arrayed against them today.”
And this is exactly why West’s comment is extremely dangerous to the culture – and especially the right who have embraced West’s chaotic and flawed rhetoric as the gospel.
West even had the nerve to fix his mouth to say:
if this was 148 years ago I would have been more like Harriet or Nat
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 1, 2018
“if this was 148 years ago I would have been more like Harriet or Nat.”
Nah son. You ain’t nothing like Nat Turner who led a revolt or Tubman, the conductor of the Underground Railroad who never ran her train off the tracks and never lost a passenger. You Kanye are a train wreck.